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HP Spectre Folio review: Redefining the PC with a leather convertible

HP Spectre Folio review: Redefining the PC with a leather convertible

Introduced in October with a promise of reinventing the PC, HP’s Spectre Folio is definitely considered one of the extra fascinating PCs that we’ve seen in 2018. It truly has a leather physique; no, it’s not a leather cowl. It’s truly a PC that’s product of leather.

It’s additionally a distinctive type issue. Typical folio instances solely present one or two viewing angles. With the Spectre Folio, you possibly can regulate it nevertheless you need. It may be used as a normal laptop computer, or you possibly can detach the base of the show and regulate it then.

One key function although is 4G LTE, and HP says that that is the first Intel-based PC with gigabit mobile connectivity. Except for that, it has a Core i7-8500Y, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Right here’s our evaluation.


CPU Intel Core i7-8500Y (1.5GHz base frequency, as much as four.2GHz with Turbo Increase, 4MB cache) GPU Intel UHD Graphics 615 Show 13.Three″ diagonal FHD IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit contact display with Corning Gorilla Glass four (1920 x 1080) Physique 32.01×23.45×1.54cm, 1.48kg Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt Three (Knowledge Switch as much as 40 Gb/s, Energy Supply, DP1.2, HP Sleep and Cost)
  • 1 USB Three.1 Sort-C™ Gen 1 (Knowledge switch as much as 5 Gb/s, Energy Supply, DP1.2, HP Sleep and Cost)
  • 1 headphone/microphone combo
RAM 16GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM SSD 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD Webcam HP Broad Imaginative and prescient HDR IR digital camera with twin array digital microphone Audio Bang & Olufsen, quad audio system OS Home windows 10 Residence Worth $1,758.98

Clearly, there are a number of configurations to select from. It can save you $300 off of this worth by going with a Core i5 and 8GB RAM, or it can save you $100 by selecting the Core i7 with 8GB RAM. 4G LTE got here in at a premium of $158.99, after which there are upgrades. You’ll be able to rise up to a 2TB SSD by tacking on $1,zero40 to the worth, though an improve to 512GB would simply be $140 extra (1TB is $440). There’s additionally an choice for a 4K show for $120 extra.

Day one

Design and type issue

I truly didn’t assume I’d like the Spectre Folio when it was first introduced. Leather simply isn’t my factor, nevertheless it turned out that that is a system I’d fall in love with moderately shortly. The leather feels elegant and the type issue is intuitive.

I’m no professional on leather, however I’d in all probability examine the texture to the really feel of the leather on a basketball. It kind of feels clean and textured at the similar time. It’s chrome-tanned leather, and I’m not even going to fake to know what meaning. It is available in Cognac Brown and Bordeaux Burgundy. I used to be despatched the former, primarily as a result of the Burgundy isn’t out but; I’ve seen it although and it’s in all probability the one you need. They each look nice, however I feel Bordeaux Burgundy is the candy spot.

Once you open it up, it’s a laptop computer, and that is a key distinction between different tablet-style units. It has a sturdy keyboard and a actual laptop computer hinge. However then, the show pops out and you may regulate it nevertheless you need. It’s actually meant to take a seat proper between the keyboard and the trackpad, however you’ll be able to modify it to totally different angles. I truly used this technique fairly a few occasions for taking handwritten notes with the pen.

The one actual challenge with the design is that, like many units which might be so skinny and lightweight, there’s no straightforward approach to take it aside. Once more, this isn’t a laptop computer with a leather cowl. It’s truly manufactured from leather, so there aren’t any screws which you can take out to disassemble it.

So far as ports go, you’ll discover two Thunderbolt Three ports on the proper aspect of the system. Every one can deal with knowledge switch speeds of 40Gbps, they usually can energy two 4K screens or a single 5K monitor, from every one. In fact, you gained’t need to hook up with that many exterior screens with the built-in graphics that come with the Y-series processor, however we’ll cowl that in the efficiency part.

On the left aspect, there’s a USB Three.1 Gen 1 Sort-C port, which may do 5Gbps knowledge switch. It has a DisplayPort lane as nicely, in order that can also energy a monitor. You’ll additionally discover a Three.5mm combo audio jack on the left aspect, however this port is situated on the piece that the show is hooked up to.

