Following up on 2016’s record-thin first entry, HP’s all-new Spectre 13 notebook has an even smaller footprint and a more polished design than its predecessor. Not only are there new design choices over the original Spectre, HP’s newest entry into the Spectre line also offers vastly improved hardware, including the 8th generation Intel processors with quad-core architecture, a 4K touchscreen panel, a bigger battery and better speakers. Before we get into the details of the review, below are the main specs for the device:
- Eighth-generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor
- Up to 16 GB of RAM
- Up to 1 TB of PCIe SSD storage
- Full HD or 4K touchscreen
- Three USB-C ports
Right off the bat, as striking as the first Spectre was, this new notebook from HP truly is a gorgeous piece of kit, especially in the new ceramic white finish with gold accents model that we got to test out. HP have also added some really nice smaller design choices such as the beveled edges and futuristic looking speaker grill at the top of the keyboard.
As I previously mentioned, the new Spectre has a smaller footprint when compared to its older brother. This was achieved by reducing the bezels flanking the new 4K touchscreen and re-positioning the speakers to the top of the keyboard. With all these design changes, the laptop is now half and inch narrower than its predecessor.
According to HP, the new Spectre 13 is the thinnest 4K touchscreen laptop available today and at just 10.4mm thick when closed and weighing less than 2.5 pounds, it’s a truly spectacular piece of technological engineering. HP went to great lengths to keep the weight of the device down whilst still ensuring rigidity and sturdiness by using durable yet lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium.
Performance and Hardware
The Spectre we got to test out included the new 4K touchscreen display which was absolutely fantastic for viewing videos and images on. Being able to watch Netflix in full 4K on a laptop while lying in bed really is one of life’s little pleasures! The notebook also comes with a backlit keyboard which is surprising giving how thin the device is but it worked perfectly well. Admittedly, we do wish the enlarged trackpad was more responsive and we’re still waiting for the day a manufacturer can match Apple’s offering. With the inclusion of the touchscreen display panel though, this is something some users can bypass altogether.
Intel’s new 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor was running the show under the hood and also had an additional two extra CPU cores which resulted in a fantastically quick and responsive performance. Again, the on-board GPU leaves a little to be desired so you won’t be playing the latest graphics-intensive games on this unfortunately but it still put on a great show nonetheless.
Wired connectivity options include three USB-C ports, two of which have Thunderbolt 3 certification for ultrafast data transfers and, thankfully, the devices is also powered via USB-C and has quickcharge capabilities as well.
Even with its thin screen bezels, HP still managed to fit a HD webcam, infrared sensors and a few other sensors into the section above the screen allowing for video calls and Windows Hello facial recognition.
Another improvement over its predecessor would be the new cooling system in place, something which was needed given how hot the older model used to run. We can confirm this new Spectre model definitely doesn’t get as hot as the last but still manages to built up some heat during more intensive use.
In terms of battery life, during our time with the unit, we managed to get between 7 and even 8 hours of light to medium use with these numbers obviously reducing the more you push the processors and increase the brightness of the screen. These somewhat average numbers are made all the more acceptable given just how thin and light the laptop is and, as I mentioned previously, the fastcharge functionality will lessen the annoyance having to charge the device even more.
There’s no denying that the new HP Spectre 13 is a gorgeous piece of kit. With its extremely well crafted design, impressive internals and acceptable battery life (given its dimensions) HP really are at the top of their game with products such as this. Running the latest version of Windows 10, packing the latest Intel processor and utilising a fantastic 4K touchscreen, the new HP Spectre 13 is worthy of its eye-watering price tag.
the HP Spectre 13 is available from Currys PC World and it starts at €1,799.