When Apple announced its latest MacBook last year, I was initially in love. After all, who doesn't want a thin laptop with a cutting-edge USB 3.1 Type-C connection?
Sadly, that was where the magic ended. The Core M processor was anemic. The USB Type-C connection? The only such port - making simultaneous charging and use of a USB device impossible without a clunky dongle.
Now, HP has announced a laptop that mirrors the beauty of Apple's laptop - surpassing it, even - plus destroying it from a performance standpoint by utilising an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor - not Core M trash. Called simply the "HP Spectre Notebook", it is as close to portable nirvana as any machine before it. The premium laptop is so special, that it is being used to launch a brand-new HP logo.
HP shares the following features.
"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. A beautiful Full HD edge-to-edge display, Intel Core i processors coupled with Bang and Olufsen sound and a sexy and thin design, HP amazing engineers set a new standard with the all new Spectre", says Kevin Frost, VP and GM, consumer personal systems, HP Inc.
Frost isn't kidding. I recently had the opportunity to try this laptop. Now, I get to see many laptops - it is not easy to surprise me. HP surprised me. This new Spectre is shockingly thin and beautiful. The moment I saw it, I was speechless - literally.
Once I composed myself, I giddily put my fingers all over it. Opening the lid, I was amazed at how fluid it moved. The screen is so thin, yet it wasn't fragile nor wobbly. HP has designed a hinge that is both strong and beautiful. The hinge looks non-existent - it is magic-like.
To get so thin, HP had to drop some features that some people expect from Windows laptops nowadays. The Spectre is not convertible, nor is it touchscreen. If you need a laptop that doubles as a tablet, this is not the machine for you. It is a pure laptop, and I love that.
Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade the Spectre - it is not designed to be opened. 8GB of RAM is the only configuration. Still, HP had a dissected model to show me. The NVMe SSD was visible - you will get cutting-edge storage speed. It is amazing how much is crammed into the chassis.
The really impressive aspect, however, is the Core i processors being used. This is something Apple couldn't do - the MacBook has a weak Core M processor. HP made this happen by utilising a heat sink-free cooling system - a hyperbaric cooling system - that was designed by Intel.
This ultra-thin laptop is powerful enough to double as a desktop. If you were to connect a Thunderbolt dock/hub with Ethernet, video-out, etc., you could power a couple of 4K displays and all of your components using a single cable. In other words, the Spectre Notebook will be brilliant when portable or stationary at home on a desk.
HP shares the following notable specs.
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home
- Processor: 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U or i7-6500U Processor
- Display: 13.3 inch diagonal FHD IPS UWVA BrightView Corning Gorilla Glass WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080)
- Memory: 8 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (onboard)
- Solid-State drive: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 with up to 4185 MB total graphics memory
- Battery life: Up to 9 hours and 45 minutes
- Product weight: 2.45 lb
- Keyboard: Full-size island-style backlit keyboard
So how much will this cost? You can pre-order it from HP directly, or Best Buy on 25 April with an early-bird starting price of $1,169.99. On 22 May - the official launch date - the starting price increases to $1,249.99.
If you really have some money to spend HP will be auctioning off some special artist designed variants of the Spectre as seen below. Tord Boontje designed the ornate midnight blue masterpiece, while Jess Hannah went with an all-gold look. Both are absolutely gorgeous, and feature customised fonts on the keyboard, selected by the artists.
Proceeds of the auction will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. HP deserves major kudos for not only designing such a beautiful laptop with the Spectre, but using it to raise money for a worthy cause too.