HP announces refreshed Spectre 13 featuring 8th gen Intel CPUs and a redesigned chassis
Just when we were thinking ultrabooks couldn't get any thinner, we saw HP debut the Spectre 13 ultrabook models with a thickness of just 10.4 mm — thinner than many tablets out there. Now, HP has once again refreshed their iconic Spectre 13 notebook with the latest Intel 'Kaby Lake-R' CPU and according to HP, the new Spectre 13 takes the crown for being the world's thinnest touchscreen laptop.
HP said that the development of the new Spectre 13 was centered around customer feedback and reviews, and the company claims to have addressed a lot of teething concerns about the previous generation Spectre 13. For one, customers were unhappy with the fact that the notebook had its fans run often. The new Spectre 13 apparently addresses this by incorporating a hybrid thermal design with a thermal sensor. In our own review of the previous Spectre 13, we had voiced concerns about the lower than average battery capacity and a not so loud audio output. The new generation Spectre 13 seems to have addressed these issues with a bigger 43 Wh battery and louder sounding speakers.
The iconic feature of the Spectre series is the thin form factor and HP has stayed true to its goal of retaining this unique selling proposition (USP) of the series. The laptop now features reduced X (308.2 mm from 325 mm) and Y (224.2 mm from 229 mm) dimensions whilst maintaining the same thickness of 10.4 mm (about the thickness of a AAA battery) and weight (1.11 kg). Despite retaining the thickness, the new Spectre 13 features a full size keyboard with 1.3mm of key travel. Build quality has not been given an afterthought, with the ultrabook sporting a CNC aluminium and carbon fiber chassis with Advanced Electro Deposition (AED) coating for 2.5x stronger scratch resistance.
Bezel-less displays are the norm in 2017 and the Spectre 13 sports a 40% thinner top bezel and 65% thinner side bezels compared to the 2016 model. HP also took a dig at the Dell XPS 13, which became renowned for its awkward webcam placement in the bottom bezel. The Spectre 13 seems to sport the webcam where its supposed to be despite being thinner than the XPS 13.
The refreshed HP Spectre 13 features the 8th generation quad core Intel 'Kaby Lake-R' CPU in Core i5 and Core i7 variants. HP claims a performance improvement of over 30% compared to the previous generation. Our tests have shown that the new 8th generation 'Kaby Lake-R' chips show at least a 40% improvement over their 7th generation 'Kaby Lake' counterparts. This could imply that some sort of throttling could have been implemented by HP to keep temperatures under check given the ultra-thin form factor. We will explore this aspect when we get to review the new Spectre 13.
Other specs of the ultrabook include —
- Up to 16 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
- Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD
- Choice of 13.3-inch UHD/FHD touchscreen display with a brightness of 340 nits for UHD and 300 nits for FHD
- 1x USB Type-C 3.1, 2x Thunderbolt 3 and combo audio jack
- Step cell 43 Wh Li-Ion battery with support for Fast Charging
- HP Wide Vision HD IR Camera for Windows Hello based authentication
- Bang & Olufsen audio powering dual speakers with discrete amplifiers
The increased battery capacity coupled with improved power management in the 8th generation chips should see the new Spectre 13 last comfortably through a typical work day with still some charge left. HP claims a battery life of 11.6 hours for models sporting the FHD display and about 7.9 hours for models sporting the UHD display. We will know more about battery life improvements once we get our hands on the ultrabook.
HP said that the new Spectre 13 has advantages over competing notebooks like the Apple Macbook 2017, Microsoft Surface Laptop, and the Dell XPS 13 with respect to having an upgraded processor and choice of a high resolution touch display at more or less the same price point. Speaking of price points, the new Spectre 13 in Dark Ash Silver will retail for US$1,299 and US$1,399 on HP.com for the Core i5 and Core i7 models respectively featuring FHD displays, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD storage. The Core i7 also comes in Ceramic White. Price for the 4K version is not yet known.
Stay tuned for more on the new Spectre 13 as we will be subjecting it to our battery of tests very soon.