HP Spectre Laptop Review: A Thin, Sleek, Nimble Beauty

HP Spectre 13 Performance Summary And Final Analysis

The HP Spectre offered surprisingly robust performance for such a thin and light machine. Typically, when a machine this thin comes in for testing here, we're prepared for some level of throttling of the main system processor. However, that absolutely was not the case. In fact, the HP Spectre routinely held a top tier position in all of our benchmark testing, whether in standard compute tasks or graphics and gaming, versus other laptops of its size and class. In general, the Spectre's performance exceeded our expectations and it proved to be a very well-tuned machine. 

HP Spectre Right Edge

However, where the Spectre could use a bit more tuning in future iterations would be with respect to its acoustics and battery life. The Spectre's hyperbaric cooling system works well at keeping the machine cool and allowing its Core i7 processor to run optimally, but it does come with a bit of fan whine. It's not an annoying noise level, but it is noticeable and random, not always tied to heavier work loads. Perhaps HP can mitigate this a bit with new fan profiles in future firmware updates. In terms of battery life, there's just no substitute for capacity and the Spectre's 38 WHr battery doesn't hold up as well versus heavier, thicker ultrabooks. For its size and weight, battery life with the Spectre was still reasonably good, but if this aspect is a priority concern for you, it's something to keep in mind. 4.5 to 5 hours of moderate use (HD video playback) up-time should be expected, more with lighter workloads, like browsing the web and handling emails.  

HP Spectre Edge and Ports

What we absolutely must admit is that we're smitten with the Spectre's good looks, industrial design chops and build quality. This is one great looking machine that also handles and performs really well. Its keyboard feels great and is easy to get comfortable with right away. Its display is bright and vibrant and the machine is so portable and light you'll find yourself dropping the lid and tucking it away more often when not needed, because it just handles so easily. And it wakes from sleep quick as a bunny as well, with its Samsung NVMe SSD offering snappy IO throughput.

In short, the HP Spectre is a pleasure to work with and a real beauty to behold. It's a premium machine at its $1249 price point as configured for us, (starting at $1169 for the Core i5 variant which might deliver better battery life) but you get a lot of both style and substance for the dollar with this new HP gem of a laptop. 
hothardware recommended
 hot  not
  • Beautiful Super-Thin Design
  • Carbon Fiber Composite, Gold Finished Machined Aluminum
  • Great All Around Performance
  • Excellent Keyboard 
  • Nice Bright IPS Display
  • 3 USB-C Ports, Two With TB3
  • Cooling Fans Can Get A Little Noisy
  • Lack-Luster Battery Life
  • No SD Card Slot

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