The gorgeous HP Spectre Folio is a combination of vintage mixed with modern functionality. It mimics a fine leather portfolio (hence the name) and is even wrapped in the kind of crepe paper that’s usually reserved for designer dress shirts. We normally don’t care about packaging, but the way the Folio is presented is simply exquisite. Since it’s made of genuine leather with magnesium alloy components, it needs to be treated the way you would care for a leather jacket or luxury handbag. You can only use a soft cloth to clean it, and you should not use any harsh chemicals on it or you’ll risk ruining the material.
The Folio’s 13.3-inch touchscreen is also a thing of beauty. It offers a bright and crisp picture with wide viewing angles. It’s also quick and responsive, keeping up with taps, swipes, and multi-finger gestures. What’s even better is the screen isn’t a power hog. It uses Intel’s power-efficient display technology and runs on as little as 1 watt of power even at maximum brightness. Normal laptops use 2 watts of power with the same brightness setting. This contributes to the Folio’s tremendous battery life. During our web-browsing test, it was able to last an outstanding 10 hours. It performed even better in our high-definition video loop test, managing 17 hours.
Normally, 2-in-1 systems have notoriously shallow and mushy keyboards. Thankfully, the Folio does not. The backlit keys are large and nicely spaced, they don’t bottom out when pressed, and keystroke was precise and comfortable. The touchpad is also pretty responsive, but for some reason, HP is still not willing to embrace Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad protocol. It’s also a little small for our taste.
This laptop is powered by Intel’s Core i7-8500Y processor, which also sips power like the touchscreen. It runs quietly and doesn’t heat up as much as other processors, which is a good thing especially given that this laptop is made of leather. Paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory, the Folio is well-suited for standard productivity tasks like web browsing, office work, and multimedia consumption. Finally, the Folio is bundled with HP’s Bluetooth-connected Digital Pen, which offers smooth and accurate pen strokes, perfect for notetaking and sketching.
Best Buy is currently selling the HP Spectre Folio for $900, a whopping $500 savings over its normal retail price of $1,400.
The Envy 13 is essentially HP’s entry-level premium laptop and our pick for the best 13-inch clamshell laptop of 2019, rightfully earning Digital Trends’s Recommended Product accolade. If you’re willing to give up a couple of non-essential features found in HP’s Spectre line, the Envy 13 is excellent value for your money, a near-perfect Ultrabook that boasts speedy performance, terrific battery life, and a beautiful bright display.
This laptop has an attractive mix of sharp angles and slight curves that better resembles the previous Spectre generation than the newest gem-cut models. It may be a departure from the Spectre’s modern svelte aesthetic, but it still screams luxury. However, we did find that its build quality was a bit underwhelming. The lid and keyboard deck are just a little too flexible, although the bottom of the chassis is rigid. The laptop also has fairly thick bezels. We’d prefer a nearly $1,000 laptop to look a bit sexier.
Our minor complaint on unsexy bezels aside, the Envy’s 13.3-inch Full HD multitouch screen is stunning. Packed with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, the screen explodes with vibrant colors and sharp details, making this laptop great for productivity and media bingeing. HP’s AMOLED panel on the Spectre x360 15 is in another ballpark entirely, but the Envy 13 is not far behind. Furthermore, its quad speakers and a smart amplifier are courtesy of Danish company Bang & Olufsen, so you know you’re in good hands acoustically.
The Envy 13’s keyboard is similar to the Spectre x360 13’s. An island keyboard with silver keys and black lettering, its backlight is functional with two useful brightness levels. Our typing experience with this laptop has been a mostly positive experience, although we did find the key travel not as deep as we hoped for, and the keys are a little stiff. The touchpad, on the other hand, is quite a revelation. Optimized with Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers, a welcome upgrade from Synaptics, the touchpad is wonderfully responsive and precise even to the lightest touch.
In terms of security, the Envy 13 supports Windows 10 Hello password-less login via a fingerprint scanner found on the right-hand side of the keyboard deck. Although it works perfectly, this laptop lacks facial recognition for Windows 10 Hello, which can be found in the both the Spectre Folio and Spectre x360 13. It’s not exactly a big loss, as fingerprint reader works perfectly fine by itself.
The Envy 13’s 8th-gen Core i7-8565U quad-core processor performed admirably in all our standard speed tests. This is a very quick laptop that’s got all your productivity tasks covered, plus its entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU makes this a decent entry-level gaming laptop. Battery life is also quite excellent. The Envy 13 was able to last a fantastic 11 hours in our continuous web browsing test.
The HP Envy 13 normally retails for $970, but right now you can purchase it on Best Buy for $940.
The HP Spectre x360 13 is one of the rare electronic devices we’ve reviewed that has earned a perfect 5-out-of-5-star rating and the coveted Digital Trends Editors’ Choice stamp of approval. It has a lot going for it. First is how incredible it looks, like a fine jewel in a sea of gray blandness (well, except for the leather-bound Folio of course). HP has nicknamed the Spectre x360 the “gem-cut” model, and we can definitely see why. Every facet has been shaped to reflect light from as many angles as possible. Trust us when we say that Spectre x360 is one gobsmackingly beautiful laptop. It’s also pretty sturdy, with zero flexing on the keyboard and chassis unless you put your back into it. HP also made sure to equip the Spectre x360 with some of the best security features. You can log in via Windows 10 Hello, an infrared camera for facial recognition or the fingerprint scanner, which can be found on the side to the keyboard deck. They both work seamlessly.
A laptop’s keyboard is one of the most important factors to consider. After all, you’ll be spending countless hours typing on it. Fortunately, the Spectre x360 doesn’t disappoint. The backlit keys are snappy, precise, and very comfortable to type on. The touchpad also works wonderfully well, although just like the Folio, it isn’t optimized with Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad protocol. The package includes the HP Pen for flawless scribbling of notes and drawing as well.
The 13-inch 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD panel looks great and runs with Intel’s power-saving display technology, just like the Folio. Not only is it awash in gorgeous colors and details, but it also sips on as little as one watt of power, effectively prolonging battery life. This 2-in-1 was able to last for more than 12 hours in our web-browsing test, which is quite spectacular.
At the heart of the Spectre x360, you’ll find Intel’s latest 8th-generation quad-core i7-8565U processor, and it works a great for any productivity tasks. However, its Intel UHD 620 integrated graphics chip doesn’t make it a great gaming laptop. It performed adequately for less demanding games and older titles, but it won’t handle most modern AAA titles.
Normally $1,250, you can now get the HP Spectre x360 13 for $1,063 on Best Buy – that’s $187 off.
HP’s Spectre Folio, Envy 13, and Spectre x360 13 represent the pinnacle of 2-in-1 laptop engineering. They all look phenomenal and boast superb performances, incredible hardware components, and tremendous battery life.
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