Hewlett-Packard has begun selling an updated ultraportable laptop with a robust configuration for $664, far below Apple's competing model, the MacBook Air.
The redesigned Pavilion dm1z is now available on HP's Web site starting at $399.
But the sweet spot for the 3.5-pound, 11.6-inch laptop is probably the configuration that's just over the $660 mark. For that you get Advanced Micro Devices' newest dual-core E-450 processor (1.65GHz) with a Radeon HD 6320M graphics chip built in, a 128GB solid-state drive, 4GB of memory, Webcam, and 6-cell battery.
Getting a 128GB solid-state drive in this price range is unusual. That capacity of SSD is almost invariably seen in laptops over $1,000.
Granted, the dm1z is not an aluminum-clad MacBook Air, does not have the Air's Sandy Bridge processor, and is more than a pound heavier. But it's hard to nitpick when it's priced more than $500 lower than an Air with a similar configuration.
And some of the design tweaks are significant. For example, the battery is now flush with the chassis and it has physical mouse buttons at the base of the touchpad. (HP has posted a video detailing the redesign.)
Like most ultraportables, it does not have an optical drive. Battery life should be excellent if it's anything like the previous model, which ran for 5 hours and 19 minutes on a video playback battery drain test.
The price with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit comes to $663.99, which includes a $100 instant rebate on HP's consumer PC Web page.