Forget touchscreens. You'll be able to use your next notebook by simply waving your hand. The HP Envy 17 is the first laptop to come with Leap Motion’s gesture-based controller embedded directly inside. Shoppers can purchase the Envy 17 with either an Intel Core i7 or Core i5 processor when it launches on Oct. 16, with the cheapest configuration starting at $1,050.
The Leap Motion launched this summer for $79.99 as a peripheral, but the company has partnered with HP to build the sensor directly into the keyboard deck. Leap Motion and HP have shrunk the size of the sensor itself to keep the notebook as thin as possible.
MORE: 10 Best Leap Motion Apps
Unfortunately, the HP Envy 17 isn’t as portable as other devices you’ll find on the market, but the roomy 17-inch 1600 x 900 resolution display is big enough to take advantage of Leap Motion’s visual apps. You can also opt to buy touchscreen or non-touch versions, but the model that we demoed didn’t have a touchscreen.
Hardware aside, the real star of the show is the Leap Motion sensor and Airspace App Store that are built into the device. You can choose to turn the Leap Motion sensor on and off by holding the Fn key and the space bar. Both of these keys are marked with a green line as a reminder. Once you activate the Leap Motion, you’ll notice that a subtle white light will glow next to the sensor along with the three infrared LEDs.
Leap Motion tells us that the Envy 17 will come with five free apps out of the box. The Airspace App store comes with multiple apps that help you navigate the user interface, such as Touchless for Windows. Leap Motion also tells us that you can program these apps to pair gestures with certain commands, such as clapping your hands to close a window. We didn’t get the chance to try these features in our demo, however.
The integrated Leap Motion controller is just as responsive and accurate as its peripheral predecessor. We used the Leap Motion Visualizer app to see exactly how well the sensor picked up our hands on the screen. Like the attachable accessory, the integrated sensor was able to perceive all 10 of our fingers at once. When playing the “Sugar Rush” kart racer based on the film “Wreck It Ralph,” we reached out toward the screen to build our vehicle with ease.
The $1,050 price point is a bit steep when you can purchase the Leap Motion for $79.99, but if you’re into gesture control and are in the market for a powerful desktop replacement laptop, the Envy 17 is worth keeping an eye on. We look forward to bringing you a full review soon.