HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea

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 HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea

It’s not often that a laptop will get everything right when it comes to media playing. It might have a fantastic screen, for example, but the speakers could be inadequate, especially if you want to get the most out of Blu-ray’s DTS HD and Dolby HD goodness.

The HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea is different, however, and ticks all the boxes that are required of making a fantastic media playing laptop. But before you get to appreciate its media playing chops you need to go through a tedious setup procedure when you first turn it on.

Setting up Windows 7 Home Premium with a username, time zone and connecting it to a wireless network – plus setting when to automatically update Windows – is a necessary step, but after all that it was frustrating – to put it mildly – to be faced with another set of installation steps – this time for HP’s own Total Care service. All it does is end up delaying you from what you really want to do – which is to get started with your brand new laptop.

Another thing that annoyed us was that if you don’t want updates from HP Support Assistant, or for your laptop to be tuned up automatically, you can’t just select ‘No’ but have to choose ‘No, remind me later’. Even if you’re not interested in the service, you’re going to be nagged about it in the future. In the grand scheme of things this is a small irritant: once you’ve finished the setup process you won’t have to worry about it again, apart from the odd reminder.

Media mogul

HP dv7

Finally, we can enthuse about the dv7-6b51ea’s media prowess. For a start the 17.3 inch LED screen looks amazing, with a not inconsiderable 1600 x 900 maximum resolution. As you’d expect from an LED screen, colours and contrasts are brilliantly reproduced and high definition media looks great – just as well considering the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea features a Blu-ray drive.

All good so far, but what about the Achilles’ heel of so many laptops – the speakers? Once again the dv7-6b51ea triumphs thanks to HP’s partnership with Beats Audio, resulting in some excellent compact speakers that sound amazing. Little details in our test Blu-ray’s soundtrack were picked up and reproduced perfectly. There is even a built-in subwoofer on the base of the laptop that gives low frequency sounds a real depth and impact.

Another nice feature when it comes to media is the 1TB hard drive which offers loads of space for holding photos and MP3s and high definition movies – saving you from having to carry around CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays and having to use the optical disc drive, which can save precious minutes on the battery life.

While the AMD Radeon HD 6490 graphics card is no slouch, it’s not quite powerful enough for the latest games, but for the odd less-demanding game it’ll cope pretty well. Also the 8GB of RAM supplied is huge and means almost all tasks will open and run smoothly, whilst multitasking won’t be a problem at all.

Whilst running a Blu-ray movie we had Skype running and Internet Explorer open on a number of websites, and the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea didn’t miss a beat.

So where else does the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea excel? Well, at the risk of appearing shallow it is a stunner in the looks department. From the brushed aluminium outer shell, to the soft, understated light that glows around the mouse pad, this is a laptop that you would be keen to whip out and show off.

At 3.45kg it’s not very portable, and it’s nowhere near as thin or light as the latest Ultrabooks.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 195 minutes
Cinebench: 5259
3DMark 2006: 5715

Just the type

The keyboard is large enough to type on comfortably and the aforementioned gorgeously-lit mouse pad is large, responsive and supports multi-touch gestures. There is a fingerprint reader for extra security to boot.

Next to the power button is the ‘web’ button. When we first saw this we excitedly thought it could be for booting into a light Linux operating system designed solely for browsing the web – as found on a lot of Sony VAIO laptops. However, all it does is open up the default web browser when in Windows 7. It’s a feature that manages to be handy and a little bit useless all at once.

Also, at first glance it appeared that the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea didn’t have any USB 3.0 ports, with the familiar blue colour code missing from all of the USB ports. This couldn’t be right, not in 2012 with a laptop just shy of £1000. We checked the specs, and indeed there are USB 3.0 ports.

On closer inspection the two USB 3.0 ports were on the left of the laptop’s case. Not highlighted by blue, but with a subtle ‘SS’ next to the USB icons. Again not a big problem, but it makes it a little harder to find the USB 3.0 ports in a hurry.

Also as a laptop positioning itself as an ultimate entertainment laptop, there is no 3D support. If you’re not too into 3D then this won’t be a problem, and the lack of 3D helps keep the price south of £1000, but if you want a laptop that can handle the latest media, while future-proofed, then the absence 3D out of the box could be a blow.

