The ultra-thin HP Spectre is the best MacBook alternative you can find


The HP Spectre is the world’s thinnest laptop at 0.41 cm thick .

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

PC manufacturers have been trying to replicate the MacBook Air for years with little success.

Alternatives including2-in-1 convertibles, transformers and touchscreens have intrigued patrons, but none have been as popular Apple’s laptop.

So HP decided on another strategy to compete with the MacBook Air: just get the basics right, with no gimmicky tricks.

HP’s newSpectreisn’t just the current world’s thinnest laptop it’s also one of the most beautiful laptops ever generated. And the Windows 10 machine seems good without compromising on ports or performance.

A bold statement


There are a lot of MacBook Air clones out there, i.e. silver laptops with black keyboards. Going up with a new spin on that intend isn’t easy.

The Spectre is part CNC’d aluminum( screen and body) and component carbon fiber( underbelly) and all sexy. Mashable senior tech correspondent Christina Warren called the Spectre the Kate Moss of laptops when we unboxed it, and I agree.

Thinner than MacBook Air


Precision-cut aluminum


HP’s made a remarkably beautiful machine here. At 0.41 cm thick, it’s thinner than the 11 – and 13 -inch MacBook Air’s thickest phase( 0.68 inches ). And at 2.45 pounds, it’s likewise lighter than the 13 -inch MacBook Air, which weighs 2.96 pounds. It’s likewise thinner than the newer, ultra-thin MacBook, which is 0.52 inch at it’s thickest point.

Smooth stylish hinge


Easily picks up fingerprints


Then there’s the Spectre’s one-of-a-kind refined hinge.To get the computer so thin, HP had to look beyond regular laptops for inspiration. HP settled onpiston hinges inspired by those found in high-end furniture. The purpose outcome is a showing that opens in one smooth motion. When open, the showing appears to swim above the hinge. The polished-copper finish radiates luxury, provoking high-end jewelry and handbags, although it’s macho enough to appeal to guys.


On each side of the keyboard are grilles for the Bang& Olufsen-tuned speakers. They’re not particularly loud and the music is middling, but at the least the speakers project voiced up at you; the MacBook Air’s speakers are more smothered since they’re underneath the keyboard.

Balancing act

There are always tradeoffs between intend and performance. In most cases, a thinner, lighter and smaller laptop comes at the expense of power and battery life. A thicker laptop is, well, chunkier, heavier and has more power and more room for a bigger battery.

Apple’s 13 -inch MacBook Air is the champion when it comes to long battery life. The Air also has solid performance, but the screen is pretty low-res by today’s standards.

Windows 10


Microsoft Edge browser


The Spectre, thin as it is, comes with either a sixth-gen Intel Core i5 ($ 1,169.99) or i7 ($ 1,249.99; the model I tested ). All models come with 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of PCIe solid-state drive storage. A third model with the i7, 8GB of RAM and 512 GB of PCIe SSD expenses $1,499.99.

That’s performance on-par with the 13 -inch MacBook Air and far more power than the 12 -inch MacBook, which applies a puny Intel Core M processor.

The Spectre comes with either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor.


As my daily machine for a few weeks, the Spectre proved to be a dependable workhorse.

As my daily machine for a few weeks, the Spectre proved to be a dependable workhorse. Windows 10 is solid and Microsoft’s new Edge web browser has grown on me. I likewise visualized longer battery life employing Edge over Chrome.

HP rates battery life as up to 9 hours and 45 minutes. My usual workday contained in havingdozens of tabs open in Edge and Chrome, writing in a text editor, streaming music via Spotify in the background, editing photos in Photoshop, and watching a couple of videos on YouTube. On average, I got around 6-7 hours. Not quite the~ 10 hours HP advertises, but solid in my book for getting through a day.

The Spectre applies a special hyperbaric cooling system to keep the computer cool, but the fans still kick up and the computer get warm under medium workloads.


