HP Spectre XT Touchsmart review: HP Spectre XT Touchsmart

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Typical Price: £1,000.00
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 6 user reviews

The Good Full HD display; Responsive touch-enabled screen; Sturdy metal design.

The Bad Expensive; Screen is a little dim.

The Bottom Line The HP Spectre XT Touchsmart boasts a slim, metal body, a decent serving of power and a Full HD touch-enabled screen for swiping around Windows 8. It's let down by its high price, but you still get quite a bit for the money.

7.5 Overall

So you've been enticed by the colourful tiles of Windows 8 and want to dive into it on a touchscreen laptop? But you also want a colourful screen, enough performance for everyday tasks and you want to carry it around in a slim bag?

Blimey, how about the moon on a stick? But wait! HP's Spectre XT Touchsmart might be just the ticket. It provides all of the above and doesn't look too bad doing it. It will, however, set you back the cool price of £1,000.

If it floats your boat and you don't mind missing a month's rent, it's available now from John Lewis.

Should I buy the HP Spectre XT Touchsmart?

With its 15-inch display, slim, metal body and decent performance, the Spectre XT is perfect for general computing on the go. The display's Full HD resolution and good grasp of colours makes it handy for movie lovers too.

Its touchscreen means using all those crucial Windows 8 gestures and prodding at its large icons is made enjoyably easy, but it does of course add a premium. At £1,000, the Spectre XT isn't cheap. Strip out the touchscreen and you can find slim machines with similar performance for less money.

HP's Pavilion 15-b146sa Sleekbook doesn't have the Full HD resolution or the touchscreen, but packs similar internal components, Windows 8 software and costs less than half the price of the Spectre XT. At the other end of the scale, Acer's Aspire S7 is incredibly slim and packs a powerful punch, but will set you back upwards of £1,500.

At £1,000 it might be rather steep, but it's a good all-round machine and it makes a stab at trying to justify the money with its classy body. If you can find it on offer somewhere for a little less, it's worth considering, but at this price I can't wholeheartedly recommend it.

Design and build quality

The Spectre XT is unmistakably an HP machine. Its outside is clad in the exact same brushed metal you'll find on its older Pavilion DV7 laptop. It's not an unattractive finish, but I think it's a little overused and is beginning to feel dated. I certainly prefer the glass top of HP's Envy Spectre 14 .

It is at least much smaller than the Pavilion. It measures 22mm thick and weighs 2.15kg, which is pretty heavy for something claiming to be an ultrabook. It'll fit comfortably inside a backpack, but you probably won't want to drag it around town all day.

HP Spectre XT Touchsmart back
The brushed-metal look is a little 2012 for me.

The metal lid helps give the machine a more luxurious look and, together with the firm, rubberised base, will help protect the delicate internals from knocks and bumps. There's little flex in the lid and none in the wrist rest and keyboard tray, which makes it seem generally well put together.

There's a slightly off-putting plastic bezel around the very edge of the screen, which is rather cheap, but generally I didn't have any worries about it falling apart. That's a relief, given you're dropping a grand.

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