A new product from Hewlett Packard, The Sprout by HP is a truly hands-on experience. A fully functioning PC, the Sprout also has tools designed to change the way you create. With a built in scanner, 3D camera, touch pad, touch-screen and stylus, you can translate ideas to expression quickly and easily.
The HP Sprout, which retails for $1899.99, is in itself a powerful, good looking PC with a Windows 8.1 operating system. It has a 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7-4790S Processor, a stunning 23″ diagonal touch-enabled LED-backlit LCD display, 8 GB of memory (upgradeable to 16 GB), a 3-in-1 memory card reader, an integrated RealSense™ 3D Camera, 14.6 MP high resolution camera, HP DLP Projector and LED desk lamp and all the ports (2 USB 3.0; 2 USB 2.0; 1 HDMI; 1 line out; 1 headphone/microphone combo) necessary to connect just about anything.
The 3 camera system (high resolution 14.6 mega pixel camera, Intel® Real Sense 3D camera and RGB camera) plus an LED Desklamp and 1024 x 767 DLP projector are all nicely integrated into the top piece that is attached to the computer:
The 20pt capactive touch mat magnetically attaches to the base of the computer and can be turned on and off with the touch of a switch:
But more than a host of technical features, you actually get your hands dirty using the Sprout. By that I mean you can leave the track pad, mouse and keyboard behind (although it comes with a wireless keyboard, mouse and stylus) and actually use your digits to create – blending the physical and the digital worlds.
The hardware is aesthetically pleasing, with a good looking sleek design. I easily set my own up, which was given to me by HP in exchange for a review of my own unaltered opinion.
Then I connected it to my iCloud (by uploading the Apple iCloud to Microsoft) and using HP Connected apps so I can print wirelessly from it and more. I can import images from sites such as Facebook and from my accounts via the cloud, my mobile phone and other devices. As a lifelong Mac user, I was afraid there would be a steep learning curve. But it was easy to understand and is loaded with helpful tutorials and easy to access tips if you get stuck. It also comes with some fun apps and others are available through the online HP Marketplace.
Software that comes with the HP Sprout includes McAfee LiveSafe™, CyberLink PowerDirector; Evernote; Netflix; Skype; Adobe Reader; Bing Translator; Fresh Paint; Microsoft Project Spark; Piano Time and The Weather Channel:
Should you get stuck, questions are easily answered by pressing on the question mark in the lower right hand corner of the touch pad and help is displayed:
Despite being a Mac-loyal Art Director with over 25 years in the business, I found the HP Sprout transforming in that it moved aside the ‘designer’ in me and liberated the ‘artist.’ It’s not a serious photo editing tool. Although it’s easy to import or scan images, change scale, rotate, layer and remove/change backgrounds – it doesn’t have the ability to tweak photos. You can’t sharpen, blur, alter color or add effects- at least not yet. And although you can add text in various sizes and colors, I wouldn’t use it for brochure designs or ad layouts because it is presently limited to seven unattractive fonts and detailed capabilities such as kerning are not available.
Removing and changing backgrounds is done easily on the touch pad and reflected upon the screen as before and after images:
Unfortunately, there are only seven fonts to choose from:
But that’s also what is so freeing about it. It’s more like ‘fine art’ and not layout. I found it made me want to “create” not to “design.” To stop worrying about coloring within the lines and bring out my inner artist. In addition to easily being able to add clip art or images from the web (as well as your own scanned in items), with the stylus, one can draw freehand in many colors and line widths. It’s great for making things when you are your own client. Things that demand you abandon typical rules such as fine art, collages, personal cards, self-made books, drawings and the like.
To sum it up, I found I relied less on data and more on imagination. And that’s a good thing.
This post is sponsored by HP The opinions are my own.
A huge thank you to Hewlett Packard for giving me the Sprout by HP and reminding me about creative expression.