Windows PC antagonism moves fast, and sometimes companies accomplish claims that are bound superseded. Such was the case with the aboriginal HP Spectre 13, which was aboriginal advertised as the “world’s thinnest laptop.” Soon after, Acer appear its alike thinner Swift 7, which exhausted it out. Now, in our latest HP Spectre 13 review, we attending at the amend to the Spectre, which has been decidedly redesigned and is now accustomed as “the world’s thinnest touchscreen notebook.”
Our analysis assemblage was able with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a Abounding HD (1,920 x 1,080 or 165 PPI) resolution display, at a retail amount of $1,410 (on auction appropriate now for $1,310). HP additionally offers higher-end configurations and a 4K UHD affectation that adds $150 to the price.
HP’s redesigned Spectre 13 is as attenuate as anytime at aloof 0.41 inches thick, in animosity of its new draft display, and it’s abundantly ablaze at 2.43 pounds. But as you apparently know, HP isn’t absolutely the alone aggregation aggravating to abbreviate bottomward its products. There are affluence of notebooks about that are awash for their tiny size, including the 12-inch Apple MacBook at aloof over bisected an inch blubbery and the newest Dell XPS 13 that tapers from aloof 0.46 inches at the rear to a razer-thin 0.3 inches in front. The Spectre 13 out-thins both of those beyond its abounding ambit — and throws in draft affectation electronics as the icing on top. It’s still not absolutely as attenuate as the Swift 7’s 0.40 inches, but it’s still impressive.
The active Spectre 13 additionally sports a new Ceramic White and Pale Gold blush arrangement that is the yin to the antecedent model’s yang. You can still acquire the Ash Silver and Chrome Luxe version, but our analysis archetypal assertive us that if you’re activity to acquire such a attenuate and admirable notebook, you adeptness as able-bodied baddest the one that stands out. It’s a different blush arrangement that sets it afar from the sea of MacBook and Apparent clones.
To accomplish abiding that admirable white apparent stays pristine, HP utilizes a appropriate scratch-resistant Advanced Electro Deposition (AED) activity on the aluminum lid and keyboard accouter and carbon cilia bottom.
It’s a adorable architecture that looks like a accomplished allotment of jewelry, with a fit and accomplishment to match.
The Spectre 13 has additionally been akin of any balance amplitude and depth, with the display’s bezels bargain to 5.3mm (from 15.03mm) and the top bezel to 9.7mm (down from 16.04mm). That’s still added than the Dell XPS 13’s ancillary and top bezels of 4.0 mm, but it outclasses best added notebooks. The angles acquire been adamant for a cleaner look, and the architecture cut about the lid makes it accessible to open.
All in all, it’s a adorable architecture that looks like a accomplished allotment of jewelry, with a fit and accomplishment to match.
Our alone complaint with the architecture and body is anon accompanying to the Spectre 13’s thinness. While the anatomy feels solid abundant aback the lid is closed, there’s some accord aback acute on the basal and the keyboard and the awning decidedly aeroemism beneath about ablaze pressure. The Asus ZenBook S is additionally baby and thin, and it enjoys a tank-like body with aught coil or bending.
HP Spectre 13 (2017) Compared To
As continued as you’re aloof aperture the lid and not agee it, though, you’ll acknowledge the hinge’s bland activity — which can be acclimated with alone — and how able-bodied it holds the affectation in place. However, the odd design, in which the affectation isn’t as abysmal as the anatomy and folds bottomward to lie alike with a metal band forth the aback of the machine, agency that the affectation doesn’t accessible as advanced as you’ll acquisition on best notebooks.
Overall, the Spectre 13 is a lovely-designed apparatus that’s as abundant a assignment of art as it is a notebook. It’s attenuate and awfully light, admitting at the amount of arduous rigidity.
Next, with the Spectre 13, you can acquire any affectionate of anchorage you want, as continued as it’s USB-C. As with the antecedent model, the new Spectre 13 offers up three USB-C ports to go with the 3.5mm audio jack, and that’s it. Two of them abutment Thundert 3, however, and that’s a absolute plus.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Nevertheless, you’ll be relying on dongles to affix bequest peripherals (although the Best Buy adaptation does appear with a USB-C to USB-A adapter). The MacBook has beneath ports with its distinct USB-C Thundert 3 connection, and the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN offers added bequest ports but skips on the added important Thundert 3. The Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe and the Dell XPS 13, on the added hand, both alike the Spectre 13’s leash of USB-C ports, two with Thundert 3. The added ports the better, but the Spectre 13 is in band with best of the absolute antagonism in this department.
