Many options come to our mind when we talk about thin ultrabooks, such as Apple MacBook 12-inch, Lenovo Yoga 900, Dell XPS 13 etc. But when it comes to the thinnest ultrabook in the World, the HP Spectre wins the battle of out of all the odds. With only 0.41-inches (10.4 mm) of thickness, the HP Spectre not only offers you a sleek design, but also gives you a powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 CPU. The HP Spectre comes with a starting price of US $1,170.
However, with beautiful design and powerful performance, the HP Spectre do have some weak points such as weak battery life and heating problems. Here is our review on what they say, “The world’s Thinnest Laptop”.
The HP Spectre’s 0.41-inch thickness grabs a lot of attention and even with such slim chassis, the laptop gives a strong and sturdy look. The combo of copper and ash-black go together and HP’s new, minimalist logo is sleek and subtle while still exuding a sense of class.
Coming to the hinge of the laptop, which is criticized for attracting finger print smudge, but that hardly matters as the Spectre’s hinges had to be specially engineered to support a system this thin. The hinge is said to be inspired by the hinges that we get on a piano. It surely looks strange at first, but these hinges provides a great stability to this laptop.
Because of its thin design, the HP Spectre uses only USB Type-C ports, which are located on the back of the system. HP provides three USB-C ports — one USB 3.1 and two Thunderbolt 3 ports unlike the single connection that you get on Apple’s 12-inch MacBook. All three ports can be used for charging, data transfer and video out.
If you’re looking for extras such as an SD card reader or an HDMI port, you’re out of luck, because aside from the three USB-C connectors, the only other port is a 3.5 mm headphone/mic jack. The Spectre also features an HD webcam flanked on each side by a mic, which results in crisp audio for video calls and voice chat. But the 1280 x 720 images the cam captures aren’t quite as sharp even in the good light conditions.
Measuring 12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches and weighing 2.45 pounds, the Spectre is slimmer and lighter than the famous 2-in-1 the Lenovo Yoga 900 (12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches and 2.8 pounds) and the Dell XPS 13 (11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33-0.6-inches and 2.7 pounds). The Apple’s MacBook 12-inch is almost as thin as the Spectre and is even lighter, measuring 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14-0.52 inches and 2.03 pounds. This difference is due to the MacBook’s smaller, 12-inch screen.
Keyboard and Touch-Pad
Unlike many other thin ultrabooks, the Spectre doesn’t compromise on the typing comfort. Unlike the Apple’s MacBook-12 inch, the Spectre’s keyboard is one of the best keyboard that gives you a wonderful platform for typing. With a travel distance of 1.3 mm (a bit short though), the keyboard is strong enough and requires 65-gram actuation weight for typing.
At 3.75 x 2.15-inches, the smooth, one-piece, glass touch-pad of HP Spectre has a plenty of room and a feels great when clicking. The only problem is that currently there’s a small quirk with input recognition. If you use multiple fingers to mouse and click, the cursor can be pretty jumpy. HP is aware of the problem and is working on a driver fix.
The HP Spectre features a 13-inch full HD screen which is quite bright and beautiful. As per the Laptop Mag, the Spectre is able to produce 359 nits of maximum brightness. When compared to other ultrabooks, this brightness turns out to be better than Apple MacBook’s 12-inch, 2304 x 1440 screen at 324 nits, followed by the XPS 13’s non-touch, 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen at 318 nits and the Yoga 900’s 13.3-inch, 3200 x 1800 screen at 284 nits.
With 100 percent of sRGB color spectrum, the Spectre falls behind the MacBook’s 107 percent, although you won’t be missing colors when looking at images on the web like you would on the non-touch XPS 13 (92 percent) or the Yoga 900 (93 percent).
With a Delta-E of 1.23, the Spectre showed off some impressive color accuracy, too (numbers closer to zero are better). The Apple MacBook was only a tiny bit better, with a Delta-E of 1, while the Lenovo and Dell were behind, at 2.8 and 8.2.
Graphics and Audio
The HP Spectre comes with Intel HD 520 Graphics. As per the Laptop Mag, the Spectre scored 801 on 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test. While the Spectre is not meant for serious gaming, it gives you freedom to do some light video editing and you can also play less demanding games on it.
Despite having ridiculously sleek design, the HP Spectre doesn’t compromise with the sound quality of the laptop. the Spectre’s Bang & Olufsen speakers did a surprisingly decent job while playing any song on it. The quality of sound and the amount of volume is enough to fill a conference with its crisp and rich sound quality.
The HP Spectre’s top end model is powered by Intel Core-i7 processor clocked at 25 GHz. The laptop comes with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage. The powerful i7 processor makes multitasking quite fast and snappy even with more than 15 browser tabs open in the background along with streaming full HD videos.
As per the Laptop Mag, the HP Spectre scored 7,026 on Geekbench 3. This result is far better from all of its competitors, including systems such as the Core i7-powered Lenovo Yoga 900 (6,264), the Core i5-powered Dell XPS 13 (6,391), and the Core m3-powered Apple MacBook (5,906).
On the spreadsheet test, the Spectre sorted 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice in just 3 minutes and 56 seconds, faster than both the Yoga 900 (4:18) and XPS 13 (4:38). However, the Apple MacBook was even faster, with a time of 3:11.
The SSD storage on HP Spectre is not as good as we expected. The Spectre’s 256 GB SSD gives you a transfer rate of 195.9 Mbps. Both the Apple MacBook (355.9 Mbps) and XPS 13 (231.33 Mbps) were faster. Credit goes to their PCIe-NVMe SSDs, while Lenovo’s Yoga 900 trailed slightly behind, with a speed of 181.7 Mbps.
Another disappointing factor of the HP Spectre is the heating problem. If you do more than simple web surfing and light productivity, the bottom of the laptop gets uncomfortably warm. As per the Laptop Mag‘s heat test, After the machine streamed HD video for 15 minutes, the bottom vent measured 110 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well above the comfort threshold of 95 degrees. And depending on how hot things get, the fan can get pretty loud which is a bit annoying.
Even with the HP’s innovative engineering that made the battery of the Spectre split into four separate sections, the battery backup of the Spectre is quite disappointing. As per the Laptop Mag‘s battery test (which involves continuous surfing over Wi-fi), the Spectre lasted 6 hours and 13 minutes. This backup is far behind the non-touch Dell XPS 13 (11:54), 12-inch Apple MacBook (9:38) and even Lenovo’s Yoga 900 (7:57).
The Spectre starts at $1,170 (approx INR 75,000) for a configuration with a 13.3-inch non-touch display, Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. There’s also our $1,250 (approx INR 84,000)review configuration featuring a Core i7 CPU, 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, and a $1,500 (approx 1,00,000) model with an even larger 512 GB SSD.
The HP Spectre gives you a world class looks, brilliant built and design, top end performance and a superior sound quality. However, being The World’s Slimmest Laptop doesn’t makes the Spectre perfect on every aspect specially that heating problem and lesser battery life when compared to other ultrabooks at the same price range. Thankfully, the Spectre is pretty reasonably priced, starting at just $1,170 that makes it a strong choice for those who are looking for stylish ultra-portable laptops with latest and powerful technology inside.