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There are only so many people willing to spend $1,300+ on a finger-thick machine, and many of them are already loyal Apple customers. The reality is, the average consumer wants to believe they're buying a premium product, but they don't necessarily want to pay premium prices.
It's a tough nut to crack and most PC makers have failed when it comes to ultrathin notebooks, whether by charging too much or cutting too many corners. Striking a balance between both extremes, HP's Folio 13 kicks off at an attractive $900 while packing the same core componentry you'll find in even the priciest of ultrabooks.
HP's 2011 Envy 14 picks up right where last year's model left off by beefing up the internals, adding modern connectivity options like USB 3.0 and DisplayPort and greatly improving the touchpad. The Envy has a strong resemblance to Apple's MacBook Pro which for the most part could be considered a good thing.
The latest version features the same gunmetal lid with an attractive etched pattern and a reflective HP logo on the back corner of the lid . Our evaluation system used to cost $1,079.99 but now you can get it for $899, making for an interesting proposition for this subtly well-crafted machine.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing it's time we give our Laptop Buying Guide one last pass before the year is over to make sure it's packing enough punch. Netbooks have lost their lure to simply become smaller, entry-level notebooks, while other categories are only seeing minor spec bumps. But if you are looking into the ultraportable market, a new breed of devices has emerged. Intel is pushing the Ultrabooks as thin and light systems with plenty of power, for now we're seeing a first generation of devices, with plenty more to come.
|Ultraportables Thin and light laptops balance portability, performance and battery life.||Business Mid to high end components with an emphasis on durability, security and battery life.|
|Desktop Replacements The most complete set of features, often forgo battery life and portability for extra horsepower.||Gaming If mobility is a priority, there are some solid choices for gaming on the go.|
|Budget-oriented A good blend of price and features, but slim form factors are not necessarily a priority.|
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