HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 Review

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Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Daniel Osakwe

Review of the HP Spectre Pro 13 G1.

Pros

  • I love the design and the colors.
  • Ultra-thin
  • The screen is bright.
  • 3 USB-C ports (2 of which are Thunderbolt 3).

Cons

  • Below-average battery life
  • No traditional USB ports.

One of the most interesting, unique, and innovative aspects of the recently released Spectre x360 is the inclusion of a digitizer pen. While the pen is not the first digitizer pen to be included with a laptop, the Spectre x360 has some interesting new features that make it stand out from the crowd.

The first thing that you will notice about the Spectre x360 is its thin profile. It is only 1.1 inches thick and weighs 2.45 pounds, making it one of the thinnest and lightest 13-inch laptops on the market. While many manufacturers continue to make ultra-thin laptops, the Spectre x360 manages to make the whole package feel more compact and portable.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 Specs

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1
Brand HP
CPU 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
Company Website www.hp.com
Display Size 13.3
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 620
Hard Drive Size 256GB
Hard Drive Speed n/a
Hard Drive Type SSD
Highest Available Resolution 1920 x 1080
Native Resolution 1920×1080
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Optical Drive None
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-C
RAM 8GB
Size 12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41-inches
Touchpad Size 3.7 x 2.1-inches
USB Ports 3
Video Memory Shared
Warranty/Support standard one-year warranty
Weight 2.45 pounds
Wi-Fi 802.11ac

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Design

  • Ultra-thin
  • Lightweight
  • Attractive design
  • It has a specially engineered hinge design.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

Despite its slim, 0.41-inch-thick chassis, the Spectre would still look great even if it were a little thicker. The HP logo is sleek and subtle, while still exuding a sense of class. The combination of copper and charcoal (HP calls it “ash silver”) is like champagne and caviar.

Spectre’s hinge has attracted criticism for its fingerprint-loving mirror finish, but do you know what else attracts smudges? Your jewelry, your watch, and your car. If I have to settle for a few streaks to have style, I am Mr. Clean.

A thin system such as the Spectre requires specially engineered hinges. Though they may seem odd at first, these hinges were inspired by those on a piano, and they offer the kind of artistry and stability that feels right at home on a machine of such high quality. As opposed to being stuffed in a bag or on a desk, the Spectre looks like it should belong in a museum. That’s how pretty it is.

In terms of size and weight, the Spectre weighs 2.45 pounds and measures 12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches. These include ultrathin 2-in-1s like the Lenovo Yoga 910 (12.72 x 8.84 x 0.56 inches and 3.04 pounds) and our top overall notebook, the Dell XPS 13 (11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33-0.6 inches and 2.7 pounds). Despite this, the Spectre has a slightly larger footprint than the other two due to its larger bezel.

Acer’s Swift 7 is the thinnest 13-inch system, measuring 12.8 x 9 x 0.39 inches and weighing 2.46 pounds. To achieve its sleek dimensions, the Swift made even more sacrifices than the HP.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Touchpad and Keyboard

  • A smooth and responsive touchpad
  • Simple to use keyboard
  • Backlit available

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

Unlike many other ultrathin laptops, the Spectre doesn’t sacrifice typing comfort. I think the backlit keyboard on the Spectre is one of the best I’ve used, regardless of its size. I liked the strong but not too stiff 65-gram actuation weight and the crisp action of the keyboard despite 1.15mm of travel. Whenever I switched to another laptop, I found myself missing the keyboard on the Spectre.

Its smooth, one-piece, glass touchpad has a great feel and plenty of space when you click it. The jumpiness issues we experienced on the original Spectre back in June 2016 have been resolved completely. Everything is accurate now.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Display

  • 319 nits
  • Bright screen

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

There are three words that describe the Spectre’s 13-inch, full-HD screen: bold, bright, and beautiful. In a teaser for Disney’s new animated short “Piper,” I was captivated by the contrast between the fluffy feathers of the birds and the sparkle of the water.

In terms of brightness, the Spectre offers 319 nits, which is among the highest in its class. With 327 and 319 nits, the 12-inch MacBook and Acer Swift 7 were in the same league, while Dell’s XPS 13 trailed slightly behind with 303 nits.

Furthermore, the Spectre covered 106.4 % of the sRGB color space. This is nearly on par with Apple’s 12-inch MacBook (107 %) and the Acer Swift 7 (106 nits), and better than the Dell XPS 13 (94 %).

Last but not least, the Spectre’s color accuracy fell short, with a Delta-E of 6.93. By contrast, Apple’s 12-inch MacBook (1), Dell’s XPS 13 (1.3), and Lenovo’s Yoga 910 (0.76) have more accurate displays. The Delta-E of Acer’s Swift 7 was 4.13 (numbers closer to zero are better).

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Audio

  • Clear sound
  • Sound can be easily adjusted.

In spite of the Spectre’s lack of speakers, it acquits itself admirably when it comes to audio. Like many other notebooks, the audio can sound a bit flat at times, and the bass isn’t as strong as I would like it to be. I was surprised by how well the Bang & Olufsen speakers reproduced “Shotgun” Tom Kelly’s voice and the song’s rich piano chords when listening to Fred Falke’s “Radio Days.”

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Heat

For this ultrathin laptop, HP designed a “hyperbaric” cooling chamber that uses fans to create a pocket, suck in air from the bottom vent, and release hot air from the back vent. The bottom of the laptop gets unbearably warm when you do more than simple browsing and light productivity.