However, the AMD Radeon HD 6490 graphics card does support AMD HD3D, so if you plugged it into a 3D monitor or TV you might be able to get 3D working.

A battery life of just over three hours is good for such a power-hungry machine, but not astounding.

Overall, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea is a fantastic laptop for media and entertainment, if a little on the expensive side.

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HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea

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 HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea

Overview

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea comes at an interesting time for portable PC laptops. Traditional laptops have had a turbulent ride of late, with a number of threats appearing to erode their market.

The first threat – netbooks – has been seen off pretty comprehensively. The diminutive machines offered a smaller, lighter and cheaper alternative, but at the cost of power and features.

In the end netbooks failed to capture the public’s imagination, despite the efforts of some great products, such as the Toshiba NB520-10U.

Tablets, however – especially the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – haven’t had this problem, and have surpassed netbooks to become the laptop’s biggest threat. Sales have rocketed so that tablets have succeeded where netbooks failed. Offering slick interfaces, a huge selection of apps and usually attractive and portable designs, tablets are a force to be reckoned with.

Their Achilles’ heel at the moment is price. Top range tablets go for around £300-£400. You can get cheaper models, such as the Binatone HomeSurf 705 and ViewSonic ViewPad 7e, but they’re not very good.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

A new front has now opened up from the high end of the laptop market, with Intel’s ultrabook format. These new laptops are incredibly thin, light and beautifully designed, as well as being powerful. The standout models of ultrabook is the Asus Zenbook UX31 and the Acer Aspire S3.

So where does this competition leave standard laptops in general, and the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea in particular? Does it do enough to stand out in an already crowded market, and does the audience for that market even exist any more? The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea starts with a strong foundation, with Hewlett Packard remaining a trusted and respected manufacturer of laptops.

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s stablemate, the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa, has impressed as an ultra-portable laptop that doesn’t make too many sacrifices when it comes to performance. But now the spotlight is firmly on the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea.

Specifications

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea is certainly a small laptop, with dimensions of just 29.2 x 21.5 x 3.2cm, and a weight of only 1.6kg. This makes it almost as small and portable as the much maligned netbooks but, crucially, it also has enough power to handle most tasks.

Packed onto the small chassis of the laptop are VGA, HDMI and Ethernet ports. There’s a combined headphone out/microphone in jack and three USB 2.0 ports. It’s a bit disappointing that there are none of the faster USB 3.0 ports included, since these are becoming increasingly common on new laptops.

To keep the computer small, there’s no optical drive for reading CDs or DVDs, so you’ll have to rip music and video to a USB stick to make the most out of this laptop’s media-playing capabilities.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

HP bills the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea as an “Entertainment Notebook PC”. This conjures up expectations of a machine that’s capable of handling media with ease, and maybe even a few casual games. Where the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa was let down with its handling of high-definition content, we expect the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea to have no such trouble.

On paper, things don’t look too bad. The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea uses an AMD Radeon HD 6320M integrated graphics card. It comes with some automatic overclocking tools to give it a bit of a needed boost, and with DirectX11 support, it can handle low- to mid-range games.

Graphically demanding newer games are definitely a no-no, though. This is because while the AMD Radeon HD 6320M inside the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea can theoretically use up to 1.92GB of memory for graphics, it doesn’t actually have dedicated graphics memory, so it needs to share memory with the rest of the PC.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

This means if you’re running a few graphic-intensive programs, along with other applications that need memory, the strain is going to show. The 11.6-inch screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768, which is fine for high-definition movies.

Although there’s a lack of dedicated graphics memory, HP has been very generous by including 4GB of DDR3 RAM with the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea. This is more than enough for most applications, and it’s nice to see that HP hasn’t hobbled the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea by cutting the RAM to 2GB to lower costs.

Processor-wise, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea comes with a 1.65 GHz AMD Dual-Core E-450. This processor has been specially designed by AMD to work in laptops, with lower power consumption that leads to greater battery life and saves the components inside the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s small body from overheating.

While it’s no competition for the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors found in higher-end (and much more expensive) laptops, this dual core processor is meaty enough for a lot of tasks, and pleasingly powerful, considering the size of the laptop.