Wireless connectivity includes the added archetypal 2×2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth 4.2 combo. HP has congenital in its Affiliation Optimizer technology that aims to accumulate Wi-Fi access fast by acrimonious the atomic chock-full affiliation available.
Somehow, HP managed to clasp an accomplished keyboard into the Spectre 13’s frame, with an absorbing 1.3mm of key biking — decidedly added than on a laptop like the ZenBook 3 Deluxe or MacBook Pro — that provides for a decidedly acceptable accounting experience. There’s affluence of snap, giving a absolute feel, and we activate ourselves bound ramping up to our accepted accounting speed. The keyboard is analogously backlit, but abnormally abundant there’s alone one rather ablaze ambience that is a bit abundant in darker environments.
The Spectre 13 sports one of the best keyboards you’ll acquisition on such a thin-and-light notebook.
In addition, HP confused the speakers from the abandon to abide beneath the display. This let the aggregation aggrandize the keyboard to accommodate accomplished agreement as able-bodied as to add the above row of home keys forth the right-hand ancillary that you’ll acquisition on some added contempo HP notebooks. All the keys are the appropriate sizes and in the appropriate places, which is a adverse to the XPS 13’s somewhat awkward layout.
All in all, this is one of the best keyboards you’ll acquisition on laptops of the thin-and-light variety. It’s awfully above to the “typing on a block of wood” acquaintance of the contempo MacBook keyboards, and it’s alike bigger than the above ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s keyboard, which we advised actual acceptable for the anatomy factor. Alone the ZenBook S presents a absolute claiming in this chic for a “best keyboard” award.
The touchpad is a little beneath pleasant. To activate with, it’s not a Microsoft Precision Touchpad, but rather utilizes Synaptics drivers. Therefore, its action abutment was a little beneath absolute than we like. The bottle apparent is smooth, though, and it’s been added 15 percent in admeasurement from the antecedent generation, with a appearance that mimics the display’s widescreen aspect ratio. You’ll be happier with the beyond touchpad on the MacBook, as able-bodied as the added accepted Microsoft Precision touchpads you’ll acquisition on added avant-garde Windows notebooks like the XPS 13 and ZenBook S.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
The affectation on the new Spectre 13 additionally supports multitouch, and it’s a nice addition. Alike after pen abutment or the adeptness to circle into book format, accepting a touchscreen makes it easier to advance ons and annal the display, and we’re animated to see HP add the feature.
Our analysis assemblage came able with a 13.3-inch Abounding HD display, which is the baseline for today’s exceptional notebooks. HP additionally offers a 4K UHD advantage that should accomplish for a actual aciculate affectation indeed.
According to our colorimeter, the Spectre 13’s affectation is a little worse than boilerplate compared to agnate exceptional notebooks. Adverse was a bit low at 740:1 at abounding brightness, which was aloof 266 nits, and appropriately it had a adamantine time advantageous ablaze lights. The Dell XPS 13 displayed an 1,130:1 adverse arrangement and 423 nits in brightness, a abundant bigger result, and the ZenBook S’s 4K affectation additionally provided bigger adverse at 1,300:1 and accurateness at 306 nits.
Colors were additionally hardly beneath dynamic, with alone 71 percent advantage of the AdobeRGB area and 94 percent advantage of sRGB. Best displays in this chic hit at atomic 72 and 95 percent, respectively, and the XPS 13 was a standout at 75 and 98 percent. The Spectre 13’s blush accurateness was additionally a little worse than boilerplate at 2.54, area annihilation beneath than 1.0 is advised excellent.
Subjectively, the Spectre 13’s affectation was affable abundant to use, although we did apprehension that video was darker than we’d like. That makes faculty accustomed the gamma after-effects of 2.4 (2.2 is perfect). We ambition it was brighter, though, and offered up added adverse to accomplish atramentous argument on a white accomplishments pop more.
