HP Spectre Folio 13 Review – Leather 2-in-1 Laptop

by birtanpublished on May 8, 2021

This is Lisa from mobile tech review and now for something different which we don't get to say that often anymore there's a lot of products that are copies of copies of copies you know what I mean this is the HP Spectre folio 13 and no this is not a leather case on top of it this is a leather clad laptop before you think that's a bad idea wait bear with me here it's not unless you're you know a pet a person and animal cruelty and you just hate leather or something like that so this is a 13-inch convertible 2 in 1 laptop with the pen and unlike surface pro both the

Keyboard which is actually permanently attached and the pen are included in the box so what makes this so cool why do you need leather on a laptop granted HP has channel their inner Martha Stewart before and done some very pretty things but it's not just for the prettiness at this point which is kind of cool so when you open up this thing it's a regular laptop so no kickstand finally not another surface pro clone right so it's got all the rigidity and all the good laptop ergonomics on your lap of a regular laptop so that's pretty cool right and

We'll take a closer look to see how this thing is actually put together it's a little bit like the Sony Vaio duo evolved for those who remember it but this time with a more intelligent design because while the Sony Vaio duo had a very cramped little keyboard that they squeezed up here to allow you to have that kind of presentation mode this one the display kicks back and it still has a kind of metal thing going on here that holds the whole thing together with a hinge so you move it forward over the full-size keyboard and you've got tender presentation mode going on here and then

You keep going and then you've got tablet mode okay so why is this really neat and innovative and why is the leather kind of necessary well leather is a very durable and very flexible kind of material so yeah we have the metal hinge back here but you really need something to kind of hold the whole thing together and look aesthetically pleasing some man-made materials might be up to the job I wouldn't be surprised if we started to see clones of this in the future but one of the things about leather is is it can take repeated bending and use and all that sort of

Thing this is chrome tan leather which is the kind of leather has been used for making car seats for example on high-end seats like BMWs and Jaguars it has a pebbled texture it kind of reminds me of them so it's pretty heat and water resistant and fairly stain resistant and as you know with car seats ten years later your car seats if you have leather usually look pretty good you clean it up a little saddle soap or something like that so some man-made materials might become brittle for example with leather if they do things like put acrylic on the edges

Which they should do on the seams that stuff would crack so this is a kind of actually very clever way to make a much more usable version of the VAIO duo 13 we're gonna look at it now oK we've talked about the design of this and how its unique and interesting and hopefully it will be durable like car leather seats are fairly durable but it's still a bit of a concern let's talk about the specs and the pricing on this thing so there's a Best Buy model which is $13.99 which sits in between the two HP pricing and this is Intel eighth generation y series CPU confusingly they call the

Core i5 and core i7 but it's not the same CPU is used in the 15 watt ultrabooks that you see including HP's own Spectre x-360 13 inch that's now a quad-core CPU these are a dual core CPUs and it uses five watts so you're not getting quad core here you're looking at pretty much Intel seventh generation performance which is pretty remarkable because they are only using five watts right now for power so the upside of that is excellent battery life and a fan list design the downside is if you are looking for the utmost and performance and you buy an ultrabook but you really

Push it hard and you almost wish you had a mobile workstation and said well this isn't going to be it that's that it's not you know I I admit I've been an Intel Core and untill core Y bigot at times I haven't been thrilled with their performance but with this generation it's just like using it until seventh gen Ultrabook of any kind and the Intel HD 615 graphics benchmark pretty close to the HD 620 they used to be a bigger divide there with the integrated graphics now it's pretty close so you can see even on the benchmark scores that we did with the open CL test by

Geekbench and it's within you know 1% 2% of the score of the Intel HD 620 graphics so it's a pretty decent performer actually even if it's not the fastest you can get and that's the the fact that it isn't the fastest you can get is where a surface pro stick is gonna pull ahead because it now has those four core CPUs speaking of the surface pro six if you would like a snack then let me know in the comments for that in terms of the rest of the specs you can see them on screen I'm going to talk about them a little bit anyway though

You can go up to 16 gigs of ddr3 low-power RAM obviously they're conserving power here low-power ram + as a white series CPM the model that we have for $13.99 has eight gigs of ram and a 256 gig nvme SSD that's a faster kind of SSD if you wonder from HP's website you can go all the way up to a two terabyte SSD if you want and it has the same Intel AC 680 265 AC Wi-Fi as you've got on any other eighth generation ultrabooks same whether it's au series or Y series LTE 4G is optional the best buy model does not have it but you can get that from HP and believe me

There's gonna be a little Where's Waldo trying to figure out where that micro our nano SIM card slot is speaking of that I know you're wondering how is this really put together take a look at the design of this it's incredibly thin the way it's pretty much standard for a 13-inch ultrabook and you can see that on screen as well but it's extremely thin the brains are not in the display section like they would be in something like surface pro 6 for example because this actually is one connected piece like a laptop it has a very unusual innovative hinge at the bottom and then

