Hey, a little late to this conversation, but thought I would throw in my 2 cents about the HQ4 Empulse, since I've got quite a bit of time on them. The Empulse is a pretty quick kite, in terms of turning speed and ground speed. Faster than the Matrixx in both regards. But I would not consider it lifty. Which makes it kind of unique. When the kite originally came out, I thought it was going to be something like a cross between the Matrixx and more race-oriented/ginormous lift Zeekai/Freeracer. But that is not what it is. The more I ride it, the more I feel like it is a performance touring and/or expedition kite that also happens to work well on water. It points upwind really well and allows you to carry quite a bit of speed without generating a lot of sidepull or feeling like you are getting pulled downwind.
I think I saw someone in a German forum describe it as a "boring Soul". I suppose that is fair in some regards, but it is all a matter of what you want to do with it. I think they were referring to twin-tipping on water, where you are not going to get the height that you do on some of the closed-cell foils. But in the mountains, I think it is in a class of its own. It kills in the hills, lol. Precisely because it does offer this weird combination of speed without a ton of lift. It has a very reassuring feel, so you find yourself pushing wind limits. The 7m is flat-out wicked - lightning-fast and turns on a dime, but also depowers really well and does well in gusts. It replaced my 5.5m Apex/ 6m Access type of kite. I'm not sure I've found the top end of that kite yet.
To me, the Empulse seems made for something like VAKE, where a kite that is pretty fast but really forgiving may actually be better than a faster kite that is a bit more temperamental.
The Empulse feels like it has this European vibe to it - like it would be perfect for the guy who wants a kite that he can go foilboarding with in the summer, but then also take into the Alps and make some summit attempts in the winter. I recognize that scene isn't nearly as big here in the US, but it might also lend itself well to the guy who is doing lots of frozen lake touring in the North East where winds can be pretty janky. Certainly not the kite for everyone, but for the right guy, it's probably unlike much else.
I should say, it's not like it doesn't have any lift - it does. It's just less than something like the Matrixx (which by association means less than Speed, Soul, etc), and likes to be going pretty fast before it generates the kind of lift you would normally be used to. So I find myself riding with more speed in general with the kite because it's just really happy and comfortable doing that. Which I guess kind of brings me back full circle to why I think it feels like the perfect kite for laying down some miles in a touring/expedition kind-of-way.
Anyhow, hopefully that clears up a bit of what the kite is and is not...