back to article HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

The Spectre XT is HP’s third shot at an Ultrabook in less than six months. The gleaming Gorilla Glass livery of the original 14-inch Spectre was both eye-catching and rugged, but it was also very expensive and quite a bit heavier than you’d expect from an Ultrabook. That was quickly followed by the Envy 4, which was much more …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1366x768.... next...

    1. MGman

      Exactly what I was going to comment.

      Sigh. When will they learn that is not a resolution for premium kit....

    2. David Gosnell

      On a smaller screen...

      On a smaller screen like this, it's probably excusable. Not sure I would want it running much higher in practice. Obviously 1280 x 800 would be far preferable though, as with most widescreen portable devices.

      Now, how about a review of the Novatech ultrabooks, or whatever they're presumably rebadging?

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        @David Gosnell Re Novatech

        I really like the way you can buy stuff from them without a copy of Windows.

    3. goldcd
      Thumb Down

      Not just me then...

      Now I'm never not normally one to think focus groups are a good idea, but ffs..

      Dear manufacturers. There are plenty of people looking to spend our money and there's a decent sub-section willing to pay for a retina-esque, non-shiny, quality display.

      Ditto for 1080 desktop monitors - If I wanted a TV, I'd have bought one.

    4. Steve I

      1366 by 768?

      It's 2012 - not 2002

    5. Piro

      I saw the bezel top and bottom..

      .. and knew exactly what I was in for. Apple can get it right. Do they have a monopoly on 13" 1440x900 screens or something?

    6. GitMeMyShootinIrons


      Given that more and more applications are recommending higher resolutions, this is becoming an issue. Were I paying £300-400, I could accept this resolution, but this is a bit poor on a £900 machine, even with SSD, a slim form factor and a fancy new processor.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        @GitMeMyShootinIrons Re: Agreed.

        >even with SSD, a slim form factor and a fancy new processor.

        ...and no optical drive.

        Even 300 quid laptops come with an optical drive. for £900 they should either spend the money saved on a proper screen, or put an external drive in the box.

        1. MCG
          Thumb Down

          Re: @GitMeMyShootinIrons Agreed.

          How much do you think they saved by deleting the internal optical drive? I mean, seriously, it can't be more than £20 or so; they're cheap commodity items.

          You knob.

    7. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      "1366x768.... next" Yep, and not only that they appear to have misunderstood why our.......

      ..........nick-name for such a device is a "shiny". It does not mean we want the screen like that! Matt and higher res or go screw is my personal message to the OEMs.

      1. Arctic fox

        Re: "1366x768.... next" Yep, and not only that they appear to have misunderstood why our.......

        I have just noticed that iSuppli have had to downgrade their estimate for ultrabook sales in 2012 by about 50% - I wonder why? Couldn't possibly have anything to do with the OEMs selling mediocre kit at premium prices by any chance?

    8. joejack
      Thumb Down

      Touchscreen? Bah.

      Wonder when we can get an ultrabook with 1440x900 or 1680x1050 in a 13-14" matte screen? (Yes, 16:10).

      And 8GB RAM?

      And a lock port?

    9. N13L5

      "some folks might get annoyed with the display" hell yes, and more...

      More than anything else in this sloppy review, The Reg should be embarrassed over the sorry Benchmark comparison dished up here!

      Its October 2012, and you're comparing this Spectre with a load of Sandy Bridge based Ultrabooks from last Year!

      Is HP paying you for this misinformation?

      How about obtaining some benchmark results from this year? There are a number of Ultrabooks that also feature the Core i5-3317U, like Acer's S5, Sony's T11 and others, I take it you haven't heard of any of them...


  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. annodomini2

    "and – by Ultrabook standards – competitively priced."

    Still more than twice the price of a conventional laptop.

    As AC states above 1366x768 is not acceptable at this price point.

    I notice your performance list only includes "Ultrabooks", would be interested to see some conventional laptops and desktops on there for comparison.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not wishing to say who I work for but we're getting these cheaper than a normal Dell laptop.

  4. adnim Silver badge

    Not quite there yet


    8Gb Ram

    Matte IPS 1920x1080 13"

    256Gb SDD

    USB 3/Thunderbolt

    Gigabit Ethernet



    1.6Kg max

    Would be a fair spec for the £800-£900 price point.

    Point me to the above spec for less than £1k and I would buy one tomorrow.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Intel Graphics == No use to me

    I like to do some CUDA stuff on my laptop. There are some pretty decent 13" laptops out there, with nVidia graphics, and a lot more processing clout, for less money. OK, they might not be quite as thin, but they are still quite light (I have seen an ASUS of just 1.78kg). Much more useful to me.

  6. The New Turtle

    With a screen res of 1366X768 it's another junk consumer laptop in an expensive ali shell.

    There's a reason ultrabooks simply won't sell, and the screen is pretty much it. Windows 7 can't cope with a 1080P 13" screen and no business user with any respect (target market) wants that stupid consumer-res 16X9 screen. As Dave said above, 1280X800 is better for real work. I could probably use this lappy since I normally use a 1920 X 1200 external monitor, but when I'm working away every last pixel on height helps.

    When WILL they learn?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 7 can't cope with a 1080P 13" screen

      Seems to cope nicely with the Asus UX32VD. Maybe you're holding it wrong?

      1. Jamie Kitson

        I was going to mention the UX32VD too. With an i7 Ivy Bridge and dedicated graphics it would make an interesting comparison, especially if you want to play some 3D games.