Your own mileage will vary depending on what kind of things you’re doing and whether you’re pushing the processor to its limits or not( you’ll know because the fan kicks up and the base get very warm ).

A few of my colleagues asked me about the screen resolving as soon as I got the Spectre in for review and groaned when I told them it’s a full HD( 1,920 x 1,080) panel. Sure, that’s not quite a “Retina” display, but recollect, the Spectre is going up directly against the MacBook Air not the 13 -inch MacBook Pro and by that comparison, it’s sharper than the 1,440 x 900 resolution of the Air.

The screen is bright and it’s a little more reflective than I’m allows one to( HP’s laptop screens always seem to be more reflective for some reason ), but the see slants are good, and colours are pretty accurate.

Excellent keyboard


Not the best trackpad

Image: brittany herbert/ mashable

Typing on the Spectre is a pleasurable experience. The island-style keys are well spaced and have a nice bouncy( 1.3 mm) travel to them definitely better than the flat-ass buttons on the 12 -inch MacBook, which feel like you’re grinding your thumb bones right into them.

Historically, HP’s always had issues with its laptop trackpads. The glass trackpad on the Spectre is on the small side and it could be a little more responsive. The mouse occasionally lags you are able to speed up the tracking hasten in the system situates but it really should be a whole lot better at this point.

Going all in on USB-C

The Spectre has three USB-C ports, all capable of accusing the computer.


USB-C( likewise called USB Type-C) is the Holy Grail of ports. The smaller, reversible port, capable of accuse, video output and data transfer, is the port of the future.

We’re only a year into USB-C demonstrating up on devices, but it’s making good progress. Computer manufacturers are still transitioning to new port, so they’re not quite ready to ditch legacy ports like HDMI and full-sized USB 3.0 just yet, but HP’s betting it all on USB-C with the Spectre.

Unlike Apple, HP’s smart enough to know that one wants more than just one USB-C port. The Spectre has three USB-C ports all of them capable of accusing the laptop. Two of them even support Thunderbolt 3 velocities. All three USB-C ports can also output video to a 4K monitor( but simply to two simultaneously ).

Two ports are Thunderbolt 3


3. 5mm headphone jack


With three USB-C ports, you are able to accusation the Spectre, output video to an external showing and plug in an accessory without needing to buy a dock or multi-port adapter. You’ll still need to buy an adapter for connecting full-sized USB accessories to the USB-C port, but those are cheap and there are now more USB-C accessories( like hard drives and flash drives) than last year.

The Spectre is missing an SD card slot. I’m starting to see more laptops drop remembrance card slots and that’s really upsetting. For guys like me who shoot a lot of photos on their cameras and wishes to offload them to a laptop quickly, it’s a big loss.

The bar has been raised


Our expectancies of laptops changed eternally that very day in 2008 when Steve Jobs stood on stage and slipped the original MacBook Air out of a manila envelope.

Apple made two things clear: Premium intend and thinness would be the new primary reasons when choosing a laptop. Power and ports not so much. But Apple was wrong. While thin is still something people care about, it turns out people want a solid a better balance between kind and function. Apple did eventually deliver that balance with the redesigned 2010 MacBook Air.

I’d buy the Spectre in a heartbeat.

And now HP’s doing the same for the Windows world.

HP’s Spectre attempts no gimmicks. There’s no touchscreen. There’s no battery-sucking 4K showing. There’s no rotatable screen. Just a sharp focus on the essentials to a thin and light laptop: powerful performance, bright crisp showing, solid keyboard, good trackpad and long-enough battery life.

I’d buy the Spectre in a heartbeat if I didn’t switch to being a Mac guy all those years ago.

HP Spectre

The Good

Beautiful, premium intend Ultra-thin 3 USB-C ports( 2 of which are Thunderbolt 3) Bright, sharp showing Real laptop performance

The Bad

Sharp backside corners Good battery life, but not the best in class

The Bottom Line

The HP Spectre is the the best MacBook Air challenger to date.

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