HP just announced its high-end Spectre 13 or Spectre laptop designed for professionals looking for a Windows-based laptop that's thin, powerful and yet, stylish. The Apple MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 have catered to such a segment for a while and now, HP wants a slice of that pie. Lucky for us, we had a chance to spend some time with this latest beauty at HP's business devices launch in Macau. We also had a chance to speak to Anneliese Olson who's the General Manager and Vice President of Personal Systems Business for APJ, to understand how such a product would fit in the Indian market.
The Spectre 13 is currently the world's thinnest laptop and despite that, HP has managed to cram in Intel's Core i-series of processors rather than Core M, which is quite a feat. In terms of looks, it easily has one of the most-eye-catching designs. The bottom portion and lid of the laptop is built using carbon fibre and the copper accents add a lot of bling, which is the best way to describe it. The colour combination and design is very unique and is certainly doesn't look like anything out there. According to Anneliese, the Spectre 13 offers the best kind of feature set, with a stunning design and at a price point that's competitive, without the need to copy the competition. The obvious comparisons here would be Apple's MacBook and the Dell XPS 13, but it's safe to say HP is leaps ahead in the style department.
Another difference you'll notice is a slight variation of the HP logo on the lid of the Spectre 13. Anneliese says this is HP's new premium logo which will be grace all of its premium products going ahead. The design team at HP has created it to look like a 'running man' as all the angles are leaning forward, which reflects HP's focus on investing in rapidly growing verticals like hybrid devices, premium laptops and gaming.
The backlit keyboard has fairly large and well-spaced chiclet keys that have surprisingly good travel considering the overall thickness of the laptop. The keys feel comfortable and the trackpad works pretty well from the little time we had with the device. The stereo speakers are on either side by Bang & Olufsen although we didn't get to test them out as there wasn't any media files present.
As you've probably guessed by now, there aren't any ports on the side as everything is around the copper strip, on the back. We have a total of three USB Type-C ports out of which, the two clustered together support Thunderbolt so you can use Ethernet, VGA or even HDMI connections via adapters. There's also a 3.5mm headphone socket at one end.
The laptop is completely sealed off from the bottom, where we have three rubber strips for elevating it slightly to let the components breathe easy. There are intake vents underneath and exhaust vents on the copper strip. To get maximum battery life, HP has split the battery into two thinner pieces so it could accommodate it in the slim chassis. HP claims the Spectre 13 can chug along for 9 hours.
Coming to the specifications, the laptop has a full-HD IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass, a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 Skylake CPUs, SSD storage up to 512GB and up to 8GB of memory. HP uses Intel's hyperbaric cooling system which is how it's able to run a Core i CPU in such a chassis without the risk of overheating.
HP will be bringing the Spectre 13 to India sometime in June, by when we'll get to know the final price of the laptop. Anneliese stresses that India is a key market for HP and that we should expect more premium campaigns in the consumer space as well as the business space in the months to come. There's no doubt that the buying power of the average consumer is growing rapidly and HP wants to tap into that market in order to grow its business. She further adds that HP will also be focusing on expanding its Omen series of gaming devices. Virtual reality is also something HP is eyeing as a key segment, with the recently announced Envy Phoenix gaming desktop that's officially compatible with the HTC Vive.
We'll be sure to bring you a detailed review of the HP Spectre 13 as soon as it launches, so stay tuned for that.
Disclosure: HP paid for the correspondent's flights and accommodation for its event in Macau, China.