HP Spectre 13 review: The ultraportable king

HP Spectre 13 review: The ultraportable king


The Spectre 13 is so thin that tapping away on its tactile keyboard almost feels like your fingers are tap-dancing on the table.

HP’s most luxurious laptop borrows the Lenovo Yoga 900S’s style and the MacBook’s bag-friendly dimensions.

Its biggest advantage over the MacBook is its Intel Core-series processor inside, which lends it the winning combination of dazzling looks and computing muscle. Packing three USB-C ports for hooking up peripherals (note that you’ll need a converter to use your old USB-A ones), the Spectre 13 doesn’t just look like a laptop from the future – it has one eye trained on it too.

Key Features

  • Review Price: 1,10,449 rupees
  • Intel Core i5 or i7-U processors
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 13-inch Full HD screen
  • 1.1kg
  • 256GB or 512GB PCI-E SSD

HP Spectre 13 – Design and Build

The latest Spectre 13 makes a fashion statement, debuting a new color: Ceramic White with Pale Gold accents. The scratch-resistant paint has a soft, matte look and feel and is (HP claims) easy to clean.

Spectre designThe coaxial hinges gleam when the laptop is open and disappear into the laptop’s body when closed. The polished surface of the prior generation’s hinge area attracted too many fingerprints, so HP has replaced it with a brushed texture that don’t show any schmutz.

HP tweaked the keyboard design, too. Some changes are cosmetic, like the subtle carving around the keyboard area. The keys offer 1.3mm of travel, which is about the least you’d want—they felt okay during a few anecdotal minutes of use at the briefing. HP also built an extra full-width rubber foot into the bottom of the Spectre 13 to minimize annoying bounce during use.

HP Spectre 13 – Screen and audio

The Full HD IPS screen on the Spectre 13 is superb, but you’d expect nothing less for the money. Contrast and brightness are excellent – the Spectre 13 reaches a maximum brightness of 301cd/m2 – but the screen’s Gorilla Glass (non-touch) coating does mean reflections are a slight problem.

hp spectre 13The screen covers 95% of the sRGB colour gamut, and as a result most vibrant colours are served well. Contrast is rated at 1,531:1, meaning bright colours stand out while darker areas look inky. Backlight bleed, where visible, is minor. Overall, this is an excellent display.

In contrast, the Spectre 13’s built-in speakers are disappointing, failing to offer much depth or range. They’re fine for TV and the occasional movie, but you’ll get a better experience from the rear-mounted 3.5mm jack with either headphones or desktop speakers.

HP Spectre 13 – Performance 

This chip can boost to a maximum speed of 3.1GHz when thermal conditions allow. Paired with 8GB of RAM it’s a speedy laptop, far faster than the 12-inch MacBook with its Intel Core M chip and around the same as the Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Air.

This laptop may be expensive, but the HP Spectre 13 is kitted out with some high-specification components. Processing performance comes from either an Intel Core i5-6300U or, like my review model, a dual-core, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U

Read also : Asus VivoBook S15, ZenBook UX430 launched in India: Prices,specifications, features

Battery Life

For a laptop that’s otherwise so portable, it’s a shame to discover that battery life is merely average. In our custom Powermark run consisting of a looping set of video and web browsing tasks, representative of a normal day of use, it lasted just 5hrs 13mins.

It consumed 21% battery per hour when streaming Netflix at 150cd/m2 screen brightness, which will get you a little under five hours of streaming at a fairly low brightness level.

Our Verdict

The HP Spectre 13 is thin, light and impressively powerful – but it’s a compromised experience