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HP updates Envy laptops with Alexa and webcam privacy switch

The Verge logo The Verge 19/3/2019 Jacob Kastrenakes
a close up of a computer: The HP Envy 13 x360. © Image: HP The HP Envy 13 x360.

HP is updating its Envy line of laptops with new processors, a webcam privacy switch, and, in some cases, built-in support for Alexa. The Envy series sits one step below HP’s top-of-the-line laptops, offering slightly lesser specs for prices that are usually a few hundred dollars less.

This year, there are four models: the Envy 13 x360 and Envy 15 x360, both of which can flip around into a tablet, and the Envy 13 Laptop and Envy 17 Laptop, which can’t flip around.

The line is fragmented in some strange ways. The laptop models can only be configured with Intel processors; the 13-inch x360 can only be configured with AMD processors, and only the 15-inch x360 can be configured with either. Full specs aren’t available yet, but it looks like there’ll be options for Intel’s Whiskey Lake i5 and i7 chips, and AMD’s second-gen Ryzen 5 and 7.

That’s important for one other reason: only the Intel models support Alexa. This is a feature that’s been coming to a handful of PCs over the past year — including an HP all-in-one — and it ought to be handy for anyone who’s already filled with home with Echo devices.

a close up of a computer © Image: HP

The other big feature coming to this year’s Envy models — all of them, in this case — is a webcam privacy switch. It’s located on the side of the laptops, and it will disconnect the webcam from the machine. This is a great feature, and every laptop should include it.

All four models now have narrower bezels around the screen. The ports situation is a little bit different from laptop to laptop — the 17-inch model even comes with a CD drive — but all of them come with multiple traditional USB ports and a single USB-C port.

The laptops all launch in April and will show up in Best Buys starting in May. The Envy 13 x360 will start at $700, and the Envy 15 x360 will start at $800 for AMD and $870 for Intel. The Envy 13 Laptop and Envy 17 Laptop will both start at $900.

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