On Monday HP will launch its first notebook range specifically designed for consumer use. Until now HP sold a range of Pavilion consumer notebooks but these were simply rebadged versions of HP’s OmniBook business machines.
Models in the Pavilion zt1000 range will sport a different chassis from their OmniBook siblings and will cost from £999 including VAT. The highest-specced model, Pavilion zt1121, will cost £1,499 including VAT.
HP's move to a dedicated consumer notebook chassis acknowledges that consumers are buying fewer desktop PCs and that notebooks provide better base prices for retail.
HP claims the new units are for mobile business use and students as well as general consumers, which doesn't really leave any holes. But being jack of all trades is not as easy as it looks.
HP (and some journalists) baulk at the suggestion that nigh on a grand for a notebook is a bit steep for students. It will continue running a jazzed-up version of the notebook the zt1000 replaces, the Pavilion N5512, but at only £100 less. It's obviously possible to do students a better deal with much cheaper notebooks — HP just won't, because it doesn't want to be associated with cheap notebooks.
The new Pavilions will each have three USB and an S-Video out port as well as a handy scrollpad alongside the standard touchpad.
Because the zt1000 range is aimed fundamentally at consumers, HP's pulling the stops out with regard to using the units to play DVDs.
Powered by an 1.06GHz Intel Mobile Celeron processor, the zt1121s also gets 128MB SDRAM, a 20GB hard drive and 32MB of shared video memory as well as a 14.1in TFT display and an eight-speed DVD drive.
At the opposite end of the range the zt1171s gets maxed out with a 1.06GHz Intel Mobile Pentium III chip, 256MB SDRAM memory, the same 20GB hard drive and 32MB shared video memory. But it also gets a removable DVD/CD-RW combo drive and a whopping 15in XGA TFT display. The higher-end machines — the 1141s, 1151s and the 1171s also sport FireWire ports.
HP plans to add multichannel Dolby sound as well as Intel Mobile P4 processors when they come out (probably next month) to the Pavilion range at a later stage.