updated 12:25 am EDT, Mon May 9, 2011
HP Elite L2201x LCd and DataPass prepaid 3G
HP finished off its introductions Monday with a new, atypically luxury LCD and an alternative approach to 3G data on a notebook in the US. The 21.5-inch Elite L2201x breaks from most design and moves the power supply outside to slim the screen down to 0.4 inches thick and save space on the desk with an easel-like shape. Its metal finish makes it a fit for the new EliteBooks and Macs, and its only video input is DisplayPort.
The LCD panel is a moderately accurate MVA that provides a balance between quality and price. HP quotes a 5,000:1 contrast ratio and 250 nits of brightness on the 1080p display. As a consequence of the screen choice, HP has kept the price down to $249 on the L2201x, which ships June 1.
Also new is an attempt to spur usually slow adoption of cellular Internet access on notebooks. DataPass provides Sprint 3G data for rates depending not just on the bandwidth but the time. A short-hop traveler can pay just $5 for 75MB of data over five hours. Paying $10 doubles the bandwidth to 150MB and makes it last for three days, while $20 affords 450MB for two weeks. A $30 outlay gives a more industry-like 1GB for a full month.
So far, the new service is limited to HP notebooks using Qualcomm's Gobi un2400 universal modem. HP hasn't said if DataPass will reach other models, but it's not expected to allow DataPass for rival computer builders.