HP’s Ultra Thin 13-inch Spectre Goes MacBook Huntin’ With Skylake Core i7, Thunderbolt 3, Fancy Piston Hinges

HP Spectre 13 3 Lifestyle 2
Hewlett-Packed is ready to take on Apple in regard thin and light notebook designs, and it wants to be a design leader that other OEMs aspire to emulate. Hence we have today’s introduction of the HP Spectre, which is claimed to be the world’s thinnest laptop.

So how thin is it? According to HP, the partially aluminum chassis measures just 10.4mm, or about the same thickness of a AAA battery. A carbon fiber bottom aids in the the Spectre’s thinness and light frame, and adds to its durability. And speaking of lightness, the 13.3-inch class notebook weighs in at a feathery 2.45 pounds — undercutting the 13-inch MacBook Air by half a pound.

HP Spectre 12 3 right facing profile

HP has managed to include a number of innovative touches in the new Spectre. For example, the display opens and closes using internal pistons that “creates the illusion of a hinge-less design,” and a new hybrid 38WHr battery uses a split design which aided in achieving such a thin profile, while still providing a reported 9 hours and 45 minutes of runtime. HP also added in a luxurious touch with hand-polished copper accents along the body.

hp spectre piston hinge
An internal look at the funky piston hinge mechanism

Now that’s not to say that the Spectre is all about looks; the machine has plenty of grunt and enough expansion ports to nullify the need for expensive hubs (i.e., Apple’s 12-inch MacBook). Under the hood you’ll find either an Intel Skylake Core i5-6200U or Core i7-6500U processor paired with 8GB of RAM (non-upgradeable). Cooling a device this thin with a Core i7 is a challenge, which is why HP’s development team uses two fans that pull air into what the company calls a barometric chamber. The fans increase the pressure within the chamber and then exhaust hot air out the back of the notebook.

hp spectre battery

Graphics duties are handled by Intel HD Graphics 520 and you’ll find a 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD onboard. The aforementioned 13.3-inch edge-to-edge display features a FHD resolution and is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 4. This screen, however, is not touch-enabled.

The Spectre includes three USB Type-C connectors, two of which offer Thunderbolt 3 support for data transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/sec. And any one of the ports can be used to charge the machine.  You’ll also find the usual wireless connectivity options, which consists of Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac.

“The HP Spectre is the thinnest notebook in the world, and unlike the majority of other super thin PCs on the market, this laptop doesn’t compromise power or features,” said Kevin Frost, HP Inc. Consumer Personal Systems VP and GM. That sounds to us like a thinly veiled attack on the compromised 12-inch MacBook.

hp spectre back new logo

So, has HP created a product that will make even ardent Apple fans envious? We can’t say for sure until we get the notebook into our labs to run the usual battery of tests, but given our initial hands-on time with the Spectre, it looks as though HP has a winner on its hands. This machine is thin, light, and attractive, and has a premium look and feel that is difficult to attain.

The Spectre will be available for preorder April 25th with a starting price of $1,169.99. Shipments will commence in May.