PC makers have been trying to replicate the MacBook Air for years with little success.
Alternatives — including 2-in-1 convertibles, transformers and touchscreens — have intrigued customers, but none have been as popular Apple’s laptop.
So HP decided on another strategy to compete with the MacBook Air: just get the basics right, with no gimmicky tricks.
HP’s new Spectre isn’t just the current world’s thinnest laptop — it’s also one of the most beautiful laptops ever created. And the Windows 10 machine looks good without compromising on ports or performance.
There are a lot of MacBook Air clones out there, i.e. silver laptops with black keyboards. Coming up with a new twist on that design isn’t easy.
The Spectre is part CNC’d aluminum (screen and body) and part carbon fiber (underbelly) and all sexy. Mashable senior tech correspondent Christina Warren called the Spectre the Kate Moss of laptops when we unboxed it, and I agree.
HP’s made a remarkably beautiful machine here. At 0.41 inches thick, it’s thinner than the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air’s thickest point (0.68 inches). And at 2.45 pounds, it’s also lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air, which weighs 2.96 pounds. It’s also thinner than the newer, ultra-thin MacBook, which is 0.52 inch at it’s thickest point.Then there’s the Spectre’s one-of-a-kind polished hinge. To get the computer so thin, HP had to look beyond regular laptops for inspiration. HP settled on piston hinges inspired by those found in high-end furniture. The end result is a display that opens in one smooth motion. When open, the display appears to float above the hinge. The polished-copper finish radiates luxury, evoking high-end jewelry and handbags, although it’s macho enough to appeal to guys.
The Spectre, thin as it is, comes with either a sixth-gen Intel Core i5 ($1,699.99) or i7 ($1,249.99; the model I tested). All models come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe solid-state drive storage. A third model with the i7, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe SSD costs $1,499.99.
That’s performance on-par with the 13-inch MacBook Air and far more power than the 12-inch MacBook, which uses a puny Intel Core M processor.
Your own mileage will vary depending on what kind of things you’re doing and whether you’re pushing the processor to its limits or not (you’ll know because the fan kicks up and the base gets very warm).
A few of my colleagues asked me about the screen resolution as soon as I got the Spectre in for review and groaned when I told them it’s a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) panel. Sure, that’s not quite a “Retina” display, but remember, the Spectre is going up directly against the MacBook Air not the 13-inch MacBook Pro — and by that comparison, it’s sharper than the 1,440 x 900 resolution of the Air.
The screen is bright and it’s a little more reflective than I’m used to (HP’s laptop screens always seem to be more reflective for some reason), but the viewing angles are good, and colors are pretty accurate.