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HP Made a Laptop Slightly Thicker To Add 3 Hours of Battery Life (theverge.com) 167

When a technology company like Apple releases a new product, chances are it's going to be thinner than its predecessor -- even if may be slightly worse off for it. HP is taking a different approach with its new 15.6-inch Spectre x360 laptop, which was recently announced at CES. The machine is slightly thicker than its predecessor, and HP claims it features three hours of additional battery life. The Verge reports: The difference between the new x360 and the old x360, in terms of thickness, is minimal, from 15.9mm to 17.8mm. (For reference, the 2015 MacBook Pro was 18mm thick.) It's an increase of 1.9mm for the Spectre, but HP says it's now including a battery that's 23 percent larger in exchange. At the same time, the laptop is also getting narrower, with its body shrinking from 14.8 inches wide to 14 inches wide. Unfortunately, the claimed three hours of additional battery life aren't meant to make this laptop into some long-lasting wonder -- they're really just meant to normalize its battery life. HP will only be selling the 15.6-inch x360 with a 4K display this year, and that requires a lot more power. By increasing the laptop's battery capacity, HP is able to push the machine's battery life from the 9.5 hours it estimated for the 4K version of its 2016 model to about 12 hours and 45 minutes for this model. So it is adding three hours of battery life, but in doing so, it's merely matching the battery life of last year's 1080p model. The x360 is also being updated to include Intel's Kaby Lake processors. It includes options that max out at an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics. It's supposed to be released February 26th, with pricing starting at $1,278 for an entry-level model.
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HP Made a Laptop Slightly Thicker To Add 3 Hours of Battery Life

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    NOw that is COurage! HOpefully Other COmpanies will FOllow this example!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your idiotic capital usage aside, I agree. This is what courage looks like.

      I will sell this as my laptop recommendation of choice to my business clients to reward up for this, even though I'm not a fan of HP in general.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is what courage looks like.

        Umm, did you actually read the summary?

        "So it is adding three hours of battery life, but in doing so, it's merely matching the battery life of last year's 1080p model."

        So in actuality, they're making the laptop thicker just to keep the battery life the same. How brave!

        • Re: Courage (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @09:23AM (#53603469)

          At least they are giving people what they actually want, which is function.

          Personally I think that these manufacturers like the make things thinner and lighter and to put rounded edges and smooth surfaces all over them because it creates more devices that need replacement because they are frail and squirt out of your hand like a wet bar of soap.

          • My thought too.

            Finally a company that listen to what the people have been saying. It's been a long time since anyone said "this phone is too thick" or "this laptop is too thick".

          • Re: Courage (Score:5, Insightful)

            by flopsquad ( 3518045 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @10:13AM (#53603669)
            This. To parent post and to HP.

            I've yet to meet a single person that needs, or even wants, a laptop/tablet/phone that is 0.5mm thinner. But everybody needs longer battery life and more durable devices. And many of us need features (looking at you, headphone jack) that are sacrificed in the dubious pursuit of thinness above all else.
            • Re: Courage (Score:4, Informative)

              by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @10:39AM (#53603745) Homepage

              I wish there was a better way to quantify the durability of phones. Something akin to crash test ratings. You can get water resistance and dust resistance for phones... add scientifically measured standardized scratch, bend and shatter resistance tests.

              And yes, while I think that it's unfortunate that they're doing this just to feed a hungry 4k screen (I'd much rather just not have the 4k screen), and also that they're shrinking the width ("Meh"), kudos to them for bucking the "must get thinner every time!" trend.

              Your headphone example is not only a great example of sacrifice in the pursuit of useless thinness, but it's a great example of the sacrifice of durability, too. I've had many USB ports and USB plugs break over the years, but never in my life had headphone jacks or plugs break. I've had the headphones and their cords break, but never the plug or jack. Because it's a thick solid piece of metal plugging into another thick solid piece of metal. That sort of thing is what I want in my ports, I don't give a rat's arse that it adds half a dozen grams to the device's weight.

              And likewise, for that incentive of ditching it - pushing people towards going wireless with their earbuds - for Thor's sake, the last thing I want to have to deal with is another piece of household electronics to charge. You've got my support when you have an long-range wireless charging standard in place that everyone has agreed that they're going to move to. Not a second before then.

              And so long as you're wired, it should be kept analog, because that gives you the cheapest earbuds and removes any DRM/lockout/incompatibility/etc fears from users.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Let's see if it sells well. Unfortunately I have a feeling it won't, because even though if you ask people "would you prefer it to be to 0.5mm thinner or have more battery life?" they will tell you that they want the battery life, in practice when they are in the shop with an array of laptops in front of them they will pick the thin and shiny one.