A hinge halfway up that allows it to swivel into that tent mode and into the tablet mode so any heat that you feel is going to be on the bottom section not on the display section of this there isn't much heat even when playing since 6:00 and you can see that happening on-screen turn times are ok you know you might get a little impatient but it's playable certainly the only heat is above the keyboard between where the speakers are and this has quad Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers by the way and unlike much HP specters where they might have Bang & Olufsen audio whoo but the volume is

Very low this thing is bloody loud it's surprising it's not SuperDuper on the base it's not terrible either but you know it's pretty surprisingly good audio so if you do get that LTE 4G model the nano SIM card slot is in the upper section of the hinge you have to flip it over in tablet mode to access that the rest of the ports are on the base which is pretty cool stuff because you've got two Thunderbolt three ports here one of them is used for charging and it's full four lane four PCIe lanes 40 gigabit per second and one USB C gen one for it as well you can

Actually use any one of those for charging comes with a 65 watt charger it doesn't need a 65 watt charger but they do that so a charge is faster speaking of chargers this is the most boutique charger I've ever seen it's got a fabric cord wrapped around one section of it and also it's the smallest 65 watt charger I've ever seen cool the headphone jack is in the hinge section there is really hidden you really yeah I had to hunt for the ports on this thing because they're also micro tiny it's it's really something you can get this with a core i5 or a core i7 Y series CPU

We have the core i7 so the i5 is 1.3 gigahertz with turbo boost to 3.9 gigahertz pretty high turbo boost there the i7 is 1.5 gigahertz with turbo boost to 4.2 giggles now you get the idea why the performance on this is actually pretty good if you look at the benchmark numbers for something like Geekbench 4 which looks at the core performance on this it benchmarks faster actually than intel's seventh generation dual-core u series cpu so that's not cheap cheetos there that's not bad actually a couple of other neat facts the top is magnesium a lie the bottom section is primarily

Aluminum and it has the world's smallest laptop motherboard it was co-developed with Intel HP said that to work really tightly with Intel it's a develop that also the full HD display is supposed to be a 1 watt despite it means a lower power consumption display which is a technology intel had been working on with sharp though the panel is not made by sharp that's actually in our shipping model which is interesting but still it's cool ok so if those specs weren't cool enough especially for those who who are no

Takers or artist this also has a pen and it's in the box you don't have to pay extra for it it's a new take on HP's tilt pen it doesn't have the eraser on the back it doesn't have the USB C rechargeable function it takes a quadruple a battery and this is n-trig technology with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and so call tilt we'll get into that later well we've talking about some of the things that are pretty nifty about this and they are so what are the drawbacks well obviously it's made of leather you know if your kid pukes on it sorry but it

Happens you're gonna have to clean that right away and very carefully it is more susceptible to stains and damage the metal is even if it is chrome tanned and you know relatively likely to survive pretty well it will get where it will get a patina how much we don't know this is a brand new product it's not been done before so if you rather just have durable and not have to worry about any of that well there's that a lot like a surface pro six and some other more tablet centric devices on the market this is pretty much not user serviceable at least not that I can see

You'd have to pull that leather off and I it's really it's bonded on there so it seems like going to be a destructive process to actually pull it apart to get to the innards so this is you're gonna have to treat this like a tablet essentially you're not gonna be able to upgrade this after the fact and if it needs to be service you're either looking at destroying the leather are having HP do that for you lastly you can't separate the tablet section there is no tablet section like I said the brains is in the base just like a laptop so for those of you who

Are looking for a very light tablet to use in hand like the surface pro 6 or any other detachable tablet surface book to also that's not the case it may be a very comfortable folio and feel kind of natural for writing you know especially your lawyers out there I can really see a lawyer cozying down with the whole leather thing and taking some notes but you're gonna be holding that hold three point two eight pounds which is one point for something kilograms in your hands at all times it's very sturdy when it's in tent mode I mean you can write on this you can

Draw on this and likewise when it's in laptop mode it's also it doesn't have that usual convertible kind of wobble it's a much more stiff content I mean you can if you really bang on it bounce it like that but in normal use it's not bad at all one bad thing though is the the display only tilts back that far so that's fine if you're using it on the desk what if you're using it on your lap you might want to tilt it even further back so how does it smell well how often do you get to say that about a lap right you know how it is some leather

Has a chemical smell particularly probably chrome tan leather because it is tan with chrome and some it has that nice leather smell this has that kind of nice very subtle leather smell it's not super stinky and it does not smell chemically so how about the keyboard and the trackpad on this well it is a normal laptop and that respect with a very normal keyboard it's very comfortable about 1.4 millimeters to travel really nice keyboard to type on with 2 stages of white backlighting so no small size here it's 13-inch Ultrabook no weird cramped design like this Sony Vaio duo

