Feeds
80%
HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

Slim, light, fast...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Game on?

More from The Register

next story
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
Turn OFF your phone or WE'LL ALL DI... live? Europe OKs mobes, tabs non-stop on flights
Airlines given green light to allow gate-to-gate jibber-jabber
Be your own Big Brother: Keeping an eye on Mum and Dad
All watched over by machines of loving grace
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.