When it comes to CES 2021 laptop announcements, it's starting to look like a repeat of 2020 with the bulk of new PCs aimed at commercial and creative users. That's certainly the case for HP, which has kicked off its announcements with four new work laptops: Elite Dragonfly Max, Elite Folio, EliteBook 840 G8 Aero and Envy 14.
HP announced the Elite Dragonfly G2 at last year's CES. It's a sub-2.2-pound two-in-one with optional 4G LTE or 5G mobile wireless and a built-in Tile tracker so that, in case you misplace it or someone walks off with it, you'll more easily be able to locate it using your phone. For 2021, HP's just boosting performance with 11th-gen Intel processors.
However, the G2 is now joined by the Dragonfly Max. If your life is a neverending stream video conference calls, the Max takes communications up a notch from the G2. HP used four wide-range microphones and a 5-megapixel webcam and with an IR camera so you're audio and video quality is a couple of steps above your average work laptop.
No pricing was announced for either model, but they're expected to be available later this month.
A folio with a 2-in-1 inside
The upcoming Elite Folio is a commercial version of the leather-wrapped Spectre Folio two-in-one. Instead of a rotating display or a detachable keyboard like most other two-in-ones, the Folio starts off looking like a typical clamshell laptop, but then you can move the screen forward to rest just behind the touchpad putting it in a better position for video chats or presentations.
You can pull the display all the way forward and lay it down (almost) flat on top of the keyboard to use it like a tablet. There's an AES pen stored above the keyboard ready for you to quickly jot down notes. It can even launch an app as soon as you pick up the pen.
The Folio is powered by a second-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G compute platform, so you get 5G wireless if you want and it'll get more than 24 hours of local video playback, HP says. Also, it's covered in vegan leather, which is a smart move considering HP's use of recycled materials throughout these new business laptops.
The Elite Folio is expected to be available in February but no pricing was announced.
Lighter than air laptop
For those not interested in a small two-in-one -- wrapped in vegan leather or not -- HP announced the EliteBook 840 G8 Aero. It's under 2.5 pounds, which HP says makes it the world's lightest 14-inch business laptop. Like the Dragonfly G2, it has 11th-gen Intel Core processors, built-in Tile tracking and optional 5G wireless.
Also, to help with conferencing, there are three mics, and one of them is on the outside so it picks up voices on either side of the laptop's display more clearly. It's also available with HP security privacy features for blocking its webcam and mics and an optional HP SureView display that helps block what's on your screen from anyone who might be shoulder surfing behind you.
The EliteBook Aero is expected in March, and like the others, HP didn't announce pricing.
Along with the three commercial laptops, HP announced the new Envy 14, a consumer laptop, but aimed at creatives. The laptop's 16:10 14-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel display is color calibrated at the factory and covers 100% sRGB color gamut. It'll be available with 11th-gen Intel Core processors and up to Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti Max Q discrete graphics.
Like the other laptops HP announced, the Envy 14 has improved conferencing features including AI noise removal to clean up your audio when using its built-in mics. Also, it has an HP Enhanced Lighting feature that turns its screen into a selfie ring light to brighten your face in video chats -- definitely a "Why hasn't anyone done this before on a laptop?" feature.
The HP Envy 14 is expected later this month starting at $1,000. International pricing wasn't available but that converts to approximately £740 and AU$1,290 for the UK and Australia, respectively.