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HP's Envy X2 13.3" touchscreen convertible laptop follows in the footsteps of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 by combining all the guts and ports of a laptop in a standalone tablet with a magnetic keyboard cover. The result is one of the more unusual takes on the 2-in-1 notebook class that's been designed to take advantage of Windows 8.1 and this year's upcoming Windows 10.
If you’ve shopped for a computer at all in the past few years, you’ve likely heard people talking about cores. They’re not talking about apples, obviously. They’re referring to technology that allows your central processing unit (or CPU for short) to support multiple independent CPUs that work in harmony to produce more computational horsepower.
Not too long ago your CPU would only have one core. Just over a decade ago we saw multicore processors start to gain popularity. We started with dual-core CPUs which gave us a pretty solid boost to performance and quickly graduated to quad-core CPUs. These days hexa-core machines boast six computing cores and give you a lot of bang for your buck. You get improved parallel computing ability which translates to a general improvement in aggregate processing speed.
The concept of a convertible is usually known as driving with the top down, and that can be one way to describe what a convertible PC is supposed to be. These are hybrids in the sense that you can use them as laptops or tablets, either by separating the screen from the keyboard or flipping it in one way or another to change the input and user experience. There are plenty to choose from, and here’s a quick look at what they’re capable of.
Laptops generally don’t offer much variety when it comes to input and navigation. You can either go with the built-in trackpad or connect a mouse via USB for a more old school approach. The HP ENVY 17 offers a third route, by way of Leap Motion technology that recognizes hand gestures and movements for a non-touch experience. This is a unique laptop that is currently the only model to integrate Leap Motion technology.
The days of having to go to the drugstore to get your film processed and order prints are long behind us but even with the advance of digital cameras, a lot of people still don’t realize just how easy it can be to get high quality prints at home. Even if you already have a colour printer at home, it's well worth looking at photo printers. With these you can get superbly high quality photos printed that are suitable for framing or to put into albums. It’s the best of both worlds. No longer are your digital photos trapped in the computer, and you can conveniently get great looking prints any time you want.
Have you ever wanted to send something to your printer but you weren’t anywhere near it? Maybe you were at the library, in a coffee shop, or at the office. It would be handy to be able to send something to print out so you could just pick it up from your printer next time you’re near it. If this sounds familiar, you should take a look at HP’s ePrint technology. It lets you securely print your documents from anywhere in the world, even without the use of a PC. Effectively, if you have a device you can send an email from (be it smartphone, tablet, PC or anything else with that capability) then you can print things out. HP’s ePrint takes advantage of cloud connectivity so your printer gets a unique email address. Attachments to emails sent to that address get automatically printed once the printer receives the email message. It is as quick and easy as that.
If there's one piece of computer technology that people often neglect to upgrade over the years, it's got to be their printer. If you haven’t checked out the latest in printers for a few years, models like the HP Photsmart 7510 might just surprise you enough to convince you that it's time to upgrade.
HP had a small presence at CES this year, and though the company focused its announcements on business products, the Android-based Slate 21 got the Pro treatment with a business version of the consumer model Future Shop already sells. It’s Android on a 21.5-inch all-in-one PC and it looks and feels good to use.
If you have a desktop computer at home that may even have the designation of being the “family computer”, then you might want to utilize it as media repository that you can not only watch content on, but stream from as well. Adding a pair of Bluetooth speakers or a Sonos speaker means music playback can be pushed to another room. And the right app on your smartphone or tablet can bring that content to you anywhere in your home.
Few things get me as excited as a well designed and well executed notebook. The Envy 14 Spectre, ($1399.99 from Future Shop) which was first announced at CES 2012, is probably the best looking premium notebook to come out of HP in a long time. Targeting the Ultrabook segment, the Spectre uses copious amounts of Gorilla Glass, Aluminum and rubber in a notebook that stands out from the rest.