Voodoo Envy 133 Mini-Review: Air Killer?
Whoa. We were wondering what would happen when the performance freaks at Voodoo teamed up with HP, and the first notebook to come out of this acquisition is a surprise. No, it’s not a gaming rig. It’s one of the sleekest and most innovative ultraporables we’ve seen. The Envy 133 (starting at $2,099) rocks an instant-on mode that lets you surf the Web and make Skype calls without booting into Windows (called Voodoo IOS) and a slick power brick that doubles as a wireless access point. Intrigued yet? Voodoo was kind enough to let us steal a pre-production sample for a little hands-on time, and although the Envy 133 was not benchmarkable, we wanted to walk you through everything that makes this dream machine stand out. Stay tuned for a full review. Updated: Don’t miss our unboxing of the Voodoo Envy 133 here and hands-on with the Voodoo IOS, Instant-On OS here. Design It all starts with a druable carbon fiber case that weighs 3.4 pounds and measures a mere 0.7 inches thin, complete with retro-chic squared-off edges. This is the kind of minimalist laptop that Christian Bale would carry if they remade American Psycho for the 21st century–in a good way. Customization options range from your choice of 14 Voodoo Allure paint finishes to a selection of laser engravings. Underneath the lid you’ll find a brilliant 13.3-inch, LED-backlit display whose high-quality fused composite glass runs from edge to edge for a unified aesthetic. Last but not least is a funky backlit keyboard with a space-age font and a multiple-gesture touchpad (for scroll and pinch options) that’s nicely textured.
No Port Envy Here More important than the Envy 133’s stunning looks are the innovations packed in (and on) this 3.4-pound machine. You can also connect anywhere via optional integrated mobile broadband, a feature the Air lacks. Two USB ports (one of which doubles as an eSATA port for external storage), an HDMI port, and a low-light VGA webcam are just a few more reasons why we would happily tote the Envy 133 anywhere.
The New Instant On The Envy 133 launches users into an environment where they can surf the Web and make Skype calls within a mere 10 seconds. Called Voodoo IOS, this environment is powered by Splashtop (see our Splashtop FAQ) and gives you the full Internet without having to run Vista in the background. Not only does this feature save time, it should also save battery life. You can also instant message your buddies (via Pidgin) in AOL, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo, and more, and access photos and music–but not movies on the optical drive. Juice Meets Connectivity The 133’s power brick isn’t really a brick at all. It’s more like a flat slab. Voodoo calls it Aura PowerConnect because it allows users to plug in an Ethernet cable for a point-to-point Wi-Fi connection. Essentially , you can create up to a 50-foot wireless network instantly, which is perfect for working in remote offices or hotel rooms with either spotty wireless connections or no Wi-Fi at all.