HP confused the speakers from the abandon to aloof beneath the affectation on the newest Spectre 13, abacus added amplitude for the Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers to work. The aftereffect is audio that’s absorbing for such a tiny machine.
Volume can get actual loud, abundant to allotment a cine or TV appearance with friends, and music was decidedly enjoyable. Alike bass was a bit bigger than we expected, and the midrange and lows were affable — at least, up to about 80 percent volume. Beyond that, though, aggregate starts to run together. The acceptable affair is you shouldn’t acquire to canyon that beginning to appropriately ample a medium-sized room.
Our analysis assemblage was able with the eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U, a 15-watt quad-core processor that promises bigger achievement yet added efficiency. The new CPU has provided cogent achievement improvements in all the machines we’ve advised so far.
The Spectre 13 keeps up the pace. In the Geekbench 4 constructed benchmark, the apparatus denticulate 4,916 in the single-core analysis and 14,301 in the multi-core tests. Those are accomplished after-effects that attempt able-bodied with the added Core i7-8550U machines in our allegory accumulation and draft abroad seventh-generation notebooks.
On the added arduous Handbrake analysis that encodes a 420MB video book to H.265, the Spectre 13 was able to complete the activity in 672 seconds. Accustomed that this analysis absolutely stresses the CPU and generates some heat, this is an absorbing showing. It’s abundant faster than added attenuate notebooks application the above processor, including the antecedent archetypal Dell XPS 13 and the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, and alike competes with our acceleration champ so far, the thicker and added Lenovo Yoga 920.
The Spectre 13 offers absorbing achievement for such a attenuate and ablaze machine. It’s faster than we accepted it to be, and its achievement is due in allotment to some assignment that HP put into it the cooling system. There’s an bittersweet sensor that measures aback the apparent of the anatomy gets too hot to the draft and modulates the fans, and HP engineered a amalgam cooling band-aid that manages to let the CPU run at abounding acceleration for best periods.
The Spectre 13 is a accelerated little apparatus for appealing abundant any abundance task.
You’ll be added than blessed with the Spectre 13’s achievement for all of your accepted abundance needs. In real-world use, it’s affluence quick and can handle annihilation you’re acceptable to bandy at it — alike the casual high-end assignment like video encoding, which usually makes thin-and-light notebooks stutter.
HP able our Spectre 13 with a 256GB Samsung PM961 SSD. That’s a abundant choice, accustomed its about accomplished achievement in both account and autograph data.
The Spectre 13 couldn’t absolutely clasp all the achievement out of the Samsung SSD in our criterion testing. It denticulate 906 megabytes per additional (MB/s) on the CrystalDiskMark apprehend analysis and 964 MB/s on the address test. That’s slower than some added machines application the above drive, such as the Lenovo Yoga 720 that denticulate a arresting 2,060 MB/s apprehend and 1,209 MB/s address and the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe that denticulate 1,349 MB/s apprehend and 1,285 MB/s write.
Even so, the Spectre 13 is affluence fast in account and autograph information, and you’re absurd to apprehension the discrepancy. Throughout our testing and in autograph this review, the anthology never slowed down. It adeptness be small, but the Spectre 13 is a accelerated little apparatus for appealing abundant any abundance task.
The Spectre 13 is able with chip Intel UHD 620 graphics, which are banausic from the seventh-generation version. That implies abundant graphical accomplishment for the accepted abundance tasks but doesn’t announce a actual able gaming system.
As expected, the Spectre 13 denticulate in band with added machines application the above chip graphics. Its 3DMark Fire Strike account of 1,005 is average, and indicates a apparatus that’s not activity to be a abundant best for gamers.
We ran Civilization VI at Abounding HD, aloof for kicks. The Spectre 13 accomplished 11 frames per additional (FPS) at average cartoon and 6 FPS at ultra graphics. Unsurprisingly, that’s aural the FPS ambit of every added apparatus we’ve activated application the Intel UHD 620 GPU. While best attenuate and ablaze notebooks accommodate the above affectionate of achievement acknowledge to their chip Intel graphics, the ZenBook 13 offers abundant faster gaming acknowledgment to its Nvidia GeForce MX150 detached GPU. It can handle amateur like Civilization VI at Abounding HD and average graphics, for example, at a solid 33 FPS — about-face bottomward the resolution and cartoon detail and you can accede other, faster titles as well.
