This is the HP Envy 17, a laptop that will make you feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report: it allows you to completely control your computer by waving your hands in the air using magicks (in the form of a little black band at the bottom of the keyboard.)
Ever since the initial teasers for the Leap Motion controller, there have been plenty of manufacturers getting ready to build it right into their laptops. Well that day has finally arrived. It's just too bad the first is kinda big.
HP is the first to have the honor, building the controller into its $1050 Envy 17 in the form of a little black strip to the right side of the touchpad. The Leap Motion controller is already damn small, but to pack it into a laptop form-factor (even a biggish one) they slimmed it down to roughly half the size. The end result? It just looks like a loooong fingerprint reader.
17-inchers aren't exactly the cream of the laptop crop, but the controller will be coming built-in to other models as well in the future. Just don't expect it in your sleek, skinny ultrabooks because, well, duh. Even the smallest motion sensor is a little bit bulkier than you'd like it to be.
Having a motion controller built-in to laptops is definitely promising though. First of all, it means that Leap Motion tech can get in the hands of more people who might find super cool shit to do with it. But just as important, it makes using Leap Motion with a laptop actually feasible. Like we noted in our review, using Leap and a laptop is tough because the best place for the controller is right in the middle of your gat-dang keyboard. But when it's built-in, it's virtually optimal placement. What's more is that you can disable it with a quick press of space+function if you're not keen on your hand motions being picked up as input.
So is a Leap Motion controller enough to steer you toward a 17-inch laptop instead of something sleeker? Probably not, unless you're in the market for a big'un already. But the prospect of built-in motion control is promising for the future of the tech. We're just hoping the next laptops that sport this functionality are slightly more portable.