HP is well acquainted with the ultrabook scene, having produced a very successful predecessor called the HP Envy 14 Spectre. Although this laptop was a top seller, users found it to be overly chunky and heavy compared to the average ultrabook. To combat these two issues, HP has unveiled the 13.3 inch Envy Spectre XT. Not only is this device more attractive, but it also contains several hardware improvements over its earlier counterpart. Its main selling points are its responsive keyboard, wide range of ports and slim figure. The HP Envy Spectre XT retails for $999, a price that is made even cheaper with an HP promo code.
Physical Design and Appeal
The Hp Envy Spectre XT makes use of an all-metal body and a Chiclet-style keyboard. This makes the device look very similar to Apple’s MacBook Air. The only major difference between the two is that the MacBook makes use of a long integrated hinge, compared to the Envy Spectre XT’s dual-hinge system. The Envy Spectre XT also sports a thin profile that measures only 14.4 mm thick and weighs approximately 3.07 pounds. Like most other ultrabooks, the case is thicker at the back and gradually tapers toward the front.
It is also adorned with an admittedly average 13.3 inch screen, with a resolution of 1,366×768. The resolution is slightly disappointing and sacrifices both sharpness and picture quality. However, the screen is very bright and can be clearly seen from several angles. The main drawback is that there is no option for users to upgrade the screen to 1600×900 or 1920×1080 resolutions.
Keyboard and Touchpad
As earlier stated, the device’s keyboard closely resembles that of the MacBook Air. Both make use of black, flat-topped keys. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and is well-spaced. It also has a backlit feature to allow users to type with ease, even under the darkest conditions.
The Envy Spectre XT’s touchpad is extremely large and can be found directly beneath the keyboard. Officially called the “HP Imagepad”, it does support a number of multi-touch features for added convenience. Although these multi-touch gestures are not as smooth as those on the MacBook Air, the release of Windows 8 should solve the majority of these issues. Overall, the touchpad is both responsive and precise under normal desktop use.
Despite the ultrabook’s slim figure, it does contain an extensive list of ports. Most notably, the Envy Spectre XT contains an Ethernet port; a feature that most manufacturers have abandoned in favor of a USB adaptor. It also contains a fold-away Gigabit Ethernet port that can be hidden when wireless is in use. Furthermore, it has a number of USB ports, as well as an HDMI output and SDXC card slot.
The Envy Spectre XT comes with a Beats Audio system that plays using the laptop’s quad-speakers or headphone jack. Although this seems impressive, laptops generally don’t offer the best sound quality. Additionally, it also comes with a new technology called CoolSense. This prevents the device from overheating by strategically placing vents that channel heat away from the base.
The Envy Spectre 14 runs on an Intel 3rd Generation Core processor. An mSATA drive is used for storage capabilities and can hold up to 256GB. This ultrabook also makes use of the highly popular Intel Rapid Start technology. This ensures that the laptop boots quickly and resume times are kept to a minimum. Finally, Intel Smart Connect Technology allows the laptop to periodically leave sleep mode to automatically check your emails.
Conclusion and Overall Opinion
The Hp Envy Spectre XT is an ultrabook that should meet any consumer’s needs. Although it doesn’t contain any ground-breaking features, it doesn’t lack any of the essentials. It contains a slim figure, a responsive keyboard and a full range of ports. Its only real drawback is the low resolution screen; a feature that users will quickly forget about. Retailing for $999, the HP Envy Spectre XT is an average device at an average price.
About the Author: David Tom is an engineering student studying at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is passionate about the technological industry, especially the latest laptops to enter the computing scene.