HP also has added a tool to encrypt all data on the notebook hard disks. For Windows Vista models, an application called HP QuickLook lets users instantly access their Outlook calendars, tasks, contacts and other data without booting up the computer. Pressing a button brings Vista's HotStart program QuickLook onscreen.
The ultra-lights, HP Compaq 2710p and 2510p, start at 3.6 pounds and 2.9 pounds, respectively. The 2710 has a rotating screen that lets the notebook convert into a pen-based tablet PC, and at 3.6 pounds is nearly one pound lighter than HP's previous table. Both models have a new display technology that HP says is thinner and lighter, and because of its power efficiency boosts batter life by about 10 percent.
The 2710p starts at $US1,700 and the 2510p at $US1,600, with shipment expected to start mid-year in the U.S.
The new 6910p, 6710, 6510b models tend to be heavier, with larger displays (as large as 15.4 inches), and a broader array of configuration options. The 6910p starts at $US1,350, the 6710b at $US1,050 and the 6510b at $US1,000.
The cream of the crop is HP's new high-end 8000 series models. Both the 8710p and 8510p support advanced graphics, high-resolution displays, and high-definition video and audio formats. One version of the 8710 has a 64-bit CPU architecture and support for as much as 4GB of memory. The 8710p with a 17-inch screen starts at $US1,600; configured as what HP calls a "mobile workstation" with expanded features and tools, brings the starting price to $US2,500. The 8510p also starts at $US1,600, with the mobile workstation configuration pushing that to $US2,200. Both are expected to ship in July.
Lenovo has revamped its ThinkPad notebooks, introducing 14.1-inch screens to the T61 and R61 models. The new Lenovo 3000 N200 is the first to offer a 15.4-inch screen. All three have the Centrino Pro package.
The new T models also have a durability feature: a honeycomb interior design for the PC's top cover. Lenova says the new design reduces stress on the LCD screen by 25 percent on average when it's dropped and helps to cushion the PC's main body.
The notebooks also feature Lenovo's Ultra Connect II design, which minimize the effect of conductive metal and LCD noise on cellular and Wi-Fi interfaces. Selected T61 models can be outfitted with one of several cellular interfaces.
Lenovo also offers centralized management of the notebooks via Intel's features in Centrino Pro.
The T61 and R61 models start at $US1,400 and $US1,250, respectively, and will ship this month. The N200 starts at about $US1,100 and is expected to be available by the end of the month.