HP leaves Apple Beats behind with new X360 hybrids

Hewlett-Packard has closed the door on its partnership with Beats Audio, now owned by Apple, by introducing its first hybrid PCs to feature Bang and Olufsen audio technology.

The Envy X360 and Pavilion X360 are intended to be primarily laptops, but can be used as tablets with screens that rotate 360 degrees. The hybrids can also deliver booming sound.

HP has relied on Beats for years for its PCs and tablets, but that was before Apple acquired it. HP’s new X360 hybrids are the first of many PCs, tablets and accessories that will carry audio from B&O, said Mike Nash, a vice president with HP’s Personal Systems Group.

The hybrids don’t have striking designs or the thinness of Lenovo’s Yoga PC, but they are less expensive and come with the latest Intel Pentium Core M and Core i processors. Another selling point is their ability to fit up to 1TB of hard-drive storage, which is a rarity in hybrids.

As PC makers shrink laptops to tablet-like sizes, lower-capacity SSDs have replaced large-capacity hard drives. Hard drives offer more capacity than SSDs, but they aren’t as power efficient. The spinning disks draw more power, and can reduce battery life by a few hours.

If you’re on a budget and storing lots of movies locally, then the hard drive option will be appealing. SSD storage up to 128GB is available for the Pavilion X360 and up to 256GB for the Envy X360, but the SSD models are more expensive.

The Pavilion X360 comes with either an 11-inch or 13-inch screen. The 11-inch model has up to 8GB of memory and offers battery life of up to 8 hours, according to HP. The 13-inch model has up to 16GB of memory and more than 10 hours of battery life.

An 11-inch Pavilion X360 model with an Intel Pentium N3700 CPU, 1366 x 768-pixel display, 4GB of memory and 500GB HDD is priced at $409.99. With a Core M processor, the price goes up to $499.99. A 13-inch model with an Intel Core i3 based on Broadwell is priced at $529.99.

The Pavilion X360 will start shipping on May 13.

The Envy X360 has a 15.6-inch screen and offers battery life up to 8.5 hours. The hybrid can also accommodate a discrete graphics card. The PC is priced at $679.99 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB system memory and 500GB hard drive.

The Envy X360 will start shipping on June 13.

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