New HP Envy laptop is first to integrate Leap Motion gesture controls

The Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition lets you control the notebook without even touching it. It goes on sale next month starting at $1,049.99.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Momentum has been slowly building for Leap Motion, a tiny device that lets you control your PC through gestures rather than conventional input methods. Announced over a year ago, it finally started shipping a couple of months ago.

While the company has been offering its hands-on free interface to users as an $80 external controller, its hope is to get system builders to integrate the technology into their computers. Asus promised just that back in January at CES, but the first PC to offer Leap Motion integration has been announced and it's from HP instead.

The Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition bakes gesture controls right into the laptop, letting you control various apps and do gaming with the wave of your hand. (HP has posted a video of some hands-free gaming on the Envy here.) Unfortunately, our sister site CNET was not thoroughly impressed with the integration, suggesting that HP could have done more to work Leap Motion's technology into the computing experience. It also reports that battery life will be curtailed due to the power demands of the Leap Motion sensor.

Despite the limitations, the HP Leap Motion solution at least offers some degree of portability. To date, Microsoft's Kinect for Windows technology requires the large sensor familiar to Xbox 360 gamers, though the company is reportedly working on a new sensor for PCs

The new Envy notebook also includes a 17.3-inch 1080p touchscreen as an alternate way to interact with the PC without using the traditional keyboard and mouse. It packs an Intel Haswell Core i7 processor, Nvidia discrete graphics options, at least 8GB of RAM, and a minimum 1TB hard drive.

The Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition will be available next month starting at $1,049.99. You can be notified of its availability through the HP website.

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