Streaming movies may not trigger the fans, but the system can still get hot enough that using it on your lap is not recommended. A 15-minute stream of HD video from Hulu produced a bottom vent temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just above our 95-degree comfort threshold. 

At 86.5 and 92.5 degrees, respectively, the touchpad and the area between the G and H keys were significantly cooler.

Spectre’s temperature can soar even higher if you do much more than browse the web or watch Netflix. Several times, in the middle of multitasking, the space between the bottom vents was measured at over 120 degrees, which is when heat stops being annoying and becomes a bit painful. The fan can become quite loud depending on how hot it gets, sometimes to the point of becoming a nuisance.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Ports and Webcams

  • 3 USB Type-C ports
  • No SD card reader
  • No HDMI port.

Due to its thinness, there are only two USB Type-C ports on this laptop, instead of the traditional Type-A slot. However, unlike Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, HP’s laptop provides three USB-C ports, one with USB 3.1 and two with Thunderbolt 3. As a result, you’ll never have to choose between recharging your laptop and connecting a peripheral.

The three ports on the side can be used for charging, data transfer, and video out. In order to connect one or more 4K displays, you’ll need to use one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Those looking for extras like an SD card reader or HDMI port are out of luck. Other than the three USB-C connectors, there is only a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack.

Spectre also includes an HD webcam flanked on either side by a mic, offering crisp audio during video calls and voice chat. Sadly, the camera’s 1280 x 720 images are not quite as sharp. I saw blotches and dark spots on my face, even in our brightly lit office when I looked at the webcam.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Performance

  • Core i7 processor
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • Processor Intel Core iU-series

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

HP won’t compromise on performance. The Spectre has full Intel Core I U-series processors, unlike competitors such as the Acer Swift 7. The Spectre outperformed the Swift by 40% in our review unit, which had a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 chip, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The performance advantage can be enormous for people who need to multitask or do some light video editing.

According to Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, our Spectre configuration scored 7,888. It outperformed all of the notebook’s competitors, including the core i7-powered Dell XPS 13s (7,287) and Swift 7s (5,519).

In our spreadsheet test, the Spectre sorted 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice in 3 minutes, 35 seconds, beating both the XPS 13 (3:44) and the Acer Swift 7 (4:45).

The Spectre’s 256GB SSD was also able to copy mixed-media files from a DVD within 17 seconds, completing the transfer at a rate of 299 MBps. Using an Apple MacBook and a Dell XPS 13 as benchmarks, the Apple MacBook ran at 355.9 and 339.31 MBps, respectively, while the Swift 7 ran at 115.66 MBps.

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1: Graphics

Even though the Spectre isn’t designed for serious gaming, you can play less demanding games such as League of Legends on it or do some light editing. However, you will have to turn down the settings.

On 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test, the Intel 620 HD graphics scored 889, higher than the average ultraportable’s score of 645 and higher than that of the Acer Swift 7 (582). In terms of graphics power, however, the Dell Core i7 XPS 13 showed a small advantage at 927.

Battery Life

HP Spectre Pro 13 G1

One of the biggest concerns with the Spectre’s super thin design is that there is little room for batteries. The Spectre lasted a disappointing 6 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. HP did some innovative engineering by dividing the battery into four sections.

It took an average of 8:07 hours for ultraportable laptops, and even the Swift 7 from Acer finished an hour and 20 minutes faster, at 7:25. The Dell XPS 13 (13:49) and Apple MacBook (12:38) offer significantly longer runtimes, as well as Lenovo’s Yoga 910 (10:36) which is also non-touch.

Warranty and Software

There isn’t much bloat on the Spectre, though it does come with a trial of McAfee LiveSafe. A number of HP utilities are included in HP’s Windows 10 laptop, including its Support Assistant app.

With regards to parts and labor, HP offers a one-year warranty for the Spectre. 

Setups and rivals

Starting at $1,070, the Spectre comes with a 13.3-inch non-touch display, a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive. The system we reviewed comes with a Core i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD for $1,250.

HP’s laptop is more affordable in any of these configurations than Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook. Apple’s systems both have superior battery life, and the 12-inch model has a sharper screen than the Spectre, but they cost less. Starting at $1,299, the 12-inch MacBook comes with a slow Core m3 CPU, only one port, and the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD the Spectre provides, all for $130 less. It has a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD, and costs $1,199, but its resolution is mediocre at 1440 x 900.

Spectre’s main competitor is Dell’s XPS 13, which has a starting price of $800, a much lower barrier to entry. However, the Dell system’s bezel-free Infinity display still looks stunning, and it has a wider variety of ports, including one Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3. In addition, the XPS 13 offers significantly better battery life than the Spectre, lasting 9:11 for a Core i7 model and an astounding 13:49 for a Core i5 non-touch model. However, if you want an XPS 13 with similar performance to our Spectre review unit, you’ll be looking at a price closer to $1,100.

Final Thoughts

The HP Spectre has a lot going for it: excellent design, groundbreaking thinness, a brilliant display, and now 7th generation Intel Core I performance. In spite of these highlights, it lacks creature comforts like an SD card reader and a touch-enabled display, as well as weak battery life.

For this reason, the Spectre can be compared to high-maintenance hypercars. Contrary to its road-going spirit animals, the Spectre is pretty reasonably priced, starting at just $1,070. We still like the Dell XPS 13 because of its long battery life, almost bezel-free screen, and strong port selection. Even so, the Spectre is still unsurpassed in terms of cool, making it a strong choice for anyone looking for the ultimate portable style.