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HP announces Envy Spectre XT, latest entry into premium ultrabook line (hands-on)

HP announces Envy Spectre XT, latest entry into premium ultrabook line (hands-on)


The HP Envy Spectre XT promises to improve on the company's earlier premium ultrathin machine, improving battery life, performance, and showing off a sleek new look.

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HP Envy Spectre XT Facing
HP Envy Spectre XT Facing

HP made a solid impression with the Envy 14 Spectre, which offered capable performance in a fresh, attractive chassis. The upcoming HP Envy Spectre XT is an ultrabook that aims to build on that track record with a thinner shell, revamped design, and help from Intel's third generation Ivy Bridge processors. Prices on the Spectre XT start at $999.99, which gets you 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, but a processor of unknown designation. HP is also claiming the the Spectre XT will net about 8 hours of battery life.

The Spectre XT introduces a few noticeable design changes to the line, adopting the sloping, tapered edges that have become increasingly popular with ultrabooks as of late. It measures 14.5 mm (just over half an inch) thin — slimmer than the Envy 14 Spectre, which is .79 inches thick. The Spectre XT weighs in at 3.07 pounds; not the lightest available, but certainly not cumbersome. The Envy 14 Spectre, for comparison, weighed in at 3.79 pounds.

HP Envy Spectre XT Press Photos


Aesthetically, the Spectre XT looks quite a bit like the just-announced Envy Sleekbook and Envy Ultrabook series. The price premium makes itself apparent in the all-metal build, which felt satisfyingly rigid. The Spectre XT's keyboard seems like it might be just deep enough to afford a satisfying typing experience, with a spacious keyboard whose raised, chiclet keys offered a fair amount of travel in our admittedly limited typing session. The trackpad is recessed into the lower lip of the ultrabook, and it felt fairly smooth and responsive. Perhaps most importantly, the screen looks like a cut above: we praised the earlier Spectre for generous viewing angles and decent color reproduction, and the Spectre XT prototype build we tried was definitely better HP's standard offerings make an appearance, including Beats audio technology.

In case we haven't inundated you with specs yet, the Spectre XT will also offer 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, and Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, a backlit keyboard (unlike the cheaper Envy 4 and Envy 6), and an HD webcam. There's even a Pro variant coming that will come with a TPM module and Windows 7 Professional. We'll be looking forward to see how well the Envy Spectre XT complements HP's premium ultrathins once it starts shipping on June 8th.