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HP Spectre 13 review:

HP Spectre 13

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The Good Attractive, sturdy aluminium chassis. The 2560 x 1440 display makes pixel-spotting next to impossible.

The Bad A dedicated GPU would be nice at this price. 802.11ac should be mandatory.

The Bottom Line This designer Ultrabook sacrifices performance for its thin lines, yet the use of an all-aluminium case makes it surprisingly heavy. One for the fashionistas.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.3 Overall

If you're looking for an Ultrabook with killer good looks to match your expensive designer clothes, the Spectre 13 should match your wardrobe nicely. The sexy aluminium case combines with an edgeless display to deliver a laptop that wouldn't look out of place on the catwalk at a fashion show. This is great news for fashion lovers, but once we dig beneath the skin, is the Spectre 13 just another hollow beauty or is there real substance behind its immaculate façade?

Design and features

HP has used a clever tapering design to make the Spectre 13 look even thinner than it already is. At the palm-wrist edge of the base it's just a few millimetres thick, but even at the deepest edge it's still only 15mm deep. Brushed aluminium is used throughout, giving this pretty product a deceptively rugged backbone.

A 13.3 inch touchscreen swivels out on a sturdy set of brackets, helping to stop the screen swaying too much when touched. Considering the size of the screen, the phenomenal 2560 x 1440 resolution looks gorgeous, delivering a razor sharp image. The use of a glossy finish on the display is questionable though, turning the entire screen into a perfect mirror under challenging lighting conditions. While this might fit in with the whole fashion angle, it's not helpful when you need to use the Spectre 13 outdoors. Thankfully the overall image quality is excellent, though it did struggle with black levels, an issue common to many laptops. Twin speakers by Beats, the same brand behind the woeful Beats by Dre headphones, deliver rather average audio.

Despite the very slim dimensions, the Spectre 13 is a rather solid little Ultrabook, weighing 1.62kg. This surprisingly heavy weight is likely a result of the all-metal construction, which suggests it'll easily handle the bumps and scrapes of a life on the road.

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