Last September, HP introduced one of the most credible MacBook Air competitors we’d yet seen: the 13-inch Envy Spectre XT was thin, light, strong, and yet still comfortable to use, a rarity in a Windows ultrabook. Yet it also had a low-quality, low-resolution 1366 x 768 display that had no place in a premium $1,000 laptop, and it arrived without a touchscreen, which quickly limited its utility with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system.

On paper, the new Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart seems like it could solve both problems at once. It's the same exact formula, but with a beautiful 15.6-inch 1080p touchscreen on top, and a larger, more spacious chassis to accommodate the two-inch screen size bump. It also comes standard with a large hard drive (a feature the original couldn't possibly hope to squeeze into its tiny frame), and a Thunderbolt port for high-speed connectivity. On paper, the only catch is the $1,199 starting price — pretty expensive for a simple dual-core 1.7GHz Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM.

Let's see how the Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart does in reality. Can HP seriously compete with the MacBook Air this time around?