Performance

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

3D Mark: 2,602
Cinebench: 1,433
Battery eater: 2 hours 59 mins 26 seconds

As with many laptops around this price range, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s performance really depends on what you’re using it for. Day-to-day computing on this laptop, such as writing on a word processor or browsing the web, is accomplished with little fuss, although there is a faint lag when starting up programs. We found that a bit of patience is required when selecting options or launching applications, with pauses of a few seconds sometimes.

Even with 4GB of RAM, multitasking can slow down quite a bit, especially if you’re browsing the internet while running a number of graphic-heavy programs at the same time, such as watching a movie or video editing.

The 320GB hard drive offers plenty of space but has a speed of just 5,400rpm (revolutions per minute). The faster a hard drive can spin, the faster the computer can open, move and edit files stored on the disk. With faster drives out there achieving 7,200rpm and even 10,000rpm, it does feel like the drive is a bit of a weak link.

The trade-off with a slower hard drive, however, is lower overall cost and a longer battery life.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

Graphics performance was OK, but nothing spectacular, with a 3D Mark score of 2,602, which is on the low end even for laptops, and lower than the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa‘s score. The Cinebench score of 1,433 using multiple cores was better, but still less than the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa’s score of 1,985.

Despite the lacklustre benchmarks, our real world tests were more positive. Media playback itself was good, with no stuttering on standard-definition movie files.

The 11.6-inch screen displayed colours well and animations in particular looked great. The 1366 x 768 resolution actually benefitted full HD movies files, since the 1080p source was nicely downscaled to run on the smaller resolution, resulting in a sharp image. High-definition movies also play very well, with just a hint of screen tear, but no noticeable stuttering.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

Much has been made of the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s sound capabilities, with the inclusion of Beats Audio technology, exclusive to HP laptops. The built-in speakers sound great – definitely the best we’ve heard in a laptop from this price range. Audio is clear, with plenty of depth and none of the tinny qualities that often plague laptop speakers.

Battery life was a pretty standard three hours of intensive computing. That’s not awful, but we’ve seen laptops – such as the Acer Timeline X – with much longer battery lives.

Verdict

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea is a strange beast of a laptop indeed. On the one hand it can feel rather lacklustre and underpowered when doing unexceptional tasks. Windows 7 Home Premium can feel sluggish at times, and with a number of windows left open on the desktop, things can get pretty slow.

In this regard, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea can’t compete with a higher-end, more powerful laptop, or even a tablet that’s less powerful but has an operating system and apps that use the limited resources well enough to ensure a smooth user experience.

However, there’s no denying that when it comes to media playback – an important consideration due to HP’s labelling of the Pavilion dm1-4027ea as an entertainment-focused machine – this laptop actually performs very well. Movie content – both standard and high-definition – plays very well, and the built-in speakers provide audio that is well above average for a laptop.

The lack of an optical drive does limit its media playback options quite a bit, however, but if your media collection has gone fully digital, then this won’t be such a problem.

The small size and light weight is also a big factor, and this is certainly a more portable laptop than most.

If you’re after a light media-playing laptop then this is a good choice. For anything more demanding, look elsewhere.

We liked

Media playback is a big winner with the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea. A lovely screen coupled with enough graphical power to run movies smoothly (bar the odd screen tear) makes this laptop a pleasure to watch movies on.

The battery life will just about make it through an entire film.

Better still is the audio quality of the built-in speakers, which really does sound great, and saves you the extra expense of buying separate laptop speakers such as the Logitech Laptop Speaker Z305.

The small size of the laptop is also a boon, making it easy to carry around wherever you go, with a slim and attractive design.

Even with the smaller keyboard, typing is comfortable.

We disliked

Outside of media playback, performance is pretty mediocre, with relatively impressive stats on paper not making a great impact in use.

The biggest culprit here is the 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which should give the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea some punch, but actually still leaves the laptop struggling when there is too much going on at once.

Final verdict

If you want a light laptop for watching movies on, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea does what you want it to do. However, if you want to use it to work on, editing digital photos or anything more strenuous, then you’re going to be disappointed.

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HP Unveils New Pavilion, G Series Laptops

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Hewlett-Packard has announced the refreshed and redesigned HP Pavilion and G series consumer laptops.