HP added the array accommodation on the new Spectre 13 from 38 to 43 watt-hours application a new step-cell design. The eighth-generation Intel CPUs additionally affiance bigger efficiency, at atomic aback the CPU is active at its lower abject alarm acceleration than the antecedent generation. That led us to acquire we’d see solid array life.
The aggregate was about fruitful. In our best ambitious array test, the Basemark web criterion that taxes the CPU and GPU with a alternation of ambitious web processes, the Spectre 13 managed aloof over two and a bisected hours — an acquire result. Dell’s latest XPS 13 was a baton amid eighth-generation machines on this analysis at three and a bisected hours, and the 4K display-equipped ZenBook S lasted about 30 account best than the Spectre 13.
On our analysis that shuffles through a alternation of accepted web pages, the Spectre 13 managed bristles hours and 21 minutes. That’s appreciably weaker than some of the competition. The XPS 13 lasted over nine hours, while the ZenBook S anesthetized the seven-hour mark. Lenovo’s Yoga 920 was accession standout at over eight hours.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Finally, we see how continued machines can bend through an Avengers bivouac from bounded accumulator until the array runs out. Here, the Spectre 13 lasted for a added aggressive nine hours and 51 minutes. That’s aloof 34 account beneath than the XPS 13 and absolutely exhausted out the ZenBook S by about an hour and a half. The Yoga 920 blew abroad every added allegory apparatus at about 14 hours of runtime.
These are alloyed after-effects at best compared to some contempo similarly-configured machines, but they about chase the trend we’ve apparent with machines application eighth-generation CPUs. If you’re accomplishing accepted abundance work, again the Spectre 13 will acceptable aftermost aing to a abounding day’s work. If you’re accomplishing assignment that stresses the processor, again you’ll appetite to accomplish abiding you acquire your charger on hand. The Spectre is ablaze enough, however, that you apparently won’t apperception accustomed forth a little added weight.
The HP Spectre 13 has been decidedly redesigned, abacus in a draft affectation in the above ultrathin anatomy and afterlight to 8th-gen Intel Core processors. It charcoal a absolutely congenital apparatus with the aboriginal bit of angle due to the ultrathin materials, and achievement is absolutely good. But its array activity has collapsed abaft the competition, which leaves the Spectre 13 hardly behind.
There aren’t that abounding Windows notebooks that are absolutely as attenuate and ablaze as the Spectre 13. One of the added absolute comparisons is the Asus ZenBook S, which is hardly thicker and added but still manages to fit into the above chic of machine. It’s additionally able with the Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, and offers agnate achievement and aggressive array activity alike with a 4K display. The ZenBook S is a little added absolutely congenital — and a bit thicker and added — while additionally costing $1,500 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
If you’re accommodating to acquire aloof a little added array and weight, the accomplished Dell XPS 13 is a acceptable alternative. It’s best contempo amend brought some nice artful and achievement updates, and it provides stronger achievement and array life. At $1,450 (on auction for $1,400) for a Core i7-8550U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, it’s additionally priced analogously to the Spectre 13.
We additionally aloof afresh took a attending at the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN, an absorbing thin-and-light anthology that manages to clasp in a detached GPU — the low-end Nvidia GeForce MX150 that’s still appreciably faster than the Spectre 13’s chip graphics. That one runs $1,400 for a Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD — so it’s analogously priced but added effectively configured.
The Spectre 13 is well-built, but it’s additionally actual thin. You’ll appetite to accomplish abiding you amusement it gently, at atomic if a hardly adjustable anatomy gives you pause. It’s able with eight-generation processors and affluence of RAM and accumulator space, and it uses futureproof USB-C ports. If you booty affliction of it, you should get absolutely a few years of use. In addition, HP offers a archetypal one-year genitalia and activity assurance for the Spectre 13. As usual, that’s black for a apparatus that costs over $1,000.
No, unless you absolutely charge the thinnest and lightest touchscreen anthology around. Some added contempo machines are added attractive, such as the XPS 13 and ZenBook 13, with either bigger designs, bigger array life, or both.
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