Countless laptops have been announced in the past few weeks, including an entire fleet of Acer notebooks, HP gaming systems, a premium Lenovo Chromebook, and an Asus with a hidden message written in invisible ink. Frankly, I’m exhausted. However, I won’t let my cramping fingers deter me from being excited about the successors to some of the best Windows PCs of the past few years.
No, I’m not talking about the Dell XPS 13 (as excellent as it is). Announced today are new versions of the Envy and Spectre, HP’s flagship mid-range and premium ultra-thin laptops. I won’t waste your time: these are refreshes, not redesigns, of the previous models. They do, however, bring a few goodies that will appeal to folks who are in the market for a portable laptop.
Here are some quick numbers and dates. The Spectre x360 13.5 and Spectre x360 16 go on sale today at HP.com starting at $1,249 and $1,649, respectively. They will also be available at Best Buy.
The more affordable Envy x360 models are also available on HP’s website. The Envy x360 13.3-inch will start at $899 while the 15.6-inch convertible will cost $849 for the AMD model and $899 for the Intel one. The two clamshells, the Envy 16 and Envy 17.3, will cost $1,399 and $1,099, respectively.
I checked. That is not a typo. HP is actually calling this latest model the Spectre x360 13.5 despite the previous Spectre x360 14 having the same screen size. Perhaps market research showed customers want the portability of a 13-inch device but with a larger screen (because 14 sounds so much bigger than 13). Whatever the case, the name bothers me.
If you can get past that, the Spectre x360 13.5 and 16 are shaping up to be fine laptops, retaining the best elements of the previous versions while updating certain components. If you haven’t seen the latest Spectre laptops (my Spectre x360 16 OLED review is a good intro), their aluminum chassis are absolutely gorgeous. While this new version ditches the gem-cut edges for a rounded design, it flaunts the same chrome trim, large touchpad, and aggressive corner angles, giving it a luxurious appeal.
You also get an agreeable arrangement of ports considering these are fairly portable systems, especially the 3-pound, 0.67-inch Spectre x360 13.5 (the x360 16 weighs 4.45 pounds). Even on the 13.5 are two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, a USB Type-A, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. The 16-inch model throws in an HDMI 2.1 for good measure.
The major updates are found within, where the Spectre is powered by Intel 12th Gen processors—either a Core i7-1255U or Core i5-1235U. The larger 16-inch model gets either a Core i5-1260P or a full-blown H-series Core i7-12700H. Graphics is another area where the x360 16 has an edge. Or, at least it should, with the option for Intel Arc A370M graphics. Intel’s first discrete graphics cards have been delayed, but when they arrive, the chipmaker claims they’ll bring 2x performance over integrated Iris Xe. Both laptops support up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM and up to a 2TB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD.
HP says the 16-inch Spectre will last for around 12 hours and 30 minutes while streaming content over Wi-Fi or 19 hours of pure video playback. The smaller model gets up to 15 hours of wireless streaming.
If there’s one feature HP seemed particularly proud of, it’s the webcam. And they deserve to feel that way because, as the previous Spectre x360 16 showed, the 5MP IR webcam is fantastic. It might be the best one on any laptop, and now it’s coming to the Spectre x360 13.5 along with temporal noise reduction and a camera shutter. It even comes with an Auto Frame, Dynamic Voice Leveling, and Backlight Adjustment software features.
The other big thing is the display options. There are three different screen options for the Spectre x360 13.5: 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280 IPS with HP Sure View (a privacy filter), another 1920 x 1280 without the privacy options, and a 3K2K OLED touchscreen that hits 500 nits of max brightness. The 16-inch raises the resolution of its base panels to 3072 x 1920 (3K+) in glossy or anti-reflective options and has its own 4K OLED panel.
Also announced today are four new Envy models, including 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch convertibles and 16-inch and 17.3-inch clamshell versions. While a step below the Spectres, HP has done a great job of trickling down flagship features to these cheaper midrange alternatives.
The Envy x360 13.3 weighs only 3 pounds and can be equipped with up to an Intel Core i7-1250U, though the Core i5-1230U might be the better value choice. Memory is limited to 16GB, which should be fine for most folks, and storage goes up to 1TB. The larger models get beefier CPUs, and the 15-inch gives you a choice between Intel Core or AMD Ryzen 5000 (not the newest 6000 chips). Memory is limited to 16GB and storage goes up to 1TB.
HP didn’t skimp on the screen, optioning a 13.3-inch, 2.8K OLED touchscreen panel at the top end, and a 1920 x 1200 IPS screen for the base model. The 15.6-inch version gets a 1080P OLED display while the 16-inch has a 4K OLED option. The Envy 17 (sorry, Envy 17.3) drops the OLED for a 4K IPS display.
Without burying you in specs, the entire Envy series gets HP’s 5MP IR webcam and all the accompanying software features. They also come with USB-C and USB-A ports, and an SD (micro for the smallest model) card reader.