Exclusive Hands-On with Voodoo's Firefly Concept Gaming Laptop
Lots of neat and ground-breaking laptops will be on display this coming week at CES, and Voodoo may just lead the pack. The world has never seen the HP branded Voodoo Firefly prototype, dubbed the “HP Firefly with Voodoo DNA,” a laptop that features a uniquely positioned multi-touch touchpad, dual displays, and enough gaming muscle to tear through Far Cry 2 without a flinch. But here at LAPTOP we had a chance to play around with the behemoth of a notebook before it goes before the public eye in Las Vegas. It’s one of the most innovative gaming notebooks we’ve ever fragged on. Voodoo provided us with an exclusive look at what is only a concept notebook. However, that doesn't mean some of this machine's innovations won't wind up in other HP or Voodoo PCs. Design Calling this titan a Firefly is like naming a rabid pitbull “Cupcake.” After all, HP tells us it weighs 13 pounds including a massive pound power brick, and looks a lot like the laptop version of HP’s Blackbird desktop system with Voodoo DNA. With a 17-inch screen, it isn't as large as the 20.1-inch HP HDX, but its not a system you would want to carry on your back (nor do we think you could even find a bag for it!) The Firefly’s keyboard features customizable backlighting, much like the keyboards on the Area-51 m15x and m17x from Alienware. It also has HP’s QuickPlay controls for playing, skipping, and pausing music or video. There are toggle switches for wireless and audio mute, as well as controls for volume, treble, and bass levels. The entire notebook has the light etching and imprint design found on HP’s dv series notebooks. Multi-touch Invasion Pulling some features from the Voodoo Envy, the Firefly has a multi-touch trackpad. The Firefly's pad is uniquely positioned to the right of the keyboard (sorry lefties) where gamers would normally keep their mouse. With three fingers on the pad, your left finger can be used as a left click, and your right finger as a right one. Hypothetically, this should mean that you could play a first-person-shooter quite well without a mouse. In Far Cry 2, however, we noticed that it was actually pretty hard to accurately aim. Moving around was easy, though, and much more efficient than trying to do so with a regular trackpad.
Double Vision Underneath the large 17.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display is a second 4.3-inch LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, similar to the Fujitsu N7010's which is found above the keyboard. This dwarf display acts as a second monitor at all times, so you can easily drag any window or application right onto it. We loved having the ability to check our Gmail during a frag match, or watch YouTube videos while working on the bigger display. The secondary screen's resolution was a bit too high for us, though. Text looked too small and we found that we were squinting on Web sites while trying to type in new addresses.