      2. jason 7

        Interesting article here about scaling for Windows 8 but it essentially holds true for Windows 7.

        It doesn't work very well with high res but small screens.

        1440x900 is about as high as you want to go at 13"

        I would have expected a better GPU for that price too. At least something around the AMD 6450 level.

  7. Ben Hodson

    I bought a dell laptop in 2005 that had a 1600x1200 15" screen. WHY do modern laptops all have such a low res ? Is there a genuine reason for it ?

    Seriously my mobile phone has almost the same resolution as the laptop reviewed here (HTC One-X at 720 x 1280)

    I want a non-glossy (cos I use it in the real world), screen with at least 1600x900, but ideally a 16:10 screen.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Is there a genuine reason for it ?

      Not to put too fine a point on it:

      >Is there a genuine reason for it ?

      Yes. They are all tightwad cunts who want to have us by the nose

    2. dajames Silver badge

      Is there a genuine reason for it ?

      Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.

      It's all in the name. If you make panels for tellies you think that "HD" means 1366x768 and "Full HD" means 1920x1080.

      Computer marketroids probably hear a lot of people saying that they want "a laptop with a high definition screen" so they look in a components catalogue and see a lot of manufacturers flogging "HD" panels and think that's what the user wants. They don't understand that the user was thinking more along the lines of 1680x1050, or maybe 2560x1600, when he said "high definition"; he didn't mean "HD".

      We need to change what we ask for. I don't want "HD" ... I used to think I wanted SXGA+ (1400x1050, like my old 14" Thinkpad) but screens are getting better, and production methods are improving so that higher pixel densities can be achieved with greater yields ... WQXGA will do. Just don't say "high definition" or you'll get 1366x768.

  8. zxcvbnm

    It may be ssd but still rather a titchy hard disc. Once you have windows, the bundled software and office you will probably have less space than your memory stick.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparison with Apple

    So people think Apple stuff is expensive? this is £899 and the Macbook Air 13 inch entry model is £999.

    Except that the Macbook has a slightly faster CPU and a better screen resolution of 1440x900. £100 more gets you something!

  10. Adam Comben
    Thumb Down

    Samsung NP900X1B

    I bought one of these from John Lewis, and unfortunately it developed a fault and I decided to ask for my money back instead of a replacment, but it too had a 1366x768 screen - HOWEVER in an 11" format it was perfectly suited. In a 13.3, I think there really is no excuse...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AND people wonder why people buy the Macbook Air - it's the ultra notebook the others WANT to be but don't quite cut it.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      But even the Air is compromised...

      I like the Air (not keen on OSX, but that's just a personal preference and not the point here), but it's connectivity is limited. No ethernet (not even 10/100) and no HDMI - while you can get adapters, these add to the cost.

      There appear to be few Ultrabooks that really tick all the boxes. Somewhat surprising really.

    2. N13L5


      The Macbook Air 11 is considered a consumer model by Crapple and has no high resolution, and is stuck with an annoying glossy Display as well...

  12. Fuzz

    stopping reviewing these favourably

    £900 + 1366x768 screen should automatically mean a harsh review hopefully containing words like unacceptable, useless, waste of money.

    I talked to a Toshiba guy at a trade fair and asked him why the screen resolutions were so low, he had no idea it was a problem and I can only blame the press for that.

    If people are playing a premium price they want a premium product. That means not only a high resolution screen but also 8GB of RAM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: stopping reviewing these favourably

      The 'premium' is mostly for the portability - guess for many people the screen is fine but seems strange they can't even match Apple's res when that is basically the one to beat.

      1. N13L5

        Re: stopping reviewing these favourably

        @ Anonymous deluded Jobs Fanboi

        Apple's Airs have the same shitty resolution and glossy screen surface. :P

        wake up...

    2. jason 7

      Re: stopping reviewing these favourably

      I have mentioned this to a few tech sites that chances are the target audience don't want laptops costing more than £600 with low res screens and integrated Intel graphics so should stop reviewing them.

      Basically tell the manufacturer's "Sorry but this machine falls below the standards our readers would want!"

      Yes it might mean less laptops for review but then they (the manufacturers) might start asking why

      Maybe set a Reg Hardware minimum spec requirement for kit submitted for review?

      Otherwise why bother publishing reviews that just get laughed at?

      By all means do the odd "£300-£400 laptop round up for your Mum/kids" article come Xmas but for the rest of us we need a little bit more.

  13. naive

    Maybe someone should go to court a see if a court order can be obtained which forbids Intel to produce graphics cards. The amount of perfectly good IT equipment they turned into junk with their integrated "graphics" cards is beyond comprehension.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe someone should go to court and see if it can be made illegal for people to make comments without engaging their brain. You certainly live up to your handle!

  14. John Pattenden

    I'll stick with my 2004 Dell at 1920x1200 for now thanks

    Ho hum.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As soon as I saw the review on the Reg homepage, I clicked on it and just scanned for the screen resolution. I didn't bother to read the rest.

  16. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Touchscreen, yes!

    There's the high-gloss screen problem sorted, then!

  17. Robert E A Harvey

    Ping Cliff Joseph

    I think you should print out this comment section and send it to whoever lent you the sample, then tell us their response.

    1. N13L5

      Re: Ping Cliff Joseph

      excellent idea!

      1. jason 7
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ping Cliff Joseph

        I agree.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019