              The other thing that makes a bigger battery is hard sell is that all manufacturers lie about battery life. It's become post-truth, everyone knows that battery life

              • I would say that there should be some sort of standard for measuring it like there is for vehicle fuel consumption, but they'd game it anyway.

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  It would be very difficult to control... Build a Faraday cage so that only your wifi network is available with consistent power and interference. For browsing use a local server with consistent response times, fixed suite of test pages. Temperature controlled room. Even then you couldn't stop the manufacturer just turning down the wifi power level on the review unit, or adding a defeat device that underclocks the CPU when it notices it is running the test suite.

                  • If the tests included "process X amount of data" and "download X amount of data" and were evaluating not only battery life, but also performance, they'd have to choose which one to cheat. Since (judging by 2016 MacBook Pro sales) many people don't give much if a shit about battery life, there would be incentive to sacrifice battery life to improve performance in that test; until you realize that some people do care about battery life, which removes any incentive to cheat at all.
            • For business purposes, the question is not whether a thinner laptop that sacrifices battery life is better, but whether it will sell better. Durability is hard to quantify, and some people treat their equipment a lot rougher than others. (I try to be careful, but I'm clumsy.)

              If thinner sells, then thinner wins. At least for MS Windows and Linux laptops, there's more companies making them, and a greater incentive to sell laptops to a niche market.

          • At least they are giving people what they actually want

            They're bringing back the 1/4" headphone jack??

          • Personally I think that these manufacturers like the make things thinner and lighter and to put rounded edges and smooth surfaces all over them because it creates more devices that need replacement because they are frail and squirt out of your hand like a wet bar of soap.

            Personally I think they make them like that because they sell well and it's what people want. Generally people salivate over it. Laptops are not small or light enough yet IMO.

            But really what is needed is two devices. Some thick big work horses for you guys, and some nice thin light more toylike devices for the likes of me and the common man who doesn't spend 10 hours a day coding on it.

        • This is what courage looks like.

          Umm, did you actually read the summary?

          "So it is adding three hours of battery life, but in doing so, it's merely matching the battery life of last year's 1080p model."

          If you were truly brave you'd use it with the screen turned off to get that extra 3 hours battery life.

          • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

            you'd use it with the screen turned off

            This is how I use my laptop as a massively oversized mp3 player on long flights.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Your idiotic capital usage aside, I agree. This is what courage looks like.

        I will sell this as my laptop recommendation of choice to my business clients to reward up for this, even though I'm not a fan of HP in general.

        The problem is it's HP and they've been consistently crap quality builds since I've worked in IT... Probably longer than that.

        That being said, I do agree with this move. Making laptops thinner means taking space away from things, that is usually either the battery or cooling systems. Given that laptops are rarely over-engineered these days cooling that works fine out of the box often fails when it's got a bit of dust in it and under load. Fortunately an overheating laptop just shuts itself down rather th

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      From the article:

      Unfortunately, the claimed three hours of additional battery life aren’t meant to make this laptop into some long-lasting wonder — they’re really just meant to normalize its battery life. [...] It is adding three hours of battery life, but in doing so, it’s merely matching the battery life of last year’s 1080p model.

      This isn't courage, this is just a good PR spin on them having to increase the size of their laptop to accommodate a 4k resolution. I'm glad they chose this route instead of cutting battery life but this isn't some kind of grand gesture.

    • "courage", "you use it wrong"... didn't we get enough of that?
  • I love that they need to throw in a swipe at Apple, despite the story having nothing at all to do with Apple, and despite even the redesigned HP laptop being thinner than the supposedly thin-happy Apple product.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      First off, any opportunity to chip at the Apple PR machine should not be wasted. And second, I think it is fair to say Apple started or at least mainstreamed the "thinner instead of more functionality" trend so mentioning them here seem appropriate.

  • may it be the beginning of a new trend on phones also.

  • Razer+ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @09:27AM (#53603483)

    Back in the days of the Motorola Razer (ultra-thin/light phone, cutting edge....), they made another phone called the 810-something, we had two of them in the family. Basically, it was the Razer with a real battery - lasted over a week on a charge. I would so-love to carry a Nexus 5x that's 3mm thicker with the extra volume filled with high efficiency LiPo.

    • I'm not sure why anyone would want a RAZR... I had one, it survived maybe 6 months before it started failing at everything. Responsiveness went down the toilet, lots of dropped calls, those calls that did make it were low volume and/or filled with white noise.

      Personally, I have a short list of requirements:
      1) Lasts longer than a day on one charge (preferably two or three).
      2) Responsive. If I touch a button or the screen, it shouldn't take 3 seconds before it does something.
      3) Not riddled with crapware
      • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

        I'm not sure why anyone would want a RAZR... I had one

        I had two. Loved them both. One fell out of my pocket while on a motor cycle. I went back and picked it up, put the battery back in and carried on. It survived, but a little worse for wear. Used that one until I switched jobs and got another one. That one experienced similar problems that you did, dropped calls, not as responsive as it once was. But that was only after I sent it through the washing machine. I'd say it's impressive that it worked at all after being laundered. I used the second one up

      • I'm not sure why anyone would want a RAZR...