The new 15.6-inch Pavilion dv6t and 17.3-inch dv7t feature 2nd Generation Intel Core processors, optional AMD Radeon 6000M series graphics, up to 1TB and 2TB of storage, respectively, a “dark umber” metal finish, quad speakers, Beats Audio, HP CoolSense cooling technology, optional Blu-ray, and USB 3.0.

The 14″ HP Pavilion g4, 15.6″ g6 and 17.3″ g7 belong to the budget notebook offerings, and include Intel Pentium and Core i3 CPUs, as well as various color choices.

The HP Pavilion dv6t and dv7t are expected to be available in the spring in the US. There’s no word on pricing for the two models. The g4, g6, and g7 will be available in the US on March 13th for $499.99, $449.99 and $599.99, respectively.

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Walmart Now Sells HP Garden Dreams Pavilion dv5-2129wm 14.5″ Laptop

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Walmart has announced it is now selling the HP Garden Dreams Pavilion dv5-2129wm Special Edition 14.5″ laptop, featuring a spring look with a floral exterior design done in watercolor touches.

Sold as Walmart’s execlusive, the Garden Dreams Pavilion dv5-2129wm is based on the AMD Turion II P540 processor and comes with ATI Radeon HD 4250 integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, and Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

The stylish notebook also has a web cam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, three USB ports, an HDMI output, and a 5-in-1 media card reader.

The dv5-2129wm is priced at $598 (Walmart).

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HP Updates Pavilion dm3z with New AMD Technology

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Hewlett-Packard has updated the HP Pavilion dm3z 13.3″ ultraportable consumer notebook, which is now based on new 2010 AMD processors and graphics.

The Pavilion dm3z CPU choices include the AMD Athlon II Neo K125 at 1.7GHz, K325 at 1.3Ghz, or K625 at 1.5GHz. The dm3z features the ATI Radeon HD 4225 integrated graphics only or a switchable solution including both the IGP and the Radeon HD 5430 512MB dedicated GPU. The laptop has up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 640GB of hard disk space or a 128GB sold state drive, a 6-cell battery for up to 6 hours run time, and optional external DVD burner or external Blu-ray combo.

Its LED-backlit BrightView display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.

HP’s dm3z also includes a HP TrueVision web camera, digital microphone, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, HDMI and VGA outputs, 802.11n WiFi, Gigabit LAN, optional Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband powered by Gobi, four USB ports, and a 5-in-1 digital media reader.

The 4.17-pound laptop is “less than one inch thick” and has a stylish “Modern Argento” brushed aluminum chassis.

The HP Pavilion dm3z runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional edition and can be purchased at the HP online store for a base price of $499.99.

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HP Pavilion dv8 18.4″ Laptop

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dv8

The HP Pavilion dv8, Hewlett-Packard’s upcoming 18.4-inch etnertainment notebook, features the Core i7 mobile processor and the NVIDIA GeForce dedicated graphics, according to a leaked product page at hp.com.

The specifications of the dv8-1080 model include the Intel Core i7-720QM 1.6GHz CPU, the GeForce GT 230 video card with 1GB of video memory, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 640GB of storage using two hard drives, a Blu-ray combo drive, and a full HD display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

HP’s desktop replacement laptop sports Altec Lansing speakers with integrated subwoofer, Dolby Home Theater sound technology, a web camera with microphone, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, Gigabit LAN, HDMI and VGA outputs, four USB ports, an eSATA/USB connector, an ExpressCard slot, Firewire, a 5-in-1 media card reader, and a fingerprint reader.

The dv8 weighs 8.95 pounds and runs Windows 7 OS, according to the specs sheet.

We have no info on release date and pricing.

HP is also expected to release the Core i7-powered Envy 15.

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The HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition

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HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition

The HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition series is Hewlett-Packard’s new 15.6-inch notebook.

Unlike the standard Pavilion dv6t, based on the Intel Core 2 Duo dual-core processor, the dv6t Quad utilizes the latest Core i7 720QM or 820QM quad-core CPU. The Quad Edition includes the Nvidia GeForce GT 230M 1GB video card, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 500GB of hard drive space, and a DVD burner or Blu-ray combo drive. The 15.6″ display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels and uses LED backlight.

