After Microsoft made its decision to cancel the Surface Mini, users looking for a compact note-taking tablet were left with few options. This is where the HP Envy 8 Note comes in.
Like the recently announced Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the 8-inch Envy 8 Note Tablet comes with a digital stylus that instantly launches the note-taking app with a press of the button. When you activate a button on the stylus, the HP Instant Note app launches, similar to how the Surface Pen launches Microsoft OneNote on the Surface Pro. Notes on the Envy 8 Note Tablet are saved in OneNote and can be accessed via the HP Notes Hub.
The Envy Note comes with a slim 0.30-inch (7.7mm) profile and weighs just 0.8 pounds (0.36kg). In addition to the pen, small business owners looking to do productive work while mobile can dock the slate into the HP Envy Note Keyboard Folio. HP claims that the keyboard offers the same 1.5mm key travel as its premium notebooks, which means a comfortable, responsive typing experience. There is also a clickpad on the keyboard, and the tablet can be used in either landscape or portrait mode in the dock. When the keyboard base isn't in use, it can store the tablet into the back for protection while traveling.
The Envy Note 8 Tablet delivers an entry-level computing experience, which is good for mobile small business owners who need to make quick edits in a Microsoft Word document or Excel spreadsheet. The slate is powered by a 1.44GHz quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor, and not the more powerful Intel Core i series chipsets found on the Surface Pro series.
HP rates the slate for 6.25 hours of battery life. Given the smaller 8-inch 1080p full HD display, you probably wouldn't want to type out long reports on the Envy Note 8 Tablet, but the slate would still be good for quick edits, note-taking and casual entertainment while mobile.
The tablet has a 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and audio tuning from Bang & Olufsen. The B&O Play-branding means that the microphones are tuned for better video conference calls, and the speakers also get a boost for multimedia consumption.
For connectivity, the Envy 8 Note has a micro SIM card slot for connecting to Verizon's 4G LTE network, a micro SD card reader for additional storage, and a micro USB 2.0 OTG port for charging and connecting additional peripherals with an adapter. A USB OTG adapter allows users to connect flash drives, hard drives and wired printers to the slate, for example.
New HP Stream notebooks renew Chromebook war
In addition to the Envy 8 Note Tablet, HP also refreshed its affordable Stream laptop line with three models: the Stream 11.6, Stream 13.3 and Stream 11 Pro G2. The notebooks are slimmer than their predecessors, while offering longer battery life.
The HP Stream 11.6 and Stream 13.3 up to 10.5 hours and 8.5 hours of battery life, respectively, HP said in a statement. The models come with one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI port and a single micro SD card reader. The larger Stream model adds a second USB 2.0 port. The Stream notebooks come with HD displays, are powered by an Intel Celeron processor, and packs in 32GB of eMMC storage memory.
Designed for mobility, the Stream laptops are lightweight machines despite their affordable prices. The smaller 11.6-inch model weighs 2.6 pounds (1.18kg) and is 0.72-inch (1.84cm) thick. The larger 13.3-inch model weighs 3.42 pounds (1.55kg) and measures 0.77-inch thick (1.96cm).
The Stream 11 Pro G2 is designed for education, and comes with hardware TPM security and options for 4GB RAM and up to 64GB storage. HP also tuned the microphone to reduce background noise and echoes for video conferencing when using the 720p HD webcam.
Pricing and availability
The HP Envy 8 Note competes in the same space as Dell's Venue 8 Pro (tablet only for $259, £170, AU$361), a tablet that could be outfitted with Dell's digital stylus and Bluetooth keyboard, and the Asus VivoTab Note 8 ($289, £189, AU$403). HP's solution comes with a newer Atom processor and integrated mobile broadband modem so that you can stay connected even when you're out of Wi-Fi range if you purchase a data plan.
The Envy 8 Note Tablet and stylus are available starting November 8 for $329 (£215, AU$459), and the package with a keyboard retails for $429 (£281, AU$598).
The HP Stream notebooks will be available starting October 18. The 11.6-inch model starts at $199 (£130, AU$276) and the larger 13.3-inch model starts at $229 (£150, AU$318), making them competitive against Google's Chromebook. The systems primarily rely on the cloud for storage, and they come with a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription, 1TB of OneDrive storage for a year and 60 minutes per month of Skype. The HP Stream 11 Pro G2 will start at $249 (£163, AU$346) when it arrives on October 12.