When HP acquired Voodoo, it was buying not only an established name in the boutique computer business, but also some of Canadian-based computer-maker's special know-how.
The HP Firebird serves the desktop enthusiast, but what about for the road warriors? We're not talking about gaming laptops, but rather something sexy on-the-go. Voodoo has its specialized Voodoo Envy laptop – and it seems HP has taken that and is mainstreaming next month with the Envy 13 and Envy 15.
HP says that the new notebooks, announced today, are built from the "Voodoo Envy legacy," but the design appears to borrow a lot from Apple's unibody MacBook Pro line.
"HP Envy includes the latest in materials and technology inside and out and pushes the technological and performance boundaries of what can be done in sleek, powerful and lightweight notebook PCs," said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager, Notebook Global Business Unit, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Discerning consumers will get a premium experience and performance."
Like the MacBook Pros, the Envy 13 and Envy 15 feature metal casing – though HP's offering uses a combination of both aluminum and magnesium, making it lighter at the expense of losing some rigidity.
Both models also feature Beats Audio thanks to HP's partnering with Beats by Dr. Dre.
The Envy 13 boasts an LCD worthy enough for HP to brand it as "Radiance," and say that it is twice as bright as other notebook displays in its class with 410 nit (a measurement of display brightness) and 82 percent color gamut (versus standard 45-60 percent).
Those not taken with Apple's non-removable battery will be pleased to know that HP's Envy line features removable battery packs, as well as an external battery attachment that could give the Envy 13 up to 18 hours of battery life. The standard battery still delivers a very good 7 hours.
The Envy 13 will have ATI Switchable Graphics technology dynamically switches between ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 discrete graphics and the Intel integrated graphics processor for either high-powered graphics processing or low power consumption for long battery life. Intel Core 2 Duos will be the main CPUs powering the Envy 13.
The Envy 15 is what HP calls its fastest consumer notebook and "dream machine," coming in a 1-inch thin, 5.18-pound package. It'll pack a 'future' Intel Core i7 processor and up to 16 GB of DDR3 1,066-MHz system memory in four SODIMM memory slots. It also has space to add two solid-state drives in a RAID-0 configuration if you need the speed.
For graphics, the Envy 15 will use an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830 graphics with 1 GB of dedicated video memory, though there doesn't seem to be the dual-GPU trick that the Envy 13 has.
The Envy 15 also sadly won't have the same "Radiance" display as its smaller sibling, but should still have a decent screen with the choice of two 15.6-inch HP Brightview high-resolution LED backlit displays, including the Full High Definition LED HP Ultra BrightView Widescreen Display with up to 300-nits brightness.
If you like to cam with people in the dark, the Envy 15 has a Nightvision VGA LED-assist infrared webcam that is optimized for low-light or zero-light conditions.
Battery life on the Envy 15 won't be nearly as strong as on the 13-inch model, giving 7 hours with the optional Slim Fit Extended-Life Notebook Battery.
The HP Envy 13 and Envy 15 are expected to be available in the United States on Oct. 18 with a starting price of $1,699 and $1,799, respectively.