Lastly, in the event you flip up the show, you’ll be able to look beneath it and discover a nano-SIM slot. Clearly, this isn’t meant to be accessed typically.

Above the show is the place the webcam is situated, and this gadget does embrace an IR digital camera for Home windows Good day. HP is massive on facial recognition, one thing that I’ve to commend it for. Corporations like Lenovo appear to need to persist with fingerprint sensors, however I actually assume that facial recognition is the approach to go. There’s one thing pure about sitting in entrance of a PC and having it simply acknowledge you.

The factor that I actually respect about the design although is simply how skinny and lightweight it’s, and the way snug it’s to hold round. For some cause, it simply doesn’t really feel like a laptop computer. It feels nicer and extra nice in some inexplicable approach.


The HP Spectre Folio has a 13.Three-inch display that is available in 1080p and 4K flavors. I used to be despatched the 1080p mannequin, and there’s a compromise to be made right here. 1080p may be a bit low for a 13.Three-inch show, and also you’ll undoubtedly see a distinction with 4K; nevertheless, 4K will use extra battery. I’ve to say although, so far as battery life goes, I by no means had hassle getting by way of the day with this gadget.

The display could be very shiny, making it a little robust to make use of in shiny daylight. That is a actual challenge with a 4G LTE PC, which is supposed to be taken anyplace. The display goes as much as 400 nits, so it’s usable, however you’ll undoubtedly discover how shiny it’s in brilliant lighting circumstances.

One other situation I had with the show is that my mannequin has some mild bleed alongside the backside. It’s not a main concern and it’s barely noticeable, however I’d be remiss to not point out it.

Aside from that, the display seems nice. The colours are vibrant as could be with an LCD. It helps contact and pen enter, as you’d anticipate from a gadget with this manner issue.

One different factor that I need to level out about the show is that there’s no Positive View choice. Positive View is HP’s privateness show, which retains individuals from wanting over your shoulder and seeing what’s in your display. The function debuted on HP’s EliteBooks and has since made its method to the Spectre lineup. HP representatives have informed me that there are two sorts of individuals: people who want Positive View, and people who don’t know they want Positive View. Given how bullish the agency has been on the know-how, I’m dissatisfied to not see it in the Folio.

Keyboard and audio system

HP stated that it goals to unravel a lot of the ache factors with convertibles in the Spectre Folio, and it definitely solves the ache factors of removable tablets. Certainly one of the methods it does so is with the keyboard. That is a actual laptop computer keyboard with a metallic base and metallic keys, somewhat than a flimsy attachable keyboard.

The keyboard is snug to sort on, and certainly one of the causes for it’s because it has a leather palm relaxation. The leather begins proper under the spacebar. The keys are fairly quiet too, and that was a bit shocking provided that they’re metallic keys on a metallic base.

Finally, the most spectacular factor about the Spectre Folio to me if that in case you don’t take away the show, it features as a full laptop computer. It seems to be like one, and it completely seems like one. There actually aren’t any compromises made when it comes to the type issue.

Above the keyboard is a Bang & Olufsen speaker bar. The audio on this system is nice, one other factor that you simply gained’t discover on similarly-sized convertibles. HP has been partnering with B&O for a while, and its units are likely to have superior audio high quality as a outcome. The audio system are loud, they usually’re clear. The good thing about the type issue is that because you’re not folding a show again on a 180-degree hinge, these audio system are all the time firing up at you.

I’d say that the trackpad is a bit smaller than I’d prefer it to be. We’re actually dwelling in an age of massive glass trackpads, so seeing one which’s smaller than on competing units simply feels bizarre. It’s undoubtedly certainly one of the smaller trackpads on the market, however it didn’t compromise my utilization of it. Additionally, the trackpad is clickable, one thing that’s not a given on a system that’s so skinny and lightweight.


HP boasts that the Spectre Folio is the first Intel-based PC with help gigabit 4G LTE. The agency isn’t simply speaking about the CPU, as there are Intel-based PCs with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 modem like the Floor Professional, although Microsoft’s PCs are throttled to 450Mbps. This gadget truly has an Intel LTE modem.

