Category Archives: HP

HP grows Omen line with new gaming laptops, VR backpack PC, and more

Enlarge (credit: Hewlett-Packard)

HP is stepping up its Omen gaming line ahead of E3 next week with a slew of updates and additions. The company left no stone unturned this year, updating its 15- and 17-inch Omen laptops, introducing a new Omen desktop and updated peripherals, and debuting a new GPU accelerator and a ready-to-go model of its prototype VR backpack PC. All the new devices have a consistent aesthetic that isn't just eye-catching, but also practical for gamers, and the devices that are upgrades have tried to fix the pain-points of previous models.

Updating Omen for 2017

HP's first 15-inch Omen laptop debuted in 2014, and, over time, customers have told the company what they want. For this particular upgrade, HP users told the company they wanted more ports, expansion options, and VR capabilities. The new 15-inch and 17-inch Omen laptops do what they can to address these issues. Both of them have been slightly redesigned with an edgier look and an expanded keyboard to include full-sized arrow keys, and both have a single-access bottom panel that lifts off the underside of the chassis. This gives users access to the HDD, SSD, and RAM so they can expand and upgrade as they please; the 17-inch has an optical drive option as well. The new laptops have a number of storage options from the start, including PCIe SSD, HDD plus SSD, and HDD, and the 15-inch model supports up to 16GB of RAM, while the 17-inch model supports up to 32GB of RAM.

Both models also have larger fans inside, allowing for better airflow throughout the chassis so the device can perform more efficiently. The laptops are also getting a GPU bump, with the 15-inch model supporting up to a Nvidia GTX 960 or an AMD RX500 GPU, and the 17-inch model supporting up to a Nvidia GTX 1070 or an AMD RX580 GPU. They'll both have the latest Intel processors, but there are no Ryzen CPUs included in the model options. HP didn't rule out the inclusion of Ryzen CPUs in the future, but if you want one immediately, you won't find it in the Omen notebooks.

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HP gives Envy laptops an edgier look, updates Spectre x2 with Kaby Lake CPUs

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

HP announced a slew of updates to its Envy laptop line today, in addition to a mildly revamped Spectre x2. Many of these changes focus on elevating overall design, but in a practical way that doesn't impede the power and efficiency of each device. Slimmer bezels, bold edges, and USB Type-C abound, giving way to a more modern-looking Envy family and Spectre x2.

Envy’s new edges

Envy laptops and convertibles are getting welcome improvements: in particular, the Envy 13 looks quite different now than when Ars' Andrew Cunningham reviewed it last year. The most striking difference is the hinge, which now sports a shiny, sharp edge branded with the Envy name. Compared to the previous model's rounded hinge, this looks and feels more premium, and it still lifts the laptop slightly off its surface to allow better airflow.

Although it maintains that lift-hinge and tapered design, the new Envy 13 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, measuring .55-inches thick and weighing 2.7 pounds. Combine its new edginess with its all-metal construction and you have a laptop that appears better positioned to take on devices like the Dell XPS 13.

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HP laptops covertly log users’ every keystroke, researchers warn

Enlarge / Keyloggers like this one surreptitiously store passwords and other confidential data entered into a computer. (credit:

HP is selling more than two dozen models of laptops and tablets that covertly monitor every keystroke a user makes, security researchers warned Thursday. The devices then store the key presses in an unencrypted file on the hard drive.

The keylogger is included in a device driver developed by Conexant, a manufacturer of audio chips that are included in the vulnerable HP devices. That's according to an advisory published by modzero, a Switzerland-based security consulting firm. One of the device driver components is MicTray64.exe, an executable file that allows the driver to respond when a user presses special keys. It turns out that the file sends all keystrokes to a debugging interface or writes them to a log file available on the computer's C drive.

"This type of debugging turns the audio driver effectively into keylogging spyware," modzero researchers wrote. "On the basis of meta-information of the files, this keylogger has already existed on HP computers since at least Christmas 2015."

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After Harman Kardon, HP signs on to launch Cortana-enabled devices, too

 Earlier this week, Harman Kardon announced the Invoke, its Cortana-enabled Amazon Echo competitor. While Harman Kardon was the first company to integrate Cortana into this kind of device, it’s not going to be the only one for long. As Microsoft announced today, HP has also signed on to build similar devices. Intel, too, is getting into this game and promises to soon launch reference… Read More

The $999 Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s expensive answer to Chromebooks

 Microsoft just revealed the newest Surface model and it’s aimed directly at the education market. Called the Surface Laptop, this is the notebook Microsoft hopes schools will buy instead of a Chromebooks. But unlike other Surface models, it does not run the traditional desktop version of Windows, though. The $999 Surface Laptop runs Windows 10 S, a new streamlined operating system… Read More

HP keeps new Pavilion laptop prices low while adding IR cameras, pen support

Enlarge (credit: HP)

HP focused on updating its Spectre and Envy lines since the beginning of the year, but now the Pavilion line of affordable laptops is getting some attention. Today, HP announced updates to the Pavilion x360 convertible line and the Pavilion Notebook laptop line, making nearly every model thinner and lighter and adding new hardware components like stylus support and IR cameras that are now seen as standard for most practical laptops.

Less color, more shine

The basic construction of the Pavilion x360 line hasn't changed, but HP added some flair with new keyboard deck options. You can get the new models with a silver-metal keyboard finish or what HP's calling a "strata" design, a brushed-black pattern that mimics the curving lines of the inside of a tree trunk. The x360 models now also have chrome-plated hinges, and this feature—combined with the new keyboard deck finishes and the silver and gold color options—should make the device look similar to a Spectre despite its low price. Last year's update to the Pavilion x360s brought bold colors like "sport purple," but it seems HP is making its affordable range feel as luxurious and as sleek as possible to appeal to younger customers.

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HP Elitebook x360 review: A work laptop you’ll like using at home

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

Whether you like it or not, you probably spend more time on your work computer than your personal machine. If those devices happen to be one and the same, then you probably want something thin, light, and attractive, not one of the bulky business laptops of yore.

HP's newest release, the Elitebook x360, may be geared toward working professionals, but like other HP business laptops we've seen in the last year or two, it's also slim and handsome. The x360 combines the convertible design of the company's Spectre series with the business-friendly features of the Elitebook line.

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