Hewlett-Packard Upgrades Portable Lines

By Doug Olenick On Sep 13 2010 - 4:01am




NEW YORK — Hewlett-Packard rolled out its fall line of revamped laptops and netbooks.

Upgrades to the Mini 210 line, Pavilion dm3 and Envy high-end notebooks are a mix of cosmetic and technical.

The Mini 210 received a palette upgrade and is now available in five new colors: Charcoal, Crimson Red, Lavender Frost, Luminous Rose and Ocean Drive. There are matching sleeves and mice for each.

Despite the changes, HP did not alter the device’s name. The Mini 210 name will now be the primary moniker covering HP’s mainline netbook offering. The company will no longer change the model number to coincide with an upgrade, said Kevin Wentzel, HP’s technical marketing manager. HP will continue offering the lower-priced Mini110 line as well.

Technical changes for the Mini 210 include an optional Intel dual-core Atom processor. This will enable the netbook to better play back 720p video. There is also a more conformal- appearing six-cell extended-life battery, and the keyboard is 93 percent the size of a traditional keyboard.

The bottom panel is also more easily removed by pushing a button located under the battery. Previously, those interested in upgrading their device had to unscrew several screws, and this proved somewhat daunting to the less tech savvy, Wentzel said.

The Mini 210 carries a $329 starting price point.

Changes to the mainstream Pavilion dm3 line center on improved cooling capability.

Originally launched a year ago, the dm3 now sports HP’s CoolSense Technology. This includes a newly placed venting system that pulls the vent intakes from the bottom of the laptop and places them along the front edge of the keyboard. Here they will not be blocked by a table or a user’s lap. The vent outlet is now located along the left side of the device and is about two-thirds longer. This was done so it would not blow on a person’s mouse hand, the company said.

Most of the heat-producing internal components were shifted from the wrist rest area to under the keyboard so the user’s hands would not be uncomfortable.

There is also a software component to CoolSense. This uses the laptop’s internal gyro to tell if the laptop is sitting on a desktop or lap, and it adjusts the fans appropriately to keep the heat level down on the user’s lap. The software also allows the person to adjust the cooling level.

Other technical upgrades include a longer battery life of 7.5 hours.

Externally, the dm3 is no longer being offered in a multitude of colors, but instead in a flat black-matte finish. The paint itself also has thermal properties and is capable of dispersing heat.

It will ship with a $549 starting price point.

The high-end Envy line now includes the 17-inch Envy 17 with 3D option. The unit was beefed up with a brighter, 400-nit display and 1,080p resolution. While the Envy 17 is capable of playing all 3D games, HP is marketing it more as a movie-watching platform. It is slated to ship for the holiday season when more 3D movies are expected to be available.

Pricing has not been set, but HP expects its cost to be in the same range as other 3D notebooks now on the market.

The company also gave a new twist to the Envy 14 Beats Edition laptop. Originally intended for the music professional looking to mix and play songs in a night club atmosphere, the newer version is scaled down. A 14-inch display replaces the original 15-inch screen, and it drops several of the mixing functions that came standard with the original model.

This has allowed HP to almost cut the price in half. It will ship later this year with a $1,249 price point.

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