HP discounts Envy 13, a MacBook Air rival

Hewlett-Packard is discounting its Envy 13: the last of the 13-inch models that were originally conceived as a response to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Hewlett-Packard has moved its Envy 13 into the fire sale bin--the last gasp from a discontinued model.

HP Envy 13: like the 13-inch MacBook Air and Dell Adamo 13, it has an all-metal chassis.
HP Envy 13: like the 13-inch MacBook Air and Dell Adamo 13, it has an all-metal chassis. Hewlett-Packard

HP is now selling the Envy 13 for $999, with a $450 instant rebate. That includes an Intel 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo Processor (SL9300), 3GB of memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 Graphics with 512MB of dedicated memory, Beats audio, a 250GB (5400RPM) hard disk drive, an external SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW drive with double layer support, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

For those unfamiliar with the Envy 13 , it was an obvious response to Apple's aluminum MacBook line and fell somewhere between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. (And it's not to be confused with the Envy 14, which is very much an active HP model.)

I would contend that the Envy 13 was more of an Air rival than a Pro competitor because of its weight (less than 4 pounds), thickness (0.8 inches), and lack of a built-in optical drive. And its lineage hints at a response to the Air: the Envy 13's predecessor was the Voodoo Envy 133 --an ultrathin (0.7 inches), head-turning design that was not, ultimately, very popular.

Like the Air and Pro, the Envy 13 has an aluminum chassis, which elevates it into the rarefied realm of the luxury laptop.

HP's Envy 13-1130NR Web page: showing the discounted price--as of Tuesday, December 28.
HP's Envy 13-1130NR Web page: showing the discounted price--as of Tuesday, December 28. Hewlett-Packard

And Dell has also dropped the price on its aluminum Adamo 13 . So, here's the $64,000 question: Are HP and Dell trying to compete with the newest Airs, or, are they just getting rid of inventory? I would favor the inventory-clearing scenario--certainly for HP, and likely for Dell, as it has not updated the Adamo 13 in ages.

Note that refurbished Envy 13s are also being sold at discounts by HP. For instance, an Envy 13 with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo SU9600 (ultra-low-power processor), a 250GB hard disk drive, 5GB of memory, ATI graphics, and 64-bit Windows 7 is priced at $766.35, down from its original price of $1,179.

Here's a spec-to-spec comparison with the MacBook Air that I did back in November of 2009.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Want a home monitoring camera?

Here's an easy and affordable DIY video-monitoring system.