        It had good service in my neighborhood, was clam shell so I wouldn't pocket dial people, was slim so it would fit in my front pocket where my PDA was, had a replacable battery (which was never used), and could (technically) connect to the internet (although with the poor UI lync style browser, it was practically useless even for google searches). Never saw any of your issues. Mine worked for years until I bought the new iPhone because it would actually allow me to functionally browse the internet with a re

      • Too bad about Firefox OS. It was really unremarkable, nothing flashy like super duper 3D games, multimedia cloud shit, voice command, and high tech fun appy apps.
        But wait, it checks all your requirements. Out of the box, it's like if you've first booted Windows 3.1. Nothing autostarts or is unwanted at all. In fact on first run, it doesn't want you to sign up to anything and when it presents you with e.g. initial choice of location settings, it defaults to off. Then, if you wanted Internet browsing, texts a

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Was that a smartphone? If not, then don't smartphones use way more power than dumb phones?

      • They called them "feature phones" - basically too dumb to run a full web browser, but could do photos, videos, e-mails, etc. They mostly lost out because they were too fragmented for a robust "apps" market to develop for them. That, and the fact that everybody could afford smart phones, so why sell them something cheaper?

        • by antdude ( 79039 )

          Ah, like Motorola Razr flip phone with its included sliding physical keyboard, crappy flashless camera, etc.

    • by AcquaCow ( 56720 )

      I had a flip star-tac with the extended battery, that thing would last almost 3 weeks on a charge if you didn't talk much... was the most amazing stand-by, emergency phone ever.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @09:28AM (#53603487)

    Apple's marketing and fanbois paint it as "would you like a brick or this elegant and smooth, ultra light beautiful product?" Phrased like that, sure who wouldn't?

    Ask the same typical consumer or business buyer: "would you like a device that, in order to be insignificantly thinner, requires open heart surgery to replace the battery and if your RAM or hard drive go bad, you're SOL?"

    Then suddenly, the average person says not just no, but "oh hell, no" because this isn't a $700 PC laptop, but a ~$2000 Apple laptop.

    Put a designer and a MBA together and you get a team that does not understand that while the MacBook Air is perfectly acceptable as a throw away appliance, that is because it can be had for less than $1k. A normal person who spends $2500 to $3000 for a seriously performant machine in order to be the backbone of their work doesn't want an appliance. They want a machine that can be quickly and cost effectively repaired.

    • Sounds like the people in charge of the MyDemocracy.ca [mydemocracy.ca] took a few pointers from the Apple marketing handbook

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @10:08AM (#53603645)
      We care about thinness, of course. But not beyond some level. Of course, 4 centimeters thick is too much. But between 2 cm and 2.4, who really cares? We think it's too thin if the device may bend. If making it a bit thinner loses 1 hour battery life. Actually what's probably more of interest is the weight.
    • There used to be a bunch of people attached to the "difference" ; ergonomics, look and feel, battery life, weight, OS, reliability. This had a price. And that was until 2 years ago. Now that Jobs ideas have completely dried up, a man at Apple didn't understand (yet) that the dream is over, and the company is on the verge of decline, like it was in the end of the 80s. No more fanbois, only people who need a bit more time to switch to something else, when that something is way better (and cheaper) than Apple'
      • by Bongo ( 13261 )

        the dream is over, and the company is on the verge of decline, like it was in the end of the 80s.

        Computers are becoming ever more ubiquitous, and Apple has laptops, desktops, tablets, watches, and a music service, cloud services, some presence in the living room, a bit of AI, and a long history of OS development, plus has a track record of approaching new form factors with a humanist perspective on design, and a presence in many shopping malls, with stores often very busy, and lots of money, for now.

        Yes, everyone else can do a part or parts of that better, like, maybe I'd rather have a Lenovo P50, if I

    • BMW figured this out a long time ago when they removed the oil dipsticks from their engines:

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB... [wsj.com]

      I'm an IT guy - I'm perfectly capable of servicing any of the Macs in my possession - just like I am perfectly capable of changing my own oil.

      The truth is, I like many, simply do not do these things. It's easier and more convenient to simply let the manufacturer do it. Sure, I was once a poor college kid and replaced my own hard drives and engine oil - but at that time I was neither

    • And you're making a classic marketing mistake here. You're asking the customer what the customer wants without regard to what's going to sell. You're also phrasing the question to get the answer you want, which makes it useless.

      It's very simple. If thin sells to lots of people (not necessarily including you or me), there will be a lot of thin. If thin doesn't sell, there won't be.