The new entertainment laptop sports an optionally integrated HDTV hybrid tuner, a web camera with microphone, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, HDMI and VGA outputs, G or N wireless LAN, an Ethernet port, optional Bluetooth and 56k modem, four USB ports (4th shared with eSATA port), an ExpressCard slot, a 5-in-1 media card reader, a Firewire port on select models, an expansion connector, and an optional fingerprint reader.

HP’s dv6t Quad weighs 6.34 pounds with the standard 6-cell battery. It has a “liquid metallic” chassis and comes in Espresso Black or Moonlight White color.

The notebook runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional and starts at $999.99 at the official HP store.

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HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition

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The HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition series is Hewlett-Packard’s recently released 17.3-inch entertainment laptop.

The Pavilion dv7t Quad utilizes the latest quad-core Intel Core i7 720QM or 820QM processor, whereas the standard Pavilion dv7t comes with the dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo CPU. The Quad Edition includes the Nvidia GeForce GT 230M 1GB video card, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 1TB of hard drive space using dual HDDs, and a DVD burner or Blu-ray combo drive. The 17.3″ LED-backlight display has a resolution of 1,600×900 pixels and is offered with a choice of edge-to-edge glass.

The new desktop replacement notebook sports an optionally integrated HDTV hybrid tuner, web camera and microphone, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, HDMI and VGA outputs, G or N wireless LAN, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optional Bluetooth and 56k modem, four USB ports (4th shared with eSATA port), an ExpressCard slot, a 5-in-1 media card reader, a Firewire port on select models, an expansion connector, and an optional fingerprint reader,

HP’s dv7t Quad weighs 7.74 pounds with the standard 8-cell battery. It has a “liquid metallic” chassis and comes in Espresso Black or Moonlight White color.

The laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Pro and starts at $1,150 at the Hewlett-Packard store.

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HP Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition

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HP Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition Core
The HP Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition series is Hewlett-Packard’s new 18.4-inch entertainment notebook.

The Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition utilizes the latest quad-core Intel Core i7 720QM or 820QM processor and replaces the 18.4″ Core 2 Duo/Quad-powered HDX18t, which is no longer available at HP.com. The dv8t Quad features the Nvidia GeForce GT 230M 1GB video card, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 1TB of hard drive space using dual HDDs, and a Blu-ray burner or Blu-ray combo drive. The display has a full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels and is covered with edge-to-edge glass.

HP’ latest desktop replacement laptop for consumers sports an optional built-in HDTV hybrid tuner, web camera and microphone, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, HDMI and VGA outputs, 802.11n WiFi, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optional Bluetooth, four USB ports (4th shared with eSATA port), an ExpressCard slot, a 5-in-1 media card reader, a Firewire port, an expansion connector, and a fingerprint reader.

The dv8t Quad weighs 8.77lbs with the standard 8-cell battery. It has a “liquid metallic” chassis and comes in Espresso Black color.

The notebook runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional Edition and starts at $1,300 at the HP online store.

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HP Netbook: Pavilion dv6z

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HP Pavilion dv6z

HP Pavilion dv6z

Hewlett-Packard has launched the HP Pavilion dv6z notebook PC, featuring a 16-inch display and AMD’s processor technology.

Unlike the Intel-powered dv6t, the Pavilion dv6z uses the AMD Athlon or Turion dual core CPU. The laptop features the ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics or Radeon HD 4530/4650 dedicated GPUs, depending on customer’s choice. It comes with up to 8GB of DDR2 memory, up to 500GB of hard drive space, and a DVD buerner or Blu-Ray combo optical drive.

The display has a resolution of 1366×768 and optional Infinity glass for a frameless look of the LCD panel.

Other features of the notebook that runs Windows Vista OS include a built-in web camera, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, HDMI output, Wireless-G or Wireless-N card, optional Bluetooth and optional 56k modem, an Ethernet LAN port, four USB ports, an ExpressCard slot, 5-in-1 media card reader, and a Firewire port on models with discrete graphics.

The HP dv6z weighs 6.34 pounds with a standard 6-cell battery and comes in two designs: Espresso Black and Moonlight White.

It’s available now for a starting price of $599.99 at the HP online store.

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