Related topics

HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

Slim, light, fast...

Game on?

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

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

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.

HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

Lighter touch in more ways than one

Verdict

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. ®

More Ultrabook Reviews

Acer Aspire
Timeline M3 Ultra
Toshiba
Portégé
Z830-10N
Ivy Bridge
for Ultrabooks
HP Envy 4
1010ea
Dell
XPS 13

Sponsored: Today’s most dangerous security threats

80%
HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

HP's latest stab at Ultrabook form factor gets with the programme with this lightweight Ivy Bridge offering.
Price: £899 RRP