Feeds
80%
HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

Slim, light, fast...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

The Spectre XT is HP’s third shot at an Ultrabook in less than six months. The gleaming Gorilla Glass livery of the original 14-inch Spectre was both eye-catching and rugged, but it was also very expensive and quite a bit heavier than you’d expect from an Ultrabook. That was quickly followed by the Envy 4, which was much more affordable but just as heavy – suggesting that HP was having a bit of trouble with the ‘ultra’ part of the equation.

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

Third time lucky? HP's Spectre XT 13-2000ea

Thankfully, the second-generation Spectre XT hits the nail on the head. Its brushed-metal design is more conventional than that of its predecessor, but it’s cheaper, lighter and – thanks to its Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor – quite a bit faster.

The weight problem has been tackled by the simple expedient of switching to a 13.3in display, which immediately allows the Spectre XT to drop almost half a kilo in weight – right down to a very portable 1.4kg. It’s slimmer too, measuring just 17.7mm thick, with the familiar tear-drop profile that we’ve come to expect from an Ultrabook.

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

Slimmed down and all the better for it

There’s little sign of cost-cutting in the design, though. The aluminium screen panel is thin, but feels nice and strong, and the brushed metal panel surrounding the keyboard thankfully resists finger marks. The keyboard and trackpad are well constructed and comfortable to use, and the 1366 x 768 display is bright and sharp, although its glossy, reflective finish may annoy some people. Even the Beats Audio speakers are a cut above average for a laptop of this size – higher frequencies still sound a bit tinny, but at least you can listen to some music without cringing at the weediness of the sound.

It’s well-connected too, with both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, USB 2 and USB 3, memory card slot, and dual-purpose headphone/microphone socket. You even get a decent software bundle, including both Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, and a full two-year subscription to Norton Internet Security – which pops up on screen constantly, just to remind you of that fact.

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

Brushed metal casing stays fairly fingerprint free

If I were to search for a nit to pick then I’d point out that the thin, spindly power connector that protrudes from the right-hand side of the laptop looks distinctly snappable – like an accident waiting to happen. But, in terms of all-round design quality and ultra-portability, HP has pretty much got it right this time around.

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Game on?

More from The Register

next story
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.