HP has announced a broad range of business-class Elite PCs, including new notebooks, desktops and all-in-ones. The company is giving special weight to the features HP has specifically added, which distinguish its offerings from those of its OEM competitors, and which go beyond the expected feeds and speeds increases that come from the improved technology from vendor partners like Intel which every OEM will enjoy.
“For commercial desktops, this year we are focusing on three pillars – design, security and collaboration,” said Kathy Nielsen, Manager, Commercial Desktop Product Management at HP. In design for example, the commercial all-in-ones have been designed to be much slimmer. HP has also come up with a small form factor offering, the HP EliteDesk 705 and 800 G2 Desktop Mini, which the company is touting as the world’s smallest business-class desktop.
Nielsen said that what is most likely to impress customers is new security and collaboration initiatives.
“In security, we have several new features which we first introduced on desktops, which we are now bringing it over to the desktop side,” she said. “It took us some time to get this done, and there was a lag to get them onto desktops because of internal factors, but they are now on our Elite platforms.”
One such innovation is HP’s first all-in-one fingerprint reader.
“It has been on notebooks, but is now on our Elite all-in-one PCs which are configured for touch specifically,” Nielsen said. She acknowledged that this feature is more attractive to mobile users, where it becomes another defense against lost or stolen machines, but said that it is desired on desktop platforms as well.
“The issue there isn’t about having a lost platform, but it is cumbersome to type in passwords multiple times a day and this makes it easier,” she said. “This is especially the case in retail, where the machine may be a shared resource.”
HP Sure Start, a feature which is unique to HP, and which provides self-healing BIOS-level protection in case the BIOS is compromised, is now available on the new Elite desktops and all-in-ones. This feature has been available on notebooks, but are now available in HP’s other elite form factors, for hardware-based built-in device protection.
HP has also unveiled the new HP Desktop Mini LockBox, a secure enclosure to protect the PC, power brick and cable connections.
“You put the Mini inside the lock box, which provides additional physical security for the device,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen also attached great weight to the new HP collaboration initiatives in the desktop space. The new HP Collaboration PC G2 with Intel Unite Software has an HP-exclusive Intel Unite Skype for Business Plugin.
“This second generation of this product’s Skype for Business plug-in makes audio conferencing and document sharing easy,” she said. “The Collaboration PC lets you connect to a display or projector – something that HP introduced several months ago – but now the Skype for Business plugin lets up to four presenters in this format collaborate at once.”
Collaboration capability is also improved with the availability of Bang & Olufsen audio on some of the new all-in-ones, as well as on new Elite notebooks.
“This is one of the key differentiators in our focus on collaboration,” said Rick Griencewic, Product Manager, HP EliteBook 800/705 Series Business Notebooks. “Bang and Olufsen tweak our audio for voice on these business machines. On the consumer side, we optimize the audio for music and videos, but on these machines, voice is first, for improved clarity. The speakers themselves are similar to consumer machines, but it’s the fine detail in the tuning that is the difference.”
One other noteworthy new feature on the desktop side is integrated wireless phone charging built into the stand on the HP EliteOne 705 and 800 G2 all-in-ones. HP also introduced this on its new workstation products just announced, indicating they see the ability to easily charge mobile devices as a new requirements of today’s more mobile workforce. An optional Tri-Mode Charging Pad, which is independent of the unit itself, is also available.
The desktops feature 6th Generation Intel Core processors or 6th Generation AMD APUs. DDR4 memory is now standard on Intel-based desktops. The EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini also has the option of an Intel-based 65W CPU for applications requiring greater processing power.
The new Elite notebooks are guided by the same three pillars of innovation – design, security and collaboration. The new models are the HP EliteBook 705 series – the thinnest and lightest notebooks in their class – with three separate products, the 25, 745 and 755, with different screen sizes.
“These are the thinnest and lightest models in their class, and are designed for the executive right down to mainstream users,” said Daron Chalk, Business Notebook Product Line Manager at HP.
The 705 series has a new silver magnesium and aluminum chassis, a starting weight of 2.78 lbs, and is 18.9 mm thin at its thickest point.
“We have gotten smarter about making thin and light notebooks without the compromises we originally were forced to make,” Chalk said. “That and scale have brought costs down.”
“We have seen some significant cost reductions in SSDs and touch capability, since Ultrabooks were first announced, which have allowed us to pass on these reductions,” Griencewic added.
Another feature in the price level is that these notebooks, (like most, but not all of the new desktop products) are all part of HP’s AMD chip line, which have a significant price advantage over market leader Intel.
“These are all AMD machines, and include a brand new one – the high-performance AMD PRO A12 APU, which is the first commercial APU with integrated R7 Radeon graphics,” Chalk said. “These start at $675 in the U.S.”
In recent years, the perception has grown that AMD has fallen behind Intel somewhat on the technology side, but Chalk said they don’t find that to be an issue with these machines.
“AMD and Intel both have their strengths,” he said. “Our customers find that when they try out the units, they meet their business needs. AMD represents tremendous value, and that’s a need and interest in our customer base.”
“This is especially the feedback where the economy is weak,” Griencewic pointed out. “AMD provides an alternative where cost is critical.”
The EliteBook 705 models also feature a re-engineered HP Premium Keyboard, which provides increased comfort compared to traditional notebook keyboards.
“We have gone above and beyond on the keyboard, and found several ways to make it better,” Chalk said.
The EliteBook 705 series also offers HP Long-Life Rechargeable Batteries, which last 2-3 times longer than standard notebook batteries and have up to a three-year lifespan or 1,000 full charge and discharge cycles. An external SIM slot and optional WWAN give users additional flexibility to connect on the road.
The AMD-based HP EliteBook 705 G3 series is expected to be available in September, starting at $USD 749.
The AMD-based HP EliteOne 705 G2 AiO is expected to be available in September, starting at $USD 849.
The Intel-based HP EliteOne 800 G2 AiO is expected to be available in October, starting at $USD 1,199.
The AMD-based HP EliteDesk 705 Micro Tower are available now, starting at $USD 519.
The AMD-based EliteDesk 705 Desktop Mini is expected to be available in October, starting at $USD 499.
The Intel-based HP EliteDesk 800 series is expected to be available in September, starting at $USD 699.
The HP Collaboration PC G2 is expected to be available in September, starting at $USD 729.