26 July 2008

Voodoo Envy 133 Laptop vs MacBook Air

It is a well known rule, that every successful product will have its followers. Whether they are direct replicas or strong competitors, they certainly will cause much less impact than the original. Apple knows this for sure, because every now and then their products are replicated and followed by other companies. Let us not mention Chinese HiPhones and other cheap parodies, and try to concentrate on real and interesting competitors offered.

MacBook Air, when released, was a huge success. While it was pricey, it offered a unique experience of owning a world's thinnest laptop with Mac OS X inside. Of course, no other company has a chance to offer Mac OS X in their laptops; however the title of "world's thinnest laptop" will no longer be associated with Air. This title goes now to Voodoo Envy 133, new laptop from the HP. It beats its competitor in thickness, being 0.15 cm thinner that the MacBook Air. However, will it overcome Apple laptop in other domains? Let us see.

This new gadget from Voodoo certainly has its style. It definitely does not even try to copy MacBook Air design, it looks completely unique. While it seems not as slick as Air is, it definitely deserves a plus on this side. Its body is made completely from carbon fiber with custom micro-weave design, and looks very attractive. It comes in two different colors, black and white, with inner part always remaining black. Design is a very subjective thing, but it will be fair to say that Envy 133 has not failed at this point.

Envy's internal hardware does not fall behind MacBook Air either. It is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo SP7500 / SP7700 processor, has 2 GB of DDR2 RAM and 80 GB HDD (which can be replaced by the 64 GB SSD for additional price). Display resolution and size is the same as on MacBook, 1280 x 800, 13.3". Same as Air, it does not have any internal optical drive, so you can use external one that comes together with the laptop. As an answer to the Air's multi-touch touchpad, Envy 133 has large touchpad with multiple finger tracking and gestures support.

In terms of connectivity, Voodoo Envy 133 seems more powerful than MacBook Air. First, apart from wireless capabilities, Envy has Ethernet port, which gives you possibility to connect it to any wired networks available. Second, one of the very interesting features is Envy's integrated wireless personal access point, so you can use laptop as a Wi-Fi Access Point for all Wi-Fi capable devices - all thanks to the Voodoo Aura PowerConnect feature. It also has 2 USB 2.0 slots instead of one on the MacBook Air, so if you have external optical drive connected you will always be able to connect another gadget in remaining USB port without having to buy USB hubs. However, one of the slots is e-SATA, so you will have to use an adapter to connect USB devices there.

On the software side, it could be almost completely similar to other Windows based laptops, but it is not. There is one feature that makes this laptop unique in some sort: Voodoo IOS, Instant On Solution. It gives you the ability to boot up almost instantly in a special mode, where you can browse Internet, chat in IM or talk via Skype - without booting up Windows. It only takes 4 to 5 seconds to be completely usable - very interesting feature for those, who do not want to wait until Windows boots up. Of course, IOS offers only limited amount of programs, so if you want more you can press the button with Windows logo on it to boot directly to Windows Vista.

According to info on the Voodoo page, Envy 133 laptop can work 3 hours on one battery charge. Of course, battery time will depend on how intense you use laptop, so maybe it will be possible to increase this time a little. The biggest difference from Air is that the battery on Envy is replaceable, so you can always buy another one if you feel that one is not enough.

Does this newcomer from Voodoo (or is it best to say, from HP?) will overcome Apple's MacBook Air, but it certainly is a very interesting device. It offers a bunch of new features that are completely unique to this model, and it is definitely thinner that Air. Its price is 2099 USD, which is a bit more that the price for Air, but it seems reasonable for all the features Envy 133 has.

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