It has been a little while since I’ve really been surprised and impressed by a laptop. There are so many similar models these days that getting one that really stands out from the crowd can be a challenge. Enter the newest HP Spectre laptop. This model is very striking and has several compelling features that make it distinct from anything else out there today.
Right away you’ll notice this laptop’s striking design. It is absolutely gorgeous. It has been built with aluminum and carbon fiber for a wonderful combination of strength and weightlessness which helps it come in at a mere 2.45 lbs (1.11 kg) in weight and only 10.4 mm thick. I found it to be very inspiring, full of personality and class. It’s HP’s thinnest notebook computer to date and a wonderful example of bold design. It honestly feels as much like a notebook computer as it does a piece of jewelry. You’ll be happy to show this one off as it definitely stands out from the crowd. The satiny dark ash silver finish is accented by a gorgeous polished copper on the accents. It’s truly refreshing and unique in a world full of silver and black rectangles. All the details are in beautiful concert here and HP deserves to be commended for the attention and care that has gone into the design of this machine.
While talking about design it’s worth spending a little extra time looking at the hinges on the display. The hinges on this model are really unique. They use pistons to lift and lower the display. The technicalities of the hinges aside, they look simply gorgeous and are one of those features that appear as though they’ve been crafted by a jeweler rather than in a computer factory. They’re beautifully polished and provide a clean look reminiscent of luxury furniture. This is just one thing but it really does stand out to me, and exemplifies the care that has gone in to making this notebook computer luxurious and unique.
The keyboard has nice backlighting yet the action on the keys doesn’t feel markedly different from other quality notebook keyboards you may have used. Given how impressed I was with everything else about this machine, that is the one area where I feel some disappointing familiarity. The keyboard is good, just as most other keyboards in high end notebooks, but was nothing special. There is nothing to differentiate it there. That is only noteworthy since in every other respect, this notebook found a way to surprise me with something a little nicer or more special than everything else out there. They employed some sort of force-displacement curve that has been optimized for a better keyboard feel, and the keys were certainly responsive so there are no actual complaints with the keyboard, I’m just surprised that I wasn’t treated to an unexpected delight. The glass trackpad is a nice touch, however giving a great feeling of smoothness under hand.
Under the hood you’ll find the performance of an Intel Core i7-6500U CPU supported by 8GB RAM and backed up with a 256GB Solid State Drive for storage. HP has paid extra attention to cooling with this device to keep that much power cool in a thin form factor. They’ve brought hyperbaric cooling technology from Intel to actively draw cool air in rather than merely attempting to vent heat out. That’s how they’re able to give you such a high performance CPU in such a slight form factor. For wireless performance they haven’t skimped there either. Onboard you’ll find 802.11AC 2×2 Wi-Fi for awesome connectivity, and up to nine hours of battery life from four polymer battery cells.
Sights and Sounds
The 13″ screen is finished with edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass for maximum durability and scratch resistance. The display provides a full HD IPS screen delivering 1920 x 1080 pixels. Some might prefer 4K but I find that to be overkill on a 13″ screen and was more than happy with the picture on this machine. As for the sounds, HP has integrated Bang & Olufsen Audio stereo speakers with custom-tuned calibration. While you won’t confuse it with your home theatre any time soon, it sounds great for a laptop, particularly one so thin and light.
One thing which may surprise you is that this notebook shockingly lacks ports along the sides. That might seem like an omission but I find that I don’t really use these ports much anymore as so many things connect wirelessly today and that is only increasing. Along the back you’ll find three USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. That is all you get. But wait, these aren’t just any USB ports. These are USB-C! With three USB-C ports, you’ll find that you’re ready for all sorts of connectivity challenges. USB-C is the future of USB (check out Gadjo’s feature for everything you need to know about the new standard) and provides much more powerful connectivity. The machine even uses one of these ports for power. This notebook is ready for the future. But don’t worry if you still have some roots in the past. The unit comes with a USB Type-C to HDMI dongle and a USB-C to USB-A dongle so you can still work with all your old USB devices and displays should the need arise. I suspect you won’t need those dongles much after a year or two though, as all the new gadgets hop aboard the USB-C train.
Overall I was thoroughly impressed with this machine. The HP Spectre laptop would make a fantastic business PC and definitely set you apart from your colleagues when you set it on that board room table. Its refined, elegant, and has the kind of polish that makes it truly something special. If you’re looking for a new machine and want something refreshing, high class, and ready for the future then look no further.