HP has been on fire lately as they released multimedia laptop DM4 with Dr. Dre Beats Audio sound system, then their business oriented ultrabook EliteBook Folio, then their new Probook B-series and S-series got upgraded and now another new ultrabook HP Envy Spectre. We have been given a sneak peak at this Spectre ultrabook at CES this January, but here it is out in full swing.
The HP Envy Spectre is Hewlett Packards new ultrabook, and it excels in a number of departments – stylish design, high 1600 x 900 resolution screen, ‘Beats Audio’ sound system, to name but a few.
Running the show is an ULV Intel i5-2467M chip clocked at 1.6GHz, paired with 4GB RAM and a snappy 120GB Samsung SSD. It sells at $1200.
Build quality is flawless, with sturdy hinges and a robust lid. No teeter as a consequence. The chassis measures 327mm x 221mm x 20mm, very similar in size to other ultrabooks. The Envy Spectre weighs a solid 1.8kg, a fair bit heavier than the Asus UX31 (1.4kg) or the Dell XPS 13 (1.36kg). Design-wise the Envy Spectre is reminiscent of the Apple Macbook – silver innards, black keys, and four rubber feet holding the Spectre in place when typing gets frantic.
Port selection is middling for the ultrabook format – one USB-3 port and one USB-2, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort interfaces, handy Ethernet socket, carefully hidden behind a flap, and a mic/headphone combi. There’s no docking interface. WiFi-n and Bluetooth 3.0 are included for connectivity, though UMTS module is lacking.
Audio is well catered for – ‘Mute’ key and volume dial are provided in addition to the Beats Audio sound system for a premium audio experience.
Full versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premiere Elements 10 are great inclusions for artists or amateur video editors. Pretty cotton sleeves are supplied for both laptop and power adapter, though neither provides much protection against knocks.
Typing is a pleasure thanks to a good amount of travel and largeish keys. The keyboard’s white back-lighting enhances text input. The textured surface of the keys helps with accuracy, and all in all HP Spectre ultrabook delivers a typing experience to rival anything in its class.
The touchpad buttons are integrated into the trackpad. The touchpad allows only vertical scrolling, not horizontal, but at least the two buttons respond promptly.
The Gorilla Glass-coated 1600 x 900 pixel display is high quality, but gives only average brightness at 221 nits, far behind the Asus Zenbook UX31 with its 419 candelas of screen loveliness. However, deep blacks combine with that middling brightness to give an impressive contrast ratio of 413:1, leading to a subjective experience of rich, vibrant colors. That makes the Envy 14 Spectre suitable for outdoors use, albeit away from direct sunlight. Viewing angles are excellent.
And so to performance of HP Spectre ultrabook. That 1.6GHz-clocked Intel i5-2467M is found in a number of ultrabooks as an entry-level processor. The 1.6GHz i5-2557M (Dell XPS 13) and core i7-2637M (Zenbook UX31) are quicker chips, and the UX31 bests the Spectre by 10% across a range of benchmarks. With the ultrabook standard 4GB RAM, performance suffices for everday use. But it’s still not enough to play relatively undemanding Fifa 12 at medium settings. So we would advise anyone considering the Envy 14 Spectre to wait until the Ivy Bridge update. The 40% boost to graphics output was aimed specifically at such dedicated-graphics-lacking machines.
The combination of Sandy Bridge CPU and SSD in the current incarnation is still powerful enough for everyone except power-users, nonetheless. Data read-write transfer speeds of 200MB or so are similarly emphatic. By comparison, the UX31 achieves breath-taking read speeds of 500MB/s. although its write speed is only 150MB/s… the Envy 14 Spectre strikes a sensible balance.
Flat-out battery life is first-rate at 2 hours plus, or 4 hrs 45 min of middle to heavy usage.
The Envy 14 Spectre runs Windows 7 Home Premium, and everything is guaranteed for 12 months, extendable to 3 years.
To sum up, the HP Envy 14 Spectre makes up for any comparative performance shortcomingscompared to faster-chipped ultrabooks with its first-class audio system, strong battery life, and sheer good looks. But hold your fire, the Ivy Bridge update will greatly improve performance.
Oh, the back side of HP Envy 14 Spectre is sooo shiny your girl will not be bored… (ouch!)
No related posts.
Sign up to the Gadgetmix Newsletter (free) for news and reviews mailed directly to your mailbox CLICK HERE