4G LTE will get its personal part although as a result of I feel that it’s one among the most helpful options on a trendy PC. It’s extremely handy to only be related to the web from wherever you’re. The truth is, I’ve been championing mobile connectivity on all units for years, all the time recommending mobile iPads and such. It’s value the extra cash.

The rationale I’ve all the time heard for not needing mobile connectivity is that you need to use your telephone as a hotspot. However not solely is devoted LTE quicker, it’s simply extra handy. Sure, you’ll be able to hook up with public Wi-Fi in lots of locations, however these often have a sign-in display that’s simply a ache. Very similar to with your telephone, it’s a lot simpler to only be related to the web once you get up the gadget.

There’s one factor to say relating to gigabit LTE particularly, and it’s that most individuals don’t have entry to it. For those who’re in a main metropolis, you may need it, however that’s about it. Normal LTE speeds are nonetheless round 50Mbps.


Sadly, efficiency is the one space the place the Spectre Folio is missing. HP went with Intel’s Amber Lake processors, that are its eighth-generation Y-series chips. The Core i5 and i7 which are used would have been referred to as Core m5 and m7 again in the sixth-generation days, they usually have been later rebranded for the seventh-generation period. In different phrases, it has an i7, nevertheless it’s not the similar i7 that you simply’ll discover in an ultrabook.

This era’s Y-series has a 5W TDP, and it’s dual-core. Word that the Seventh-gen chips have been four.5W. In truth, the Spectre Folio is the solely gadget I do know of that makes use of the 5W chips. Y-series, and the unique Core M that shipped in the fifth-generation, is designed for skinny units like this with out followers, so it does make sense that HP used it.

It’s simply tough on efficiency. The machine itself is considerably sluggish. It’s nothing horrible, and in case you’re solely utilizing it for productivity-related duties, you won’t even discover it. It’s principally in app-loading occasions the place it’s noticeable. In fact, productiveness duties are precisely what you’d use this machine for. You don’t purchase one thing that’s so skinny and lightweight and anticipate to edit movies on it.

And you can’t edit movies on it. You possibly can set up something from Adobe CC, however just about each app will choke up actually shortly. I did some mild Photoshop utilizing the Spectre Folio, and it wasn’t straightforward.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark eight. First up is the Residence check, which checks widespread duties like informal gaming, net searching, video chat, and so forth.

So far as the House check goes, it did OK. And that’s simply it; the efficiency is simply OK. Subsequent up is the Artistic check, which checks extra GPU-intensive duties like video modifying and mainstream gaming.

Lastly, we’ve got the Work check, which checks productivity-related duties like writing and spreadsheets.

The Work check is the place it actually shines. Like I stated, you’re going to need to persist with productiveness on this gadget.

Whereas the Spectre Folio doesn’t have the efficiency that you simply may anticipate from a gadget that prices over $1,700, you’re actually shopping for into the type issue. It’s not simply the leather design, however it’s the new tackle a convertible, the skinny and lightweight type issue that makes this a nice expertise.


The HP Spectre Folio is admittedly a pretty system, and I didn’t anticipate to take pleasure in it as a lot as I’ve. It simply feels good to make use of and it feels good to hold. HP clearly put a lot of thought into how this was engineered, from the leather design, to the distinctive type issue, to little issues like the IR digital camera, a strong keyboard, and 4G LTE.

The system is just not with out its flaws, although. I’d have favored to have seen HP work out easy methods to embrace a U-series processor in it, or perhaps the subsequent era can embrace Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx. I’d additionally wish to have seen a Positive View choice, a function that I’ve actually come to take pleasure in from HP.

However finally, in case you purchase the Spectre Folio, you’re going to completely like it. I like to recommend getting a comparable configuration to the one which HP despatched me, together with 16GB RAM and 4G LTE. The extra RAM will probably be completely value it with the 5W processor, and 4G LTE is a type of conveniences the place you gained’t understand how nice it’s till you have got it.

You possibly can take a look at the HP Spectre Folio on right here.


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