HP says innovations like ‘you-won’t-believe-your-eyes displays’ to luxe materials and colours will dominate its 2019 range. It seems 2019 is all about premium – and we can’t argue with that.

HP says five innovations are part of its core values for 2019 – I can’t wait to see CES 2020 announcements.

Improved displays and laptop security features

Smaller workspaces, flexible work areas, coffee shops, on planes – you get the idea. It’s really easy to shoulder-snoop and trust me – if Karl Stefanovic was pinged by an Uber driver recording his frank admissions imagine what your company secrets are worth.

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HP’s Alex Thatcher says, “Great flexibility leads to a greater risk of security.”

 At CES, HP shows Sure View 3.0, an innovative feature that helps maintain privacy and security for mobile workers on three devices: the 5th-generation HP EliteOne 800 All-in-One and HP EliteBook x360 830, and the HP EliteDisplay E243p.

As one has used Sure View 2.0, I am very much aware of the need for security.

Thinner, lighter and more punch colour displays

It seems we have put up with average monitors and laptop displays for too long. With a typical monitor coming in at around 200-300 nits and a laptop at 300-400 nits it drives you nuts under typical office lighting of 500 lumens.

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HP research has found that 97% of high-end laptop buyers think that a high-resolution display is its most appealing feature. GadgetGuy could have told them that for nothing – nearly all our screens and laptops went to 4K or Retina during 2018 – we are happy little Vegemite’s.

HP shows the world’s first quantum dot on glass with a three-sided micro-edge display for more screen and less distractions when viewing. At just 6.5 mm thick and with a screen size of 27 inches, the HP Pavilion 27 offers up movie-quality video.

The HP Spectre 15 x360 also gets a screen refresh, making it the world’s first 15-inch laptop with AMOLED display for better visibility in bright light, for working outside, a wide viewing angle and blue-light filters to prevent eye-strain while maintaining vivid colours.

Every Windows 10 PC/Laptop buyer expects premium features

Buyers want to use the full range of Windows 10 features and need a device that can handle that – from Windows Hello to Window Ink and all the new security features.

Workers want a full size, good throw keyboards, anti-glare and ambient light sensors for watching videos in tent mode and a precision stylus with an etched glass screen, so it better mimics note-taking by hand.

HPs new EliteBook x360 830 epitomises everything a premium buyer could want. It features the Sure View 3.0 privacy screen, a video camera behind the glass screen (with a shutter that toggles open and closes for even more security.), a magnetic stylus pen is magnetic that alerts you if you leave it behind – and much more. Expect to see these high-end features filter down to Spectre, Envy, Pavilion and more in 2019.

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Luxe materials, style and desirability

The HP Spectre Folio is the world’s first-ever leather laptop, a convertible notebook made from full-grain, hand-stitched leather

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HP revealed a warm new colour, Bordeaux Burgundy, which now comes with an optional 4K display. With a design that touts handcrafted touches, the 13-inch Spectre Folio doesn’t skimp on the tech specs and boasts up to 18 hours of battery life, plus transitions between four modes: upright as a classic notebook; propped up on itself as a media player; folded flat as a tablet; or folded closed as a stylish, leather-bound folio. A discreet stylus transforms it into a notepad for those who want to sketch, while integrated Bang & Olufsen speakers provide pitch-perfect acoustics.

“Innovation for us in personal systems is really focusing on design,” says HP’s Nash. “We want to make sure that people have products that not only help them do what they want but also are great way to express their personal style.”

Expect to see more use of custom materials in HPs 2019 line-up.

Finally, gaming becomes mainstream in the living room

Die-hard gamers know that playing isn’t just a visual experience — it’s an immersive one. HP refreshed some of its products in the OMEN gaming line-up with the world’s first 65-inch gaming display with NVIDIA G-Sync HDR and a custom three-way soundbar.

It can be used on a desktop or wall mount and takes the sensory experience of gaming to new heights with 4K HDR and up to a 144 Hz refresh rate. The soundbar, which features 3-way stereo crossover system, negates the need for a separate subwoofer in an in-home entertainment setup.

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GadgetGuy’s take: Premium is in – champagne on a lemonade budget – not!

As I wrote this article I could not help but recall the quote from TCL regarding sales of premium TVs, “99% of TVs it sold were under US$2,000 – leaving a scant 1% in the premium category over $2,000. We suggest that TCL was convenient with its stats – most TVs sold are under A$1000!”

So I went to my spies at JB Hi-Fi and asked a similar question, “What price bracket are the bulk of notebook/laptop sales?”

JB currently list 144 Windows 10 laptops – including 53 of two-in-ones – the most popular 360° hinge format. These range in price from $279 for an 11.3” Dell Inspiron 3000 (normally $399) to $4848 for Microsoft’s fully-specified 15” Surface Book 2.

There are 43 notebooks under $1,000. Without hesitation, the spies said that most sales (estimate 75%) are in the $699-999 price bracket. This bracket includes some really good brands/models Intel Core i5/i7 and touchscreens – ASUS Vivobook, Acer Aspire/Spin/Switch, Dell Inspiron 3000/5000, HP Pavilion x360, Lenovo Ideapad/Yoga… Well, you get my drift.

The most popular notebook over Xmas was HP’s x360 Pavilion at $628 (normally $898). OK, it has a 7th gen Core i3, 8/128GB and a 14” 1366×768 WLED display but it is a touchscreen and well made. The second most popular was an Acer Switch touchscreen with a Pentium processor at $489 (normally $699) – perfect for school kids. These are all price-driven sales.

The next category was $1000-2000 where there were 46. Let’s just say that Acer, Lenovo, Dell, HP and Microsoft all have excellent products there. At the top end is the Microsoft Surface Laptop, Dell XPS, Lenovo Inspiron 7000 and HP Envy. I would be happy with any of these.

Over $2,000 are 54, and these are typically higher specified with 8-16GB RAM, 256-512GB SSD, 13.3-15.6” touch screens and some 4K screens as well.

My spies say that Joe and Jan Average want a sub $1000. Business and professional use start at $1-2,000, and it’s a pretty hard sell at over $2,000. At that level customers already know what they want, e.g. 4K screen, 16GB RAM, 512GB-1TB storage.

I am not arguing with HP’s assertion – yes its good to see premium features flowing down to lower categories. But pretty well all the items referred to above are in the late $3,000-5,000 category. The main flow-on to lower categories is driven by Moore’s Law about things getting faster for the same money!