Berlin (Germany) - So maybe Rahul Sood’s cutting of a birthday cake with a Macbook Air wasn’t really a stunt after all. In Berlin today, HP has announced a new line of ultra-thin notebooks that are actually thinner and more powerful than Apple’s Air. The Voodoo Envy 133 is .7 inches thick and weighs less than 3.4 pounds. Notably it comes with an "instant-on" Linux variant and a power brick that doubles as a Wi-Fi router.
Inside the Envy’s carbon-fiber case will be an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8/1.6 GHz processor and either an 80 GB 4200 RPM hard drive or a 64 GB solid-state disk. The 13.3-inch with 1280 by 800 pixels resolution is powered by an Intel integrated X3100 graphics chip. While there’s no DVI port (this thing is just too thin), there is an HDMI port and HP helpfully includes a remote presenter unit. The other ports on the chassis include two USB ports and one of the USB ports can be used as an eSATA port.
Like Apple’s Macbook Air, the Envy doesn’t have an optical drive. However, HP has one-upped Steve Jobs by including an optical drive with these new laptops.
There are three noteworthy ’flourishes’ that make this notebook errr noteworthy. The touchpad has a proximity sensor that turns itself if you are typing on the keyboard - I can already hear the cries of joy from some journalists over this feature, nothing is more annoying than typing 100+WPM in Microsoft Word and having the cursor magically teleport to another paragraph.
The 56 watt power brick doubles up as a Wi-Fi router. You simply plug the Ethernet cable from the jack or your WAN/LAN connection into the port in the brick. Oh we almost forgot, HP claims the Envy 133’s battery will last up to 3 Hours and 45 Minutes. Finally, a Linux variant cleverly called Voodoo IOS (VIOS?) can be fast-booted for quick access to common applications like a Firefox browser or Skype.
The Envy should be available later this summer starting at $2100. Not a bad price that all those features, I’m glad I held off buying the Macbook Air.