HP Spectre

By on May 26, 2016 in Technology

A laptop doesn’t have to be bulky to be powerful. It doesn’t have to be ugly for that mattehp-spectre-x2-gallery-inside4r, either. Slowly more attention is invested in the appearance of the devices in our life. Apple’s inclination towards attractive designs has proved to be a win and an example to follow. So things are changing.

HP prepared a stunning surprise launching its latest ultra-portable laptop, Spectre. It has an aluminum, carbon fiber and copper body that’s only 0.41 inches thin with a 13.3-inch, edge-to-edge display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and Bang & Olufsen audio with lace-like speakers. The laptop comes in a smoky gray color with gold accents—the entire hinge is a bright, jeweled gold which was moved in from the rear edge, inset by a bit.

HP packed a beautiful surprise under the hood: instead of powering Spectre with Intel’s lower-power Core M line of processors—like the 12-inch MacBook and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S did—they’ve used the current-generation mainstream Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs combined with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This amount of power needs cooling—the fans are much smaller (and quite silent) and pull the air in and through the laptop, rather than exclusively pushing hot air out. It’s a version of a cooling scheme from Intel which they call hyperbaric cooling.

To better power the laptop, HP found inspiration in Apple and used a set of four differently sized internal battery packs flattened down into multiple separate thin cells, to fit across most of the bottom footprint. The company claims the battery life goes up to 9 hours and 45 minutes.

The HP used a standard island-style keyboard that’s backlit. They feel a bit shallow with a shorter key travel due to the base’s thin profile. They’d be easier to get used to if you’re coming from another ultra-portable like Apple MacBook Air or Lenovo Yoga.

There is only one display option—1,920 x 1,080 full HD non-touch screen, which was selected out of the desire to keep the lid as thin as possible. For protection, they’ve included a Gorilla Glass top layer over the display. Some comment that even though it’s a legitimate calculation, selling an ultra-premium laptop without touch is if not impossible (look at Apple), at least really tough.

Ports-wise, the new Spectre exclusively uses USB-C and the reasoning behind it is easy to grasp: their compact jacks keep the laptop thin. Hence, the laptop can be charged from any of the three ports. Moreover, multiple DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA displays can be connected via optional HP and third-party adapters. Two of the three USB-C ports have also Thunderbolt 3 support for speedy transfers to compatible docking stations and SSDs. The only other physical connector is the system’s headset jack, everything else is wireless.

HP Spectre will also be launched in two special editions designed by celebrated product designer Tord Boontje (featuring a midnight-blue colored nightscape with floral crystal patterns and intricate gold details) and jewelry designer Jess Hannah (featuring all over 18k gold, pavé set diamonds and custom script keyboard that will be auctioned off for the Nelson Mandela foundation). It’s the kind that almost oozes champagne from its hinge pistons. It’s good to mention that Spectre was unveiled not at tech shows like CES or IFA, but at the New York Times International Luxury Conference, in Versailles.

One of the other changes the company is making is to its logo. Last year’s Spectre x360 had the full “Hewlett-Packard” written out, the new 13.3-inch model has just four minimalist slashes making up the “HP” wordmark. HP says it will be using the minimalist logo solely on its premium laptops.

The HP Spectre will start at $1,169 base price and available for pre-order starting April 25. An exclusive configuration for Best Buy will start at $1,249 and will be in stores on May 29.