Review: HP Spectre 13

Laptops Reviews Ultrabooks

EditorsChoicePremium ultraportable laptops are the buzz word these days for PC makers. HP’s new Spectre ultraportable laptop is no different. It is a device that oozes an “oomph” factor, the moment you lay your eyes on it. It is a deliciously designed ultraportable that screams “coolness” in every inch of real estate it occupies on your desk.

The Spectre 13 features a bright and shiny body that will get noticed and turn lots of heads around you. It has an aluminum, carbon fiber, and copper construction that measure only 0.41-inches thick, yet still has the Intel Core i5 and i7 power that premium laptop buyers have grown to expect. The review unit we received came with an Intel Core i5 processor.

The Spectre is built around a 13.3-inch, edge-to-edge display that’s covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The quality of the display is in one word – brilliant! It has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, so you’ll have room to watch Full 1080p HD videos and work on two pages side by side. The IPS screen looked bright, even when the venue’s overhead lights were turned up to maximum.


However, don’t rejoice yet. The laptop’s display is not a touch screen, because that would add a few more millimeters to the lid. The laptop’s hinge has piston-equipped arms inspired by high-end furniture, which were also help keep the system slim.

The system’s backlit keyboard with full-sized keys felt fairly comfortable. They’d be easy to get used to if you you’re upgrading to the Spectre from another thin ultraportable. Having said that however, the key travel is a bit short due to the base’s thin profile. Still, the keys are quite a bit less clicky than the ones on many of the ultraportables out there on the market.


In terms of connectivity, the new Spectre exclusively uses USB-C I/O ports. HP no doubt selected this configuration because their compact jacks help keep the laptop thin. You can charge the laptop from any of the three ports, plus you can connect multiple DisplayPort, HDMI, or VGA displays, via optional HP and third-party adapters.

Two of the three USB-C ports have also Thunderbolt 3 support for speedy transfers to compatible docking stations and SSDs. The system’s headset jack is the only other physical connector, everything else is wireless.


Processor choices on the HP Spectre 13 include latest-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs with Intel HD Graphics. As mentioned earlier, our review unit came with Intel’s Core i5 processor. For all its cooling needs, the Spestre 13 comes with a pair of cooling fans and an innovative hyperbaric cooling channel built into the laptop. The fans were close to silent during our review.


Other specs of the ultraportable included 8GB RAM and 512GB of PCIe-based solid-state drive (SSD) storage. During our review process we found the overall performance of the HP Spectre 13 to be quite good. In terms of battery life, we were able to eke out 9 hours and 45 minutes of play time, before the system gave up its ghost.


Of course the device can turn lots of heads, but at a hefty price tag starting at AED 5,499. With an incredibly thin body, premium feel, and good performance, the Spectre 13 is easy to recommend. It thus wins the Review Central Editors’ Choice award for the premium ultraportables category.

Price: AED 5,499 onwards


Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is easily excited by the smallest of technologies around. He is an Android fanboy at heart, who also owns an iPhone, a Windows Phone, and a BlackBerry. Though he uses a MacBook Pro at work, he also uses a Windows PC, an Xbox One and an Xbox 360 for all his gaming requirements. True gadget lover at heart!