HP Unveils Cheaper Laptops for Students

It may seem like HP is jumping the gun here. After all, June is a little early for parents to take their kids laptop-shopping for the upcoming school year. But since Hewlett-Packard is focusing on value, value, value with its new series of portables for college and high school kids, now’s a good time to hammer that message home. (Before the bank takes the home -- yuk yuk.)

HP’s new notes are lower-cost versions of existing HP portables. In addition, HP also introduced four new “green” printers, some of which use less energy and are made with more recycled plastic than earlier models.

The Pavilion dv2z starts at $599 and is a bargain version of HP’s Pavilion dv2, a mini-laptop that starts at $749. The slimmest and lightest of the new HP notes, the dv2z is less than an inch thick, weighs 3.81 pounds (or more, depending on configuration), and has a 12.1-inch LED widescreen display. Options include Blu-ray support, discreet graphics, an AMD dual-core processor, and a 500GB hard drive.

The Pavilion dv3t is a bit thicker (1.25 inches) and heavier (about 5 pounds) than the dv2z, but still light and small enough for the average backpack. Starting at $649, it’s the Pavilion dv3’s affordable cousin and offers a few more features than the dv2z, including an integrated optical drive. Discreet graphics are still optional, though.

There are two new Pavilion dv6t portables, including the standard model (starting at $649) with a 16-inch LED widescreen display and a separate numeric keypad for number-crunching. The dv6t Artist Edition 2 (starting at $949) features the winning design (see photo) from the 2008 HP MTV Notebook Design Contest, which was “inspired by the sea and sky in Okinawa, Japan,” HP says. Try staring at the design for a few minutes. What do you see?

The Artist Edition comes with a fairly impressive bundle of entertainment and art-oriented apps, including Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, Video Studio X2, and Painter Sketchpad. The Pavilion dv2z and dv6t Artist Edition 2 and will be available June 10 at HPDirect.com. HP didn’t announce availability dates for the Pavilion dv3t and dv6t.

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