I have review budget laptops and some high end device but this HP Spectre (HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 Laptop) has to be one of the most elegant notebooks I have come across for a while. The Spectre 13 is gorgeous looking device with a black and gold finish and high end specs. The edition I am reviewing costs around £1500 on Amazon.
Let’s start with the design first. The first thing you notice is how thin the Spectre is, 10.4mm to be precise which makes my Surface Pro 4 feel positively chunky! Unlike many other ultra-thin notebooks it doesn’t get thicker at the trying to fool you into thinking they are thinner than they actually are. This really is that thin.
The laptop has real premium feel with its dark aluminium cover, brown bronze colouring and gold hinge. It has soft edges and a lot of subtle design ques that really add to the premium feel, like the bronze edges on the keys which is something really different. As well as being thin it is also light coming in at 2.45 lbs.
The 13 inch screen has a relatively small bezel (see my pictures) not as small as the Dell XPS 15 but still small enough to look good. The IPS screen runs at 1920 x 1080 with a glossy finish which does make it reflective when using outside but it looks really great with clear and bright colours.
The backlit keyboard is great with full sized keys with positive travel, you can definitely tell it’s a premium device from the keyboard. The trackpad is also really good to use, it has a glossy finish and supports multi-touch gestures like two finger scrolling. It also has a satisfying click feedback.
When it comes to connectivity the Spectre leaves behind the old world of HDMI and big USB ports and instead has three USB Type C / Thunderbolt 3 ports plus a headphone jack. The supplied power adaptor uses one of the ports and you could use the other two for connecting to external devices or to a USB C docking station / hub. Thunderbolt 3 means 40Gbps transfer speeds, supports for dual video cards and networking. USB C and Thunderbolt 3 is also USB 3.1 compliant. In the box is a USB C to USB converter for connecting up USB 2/3 devices. I like the move to Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type C, I know it means we will need a few adapters for now but I already have two phones and two laptops running USB C. We are going to see more and more devices like hi-speed/hi-capacity storage and networking that will run with a single Thunderbolt cable.
Inside the Spectre 13 is an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD drive. This means the Spectre feels really fast, the SSD drive makes everything in Windows fast. Switching from app to app is instant, Microsoft Edge is fast and you can multiple tabs open and it doesn’t slow down at all. There will be no problems running Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop or using it for video editing on it. The device will handle anything you can throw it. I haven’t tried any games on it yet other than Minecraft which works perfectly, I am sure you could play games on it at 720p without any problem.
The speakers are Bang & Olufsen tuned and for a device this thin and light produces an excellent sound. While this isn’t a huge amount of bass but the sound is not tinny in any way.
HP say you can get 9 hours of battery life from the Spectre, I found it was more like 6 hours which is about the same as many devices in this class.
I have to say this is one of the best Ultrabooks I have reviewed, it’s not a two in one and doesn’t have touch screen it is just an excellent and stylish laptop. The lack of old style connects may post some people off that is a compromise you get for the 10.1mm thickness and a future looking device. This is a really, really good notebook.