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HP/Voodoo takes on MacBook with 13-inch Envy laptop

Announcement of the Voodoo Envy 133

The Voodoo Envy 133

We've previously taken notice of Voodoo founder (and current chief technology officer of HP's Global Gaming Business) Rahul Sood's playful birthday video, where he cut a cake with a MacBook Air and said, "Well, I wouldn't be needing this notebook for long anyways." Now we know exactly what he was talking about, with the new announcement of the Voodoo Envy 133.

We actually got to take a peek at one of these in person a few weeks ago, and we were impressed with the slim, attractive design. At around 3.4 pounds, it falls somewhere between the traditional MacBook and the lighter MacBook Air (it's nearly as thin, at 0.7 inch)--it might be best compared with Lenovo's 13-inch X300.

Voodoo is not into soft, rounded corners. HP/Voodoo

One particularly smart innovation we hope other laptop makers will adopt is what the company calls "Voodoo Aura PowerConnect." That simply means the Ethernet jack is located on the power brick, so you don't have to fit the jack into the system itself. Plus, the power brick will act as a point-to-point Wi-Fi connection, so you can unplug and move around without being tethered to your Ethernet cable in those rare situations where you have wired Internet access, but no Wi-Fi router (which actually happened to us in a hotel recently). There's also an Instant-On menu that gives you access to a Web browser and even Skype, without booting into Windows.

Unlike the Air, the system has HDMI and multiple USB ports, but it does have a few Mac-like touchpad gesture controls (such as pinching to zoom in on photos). We saw it in white, but the Envy 133 will be available in a variety of colors and custom graphic finishes.

The Envy 133 will start at $2,099, and be available "starting this summer," according to HP. Other highlights include:

  • Starts at 3.4 pounds, 0.70 inch thin, 9.04 inches deep, and 12.65 inches wide.
  • A carbon fibre casing with custom microweave design. The 13.3-inch backlit LED screen is covered with a durable fused composite glass.
  • Voodoo IOS - gives road warriors instant access to Skype and an Internet browser.
  • Voodoo Aura PowerConnect - users can plug an Ethernet cable into the jack located on the power brick. A point-to-point Wi-Fi connection is automatically established, between the RJ45 and the notebook.
  • Multiple gesture touchpad - features scroll and pinch options.
  • Standard integrated Webcam
  • Wireless connectivity - includes integrated wireless 802.11 ABGN + Bluetooth.
  • Ports - headphone/microphone, HDMI, USB 2.0 (1x) and a shared e-SATA/USB (1x).
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Proximity sensor - This system recognizes when fingers are on the keyboard and turns off the touchpad to avoid any accidental movement of the cursor.
  • LED display - 13.3-inch LED WXGA (1,280x800) screen covered in high-quality fused composite glass that runs from edge to edge.
  • Ambient sensors - adjusts the display brightness according to its surrounding environment.