Story image

Hands-on review: HP Spectre - the world's thinnest notebook

20 Jul 16

If you’re beginning to wonder about a recurring theme in my recent reviews, let me start off by reassuring you that I’m a free-lance writer with no personal axe to grind, save my almost fanatical devotion to a brand named after a fruit guaranteed to keep the doctor away.  Maybe that’s why the editor keeps me away from that brand.  Mind you, the lovely folks at HP seem to be determined to turn me to the Windows side, and with the Spectre, they may be edging ever closer to success.

This Spectre comes with a 13.3” monitor, 256GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and an Intel i5-6200U CPU @2.30GHz, up to 2.40GHz. It’s a sleek and sexy little model, almost paper-thin and weighing in at…er… (pause to find my Weight Watcher scales) 1102 grams! Crikey! My model was enclosed in a matte black with a golden trim along the hinge area. That’s also where the three USB C ports are located. HP had predicted my hackles rising because they included an adapter, so I could still connect all my USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices.

I was interested how this monitor would compare with the Elitebook Folio. While the Spectre came with a 13.3-inch screen (compared to the Folio’s 12 inches,) I’ll admit that I had problems reading the text on the Spectre when browsing the Web. Watching video caused no problems, but the size of text did cause me to squint.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to try office software on this machine, but the keyboard and trackpad felt responsive and pretty easy for my fumble-fingers.  To me the trackpad was a cut above the Folio, but the Spectre doesn’t share the Folio’s tablet-like touch screen.

The Spectre is a notebook squarely aimed at the business user.  It will fit easily into your briefcase, protected by its super-slim slip. At one stage I mislaid the Spectre under a couple of sheets of paper on my coffee table. I shouldn’t be surprised, as with this model, HP have created the lowest profile yet of any laptop.  Just between you and me, when I surreptitiously glanced at a foreign reviewer’s article, I read that HP chose to reveal this model not at an IT show, but at a fashion show.  “Aha!” I thought to myself. “They are trying to seduce me!” So, yes, it’s aimed at the business user with a sense of fashion and style. That explained the sexy stylised logo.

While the Spectre’s screen resolution is not as sharp as the Folio, it’s not noticeably inferior.  You may need to tweak the screen resolution a little if you’re as myopically challenged as my almost but not quite sexagenarian eyes are.  Packing the features into such a small space, you may notice that the sound isn’t quite as loud, and the picture not quite as sharp as other bigger, heavier and bulkier models.

If you are continually on the go, rushing from one meeting to another, this Spectre won’t weigh you down.  Coupled with HP’s lightweight dock, you will have the power to use your Spectre as a lightweight presentation tool. The combination of the Solid State Drive and i5 processor means that it delivers whatever you need quickly. Lightweight it may be, but with a lot of substance.

HPE promotes 'circular economy' for end-of-use tech
HPE is planning to show businesses worldwide that throwing old tech and assets into landfill is not the best option when it comes to end-of-use disposal.
This could be the future of ridesharing
When you hear the words ‘driverless vehicle technology’, the company Bosch may not immediately spring to mind.
2019 threat landscape predictions - Proofpoint
Proofpoint researchers have looked ahead at the trends and events likely to shape the threat landscape in the year to come.
InternetNZ welcomes Govt's 99.8% broadband coverage plan
The additional coverage will roll out over the next four years as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two/Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme expansion.
Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Dr Ryan Ko steps down as head of Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato
Dr Ko is off to Australia to become the University of Queensland’s UQ Cyber Security chair and director.
Businesses in APAC are ahead of the global digital transformation game
“And it’s more about people and culture - about change management - along with investing in the technology.”
HubSpot announces fund for 'customer first' startups
HubSpot is pouring US$30 million (NZ$40 million) into a new fund to support startups that demonstrate ‘customer first’ approach of not only growing bigger, but growing better.