HP launches new Spectre, a thin laptop aimed at elevating its brand

HP wants to be known as an innovator that can do luxury too. Enter the new Spectre and two special edition devices to be auctioned off.

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HP launched its new Spectre laptop, which is billed as the thinnest in the world, and the big picture is that the company is trying to position itself as an elegant innovator with a dash of luxury.

Just consider the venue of HP's launch. The PC and printer maker rolled out the new Spectre and its "premium portfolio" of Envy devices at the New York Times International Luxury Conference in Versailles, France.

Also see CNET's first take on the latest HP Spectre

Meanwhile, HP said it is collaborating with designers Tord Boontje and Jess Hannah. While tech buyers may not know that duo HP is banking on that name recognition to dabble in luxury goods. Boontje and Hannah worked with HP on two limited edition laptops that have texture, diamonds and 18K gold and be auctioned to support the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Here's a look at Boontje's collaboration followed by Hannah's gold version of the Spectre.

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The new Spectre runs on Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and is 10.4 mm thick. The laptop also has a full HD 13.3 screen and Bang & Olufsen sound. HP's Kevin Frost, general manager of consumer personal systems, described the new Spectre as "sexy" and setting "a new standard."

HP's 13.3" Spectre will be available at HP.com and Best Buy's site on April 25 for preorder. The system starts at $1,169.99 and Best Buy's physical stores will have the Spectre May 22 starting at $1,249.99.

For HP, the backdrop is that PC sales are sluggish at best and Apple has become a premium brand. HP wants to also seen as a premium brand so it included an all-aluminum chassis, a carbon fiber bottom and copper accents, hidden hinges and a hybrid battery. The general theme is that HP's new Spectre doesn't scrimp on performance to be svelte.

Along with the Spectre is a series of Envy devices that are thinner and have more battery life with better specs.

The headliner of the Envy devices is a new hybrid dubbed the x360, which starts at $679.99 on May 29 online and June 12 at Best Buy. The device is 15.6" and weighs in at 4.5 pounds with a 18.8 mm profile. The battery life checks in at up to 11 hours, up from 8 on the previous design.

The Envy x360 has two USB 3.0 Gen 1 ports, a HDMI and SD card reader as well as up to 16 GB of system memory and up to 2TB hard drive or 256 GB solid state drive.

Lighter Envy laptops are also on tap with 15.6" and 17.3" screens and start at $799.99 and $1,029.99, respectively.

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