The Spectre XT also surprised me with its performance. The original Spectre cost £1199 and had an 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-2677M Sandy Bridge processor that achieved a score of 3531 in the PCMark 7 benchmark test. Priced at £899, currently the Spectre XT is only available in a single configuration featuring a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD drive.
PCMark 7 Results
Longer bars are better
However, that Core i5 processor is the latest Ivy Bridge edition and it managed to rack up a PCMark 7 score of 5200 – outgunning not just the original Spectre, but pretty much every other Ultrabook I've seen recently. It certainly felt snappy in use too, waking from sleep in a couple of seconds and launching the always-sluggish Photoshop Elements in just five seconds.
With that level of performance, I dared to hope for the impossible and fired up Far Cry 2 to see how the Spectre XT would cope with a spot of 3D gaming. Sadly, the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics didn’t prove much of an improvement over the Sandy Bridge era HD 3000, bringing me down to earth with a barely playable 25fps.
Battery life doesn’t quite match that of the original Spectre either, down from a full 4hrs to 3hrs 10mins when running the Futuremark's rigorous PowerMark benchmark utility. However, it did manage a full five hours when using Wi-Fi to stream some old episodes of Red Dwarf on LoveFilm, so you should be able to get a full day’s work out of it for lighter tasks such as running MS Office apps.
Lighter touch in more ways than one
There’s some room for improvement on battery life, but the more I used it the more I found myself liking the Spectre XT. It’s slim, light, fast, and – by Ultrabook standards – competitively priced. If I were HP I’d quit now while I was ahead and forget about the touch-screen gubbins they’re already talking about for the next model. ®
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HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review
stopping reviewing these favourably
£900 + 1366x768 screen should automatically mean a harsh review hopefully containing words like unacceptable, useless, waste of money.
I talked to a Toshiba guy at a trade fair and asked him why the screen resolutions were so low, he had no idea it was a problem and I can only blame the press for that.
If people are playing a premium price they want a premium product. That means not only a high resolution screen but also 8GB of RAM.
1366 by 768?
It's 2012 - not 2002
Not quite there yet
Matte IPS 1920x1080 13"
Would be a fair spec for the £800-£900 price point.
Point me to the above spec for less than £1k and I would buy one tomorrow.
Given that more and more applications are recommending higher resolutions, this is becoming an issue. Were I paying £300-400, I could accept this resolution, but this is a bit poor on a £900 machine, even with SSD, a slim form factor and a fancy new processor.