Evolved and the trackpad is a synaptic trackpad it's wonderful it behaves very well and unlike some of HP Spectre humongous strangely large tract as this one is kind of a normal size is sufficient for my use is certainly is enough room to do some pinch zooming and all that sort of thing so they've done a very good job here there's no compromise whatsoever in this convertible design so how about the display this is a 13.3 inch full HD IPS display with an intrigue digitizer and touch screen a 4k option is coming later be careful what you wish for though I know a lot of

People are displaced snobs and they really like high resolution but you know 4k is always a big hit on the battery life and one of the selling points of this is that it has very long battery life thanks to the low power CPU anyway back to the display it's a very nice display it's calibrated or not calibrated probably from the factory to cool out of the box but it calibrates up quite nicely if you have a color imita to do that you can eyeball it and fix that the metrics on it are quite competitive this right up there with surface pro 6 and others the contrast is

Above average where often we see contrasts in the 700s 800s 2 on this one is well over a thousand to one and contrast ratio it's a very pleasing display it has Gorilla Glass 4 it is reflective like most of these products it's not inordinately more reflective than a MS competitors it's a very nice display using this for photo editing and doing artwork on it I had no problems with it whatsoever if you're doing srgb based work for the web for example it's just fine I'm sure the 4k display will be luscious because HP given their spectre x360 4k

Options we usually have really nice displays probably still not gonna be super wide color gamut though typically they don't do that so this is the pen that comes in the box two buttons and you can choose to set the buttons to do a variety of things and there is in HP's software control pound there's nothing that's lets you adjust the pressure curves happily the pressure curves are pretty good on this this is an intrigue this digitizer you really don't have to buy another pen but if you wanted you could use the $99 surface pro pen on this because this is also

Intrigued the Wacom Bamboo ink pen or HP's tilt pan the one that has the eraser on the end and a rechargeable USB C port it doesn't use removable batteries so how does this perform it the palm rejection on this is actually very good I'm pretty impressed with this left-handed person who rests her hand on the glass lock I would say it beats surface pro six even for that kind of thing where it falls behind is tilt so this is the the Windows sketching program and there's like they call it a tilt pen but

I know it is with HP products until never really does much up and down versus sideways it's not really looking a whole lot different compared to something like a Wacom EMR digitizer or surface pros sixes tilts thing is that a deal breaker probably not certainly not at all for no takers so lastly for you artists who draw slowly there's that jitter thing so it's good some jitter and it ain't because I've been drinking too many beers before doing this we have plenty of jitter here so for those of you who draw very slow and diagonally this is always of concern if you go

Quickly like this a normal kind of line is perfectly straight so it's not that lines are wavy no matter what you're doing you know I can draw a square and all that kind of thing in perspective whatever and that's not a problem but the diagonal line jitter is worse than surface pro six I mean it's just squiggly wheelies but for note-taking totally awesome and the palm rejection it's pretty good the pressure curves feel nice on this so battery life here's another positive with this and that is what you get back for giving up on performance here the five watt Y Series

CPU is more powerful and the fact thing of a full HD display instead of something much higher resolution also helps with this it has a 54 watt hour battery inside the six cell battery it's probably lots of little cells in there typical of these kind of products and again it comes with a 65 watt charger so that's good for fast charging battery life on this is excellent it easily goes eight and a half hours on the charge with light to moderate news with brightness set to about 115 it switches just below the halfway mark at about forty percent brightness which is

Certainly usable that's pretty good battery life if you really wanted to be aggressive about it obviously you get more if you are playing sieve six unplug obviously you're gonna get less I was using this unplugged using Photoshop on doing some photo editing and doing some artwork with images with multiple layers on this and that did not kill battery life and will shorten it I would say if you're doing a lot of intensive Photoshop work or you're compiling code or something like that then you'll probably get more like seven seven and a half hours maybe a battery life which is

Still quite good so that's the HP Spectre folio 13 aptly named because it has a built-in Leather Folio permanently so yeah when I first heard about this I had my doubts and as you can see it's really it's it's ticking all the right boxes I have to say the leather seems like it's pretty durable and will hold up granted you know 10 years maybe like your leather car seats at it might be ok you don't usually keep a laptop for that long it probably will hold up it probably will get a patina with age but in terms of the what it adds structurally to the design of this to

Make a perfectly usable laptop that becomes a 2 and 1 that also happens to look beautiful that has a tint mode it doesn't compromise your keyboard it's very good stuff the performance on this again it's more like an Intel 7th generation the last generation laptop so that Intel Y series CPU gets you better battery life and that's the nice part but if you're looking for the utmost in performance like you're doing video editing on an ultrabook kind of thing you know this wouldn't be my top pick for it because again 2 quarts not 4 cores but that said the

Performance of most Intel seventh-generation ultrabooks was fine for a lot of people so I think it'll be ok I mean you saw it running Photoshop it can do the job it can even play sieve takes a little time to do those turns but overall they've done a very good job here I'm Lisa from mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cool tech videos and thumbs up if you like this vid

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