  • by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @09:36AM (#53603515) Homepage
    2017 is looking good.
    • It's January 4th....

      Talk to me on December 31st...

  • A fashion statement, or functionality. It appears that HP is going in the way of increased functionality, meanwhile Apple continues on its trend towardsw making fashion statements.
  • Sick of thin is in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @09:46AM (#53603561)
    Don't know about anyone else, but, for my usage, I don't care how thick something is. I don't want to be a "wallwart" always plugged into an outlet, just to use something. My smartphone has a 4,000mAH battery, my laptop has an "ugly" bulge on the bottom to support the larger battery. It's a tool, not a fashion accessory for me. My phone & laptop are my life, during the workday. It's a free country, you want a stylish fashionable phone/laptop, fine, get one, but I'll stick with the thicker ones that have a larger battery. (and most times are more dependable/rugged than their thinner counterparts).
    • No need of extra thinness, but "an ugly bulge on the bottom", not sure I want that either :-(
    • It's a free country, you want a stylish fashionable phone/laptop, fine, get one, but I'll stick with the thicker ones that have a larger battery. (and most times are more dependable/rugged than their thinner counterparts).

      Your statement is a little at odds with your title. Why do you get pissed at choices? I'll take a bit thicker of a laptop for extra battery life myself, but some people want thin. Some people want tough, some people want thisorthat. Some of us go batshit crazy over the old school headphone jack, and appear to find it the most important part of their computing experience.

      As long as I can find the right laptop for me, it's all good. And if you find one that meets your needs - I'm happy for you. But I'm not

    • "It's a tool, not a fashion accessory"
      Then you, sir, are not /welcome/ to the Apple ecosystem.

    • Don't know about anyone else, but, for my usage, I don't care how thick something is.

      I do. I care deeply how large and heavy my laptop is. Different use cases though. If you're coding all day and need a big reliable work horse then I can imagine your needs are different to mine. Me I care more about being able to take my laptop everywhere for a brief opening working and packing away again. I have no need for 10h battery life and the thinner and lighter the better.

      However what manufacturers really need to realise is there are still pro use cases out there. No one bats an eye when the Apple A

  • ...HP announced a new laptop that is 5.56 meters tall, with a battery life of a whole year! As a side benefit, the new laptop is the narrowest ever built, since its width has been shrank to zero.
  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @11:32AM (#53604035) Homepage

    OK more battery life is good. Now, if we are using a 15" screen, what benefit is there to using 4K resolution and use up more of that battery capacity? Can't we find a middle ground between 1368x768 and some overkill and expensive screen resolution?

  • The iPhone 7 and 7 plus are both very slightly thicker than the 6s and 6s plus.
  • I dunno why thin is in. They do it because they can? Show off their "brilliant" technology? To what end? Seems to me it just makes them more prone to self destruction.

  • This summary got me all excited for the idea of a company being brave enough to decide that thickness is not as critical as Apple marketing tries to push, only to reveal that it is a design compromise needed to support a completely useless feature. It's fantastic to support 4k displays on a laptop, but a 4k integrated monitor on anything but a mammoth laptop serves no benefit. All things equal, the only way to visibly see the difference on a 15'' laptop screen is to crank up the brightness and jam your eye
    • I can tell you from experience, switching between a 15" PC laptop with a 4k screen and a 15" MacBook Pro with at 2880x1800 screen, the difference is quite noticeable. 1080p to 4k would be even more so. Of course, not everyone has 20/5 vision, so that could be your problem.
  • GoodDirection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2017 @12:54PM (#53604567) Homepage
    I purchased a Surface 4 a couple months ago with the fastest processor available. I get maybe 1-1/2 hours of use off the battery. Crappy battery life if my only complaint. Other than that, it's fantastic... I would gladly sacrifice some thickness for additional battery life. $2200 for a mobile device that’s not mobile 2 hours is just pointless.
  • You've sacrificed Design in favor of functionality?!

    More proof that HP wants to bring back the era of beige boxes.

  • 2 extra millimeters thick, how will I ever be able to carry such a monstrous device?

    I say "Bravo!" to HP for doing this. Longer battery life means waaaaaay more to me than shaving a couple of millimeters off the thickness.

    And I don't care if it's heavier, it's not like I'd go on marathon hikes while I'd be using it. However much more it weighs, I'm sure my desk or table will be up to the task.

    Hell, increase the weight by a pound, I don't give a shit. If I'm going to hike the Appalachian Trail with a laptop

  • Apple has been criticized for the lack of a 32GB option for the new MacBook Pro. HP should not be immune. Dell does offer a configuration of the XPS 15 (Skylake; the XPS 15 has not yet been refreshed for Kaby Lake) with 32GB, but the XPS 13 (including the Kaby Lake version and the new 2-in-1) tops out at 16GB.

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