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HP Spectre Folio review: The convertible laptop screams design and luxury

The first thing that strikes you about the Folio is how thin, light and luxurious it is.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Feb 28, 2019, 08.36 AM IST
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Watch: Unboxing the next-gen HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop
Watch: Unboxing the next-gen HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop
Price: Rs 1,99,990
Rating: ****

Specifications: Intel Core i7-8500Y, 16GB DDR3 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, 13.3-inch IPS LCD with multi-touch (1920 x 1080 pixels), FHD IR enabled webcam, 3 x USB type C ports (2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports and 1 x USB 3.1), 3.5mm audio out, accelerometer, gyroscope, e-compass, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, WiFiac, BT4.2, 1.47 kg

Pros: Gorgeous design and top-quality materials, unique genuine leather construction, louder sound from Bang & Olufsen quad speakers, fanless heatsink, included HP Tilt Pen

Cons: Expensive, only USB C ports (no legacy ports), not built for performance, fairly thick top and bottom screen bezels

The Spectre Folio is a new kind of convertible laptop: one that lays emphasis on design and materials rather than just following the crowd. The first thing that strikes you about the Folio is how thin, light and luxurious it is. The genuine leather that encases the machine (front, back, palmrest) has a soft and tactile feel. It really does look like a leather folio, complete with embossed HP logo and markings. It’s important to note that the leather is not a cover for the laptop but is actually fused with the internal components. A closer look will reveal the quality stitching and seams on the leather. Open it up and it looks like a conventional (but premium) laptop. There’s a high quality backlit keyboard (chiclet keys) and a high definition 13.3-inch Gorilla Glass 4 touchscreen with slim side bezels.
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The Folio is a seriously impressive feat of design.

The screen hinges in the middle — pull it towards you and the magnets detach so that you can place it in ‘media position’. In media position, the screen magnetically attaches between the trackpad and keyboard. The keyboard is hidden but you can still use both trackpad and touchscreen. Finally, you can lift up the screen and place it flat for tablet mode. We quite like this implementation of the tablet mode because it ‘feels’ much more like a tablet. In a conventional convertible laptop, the screen would swivel backwards, keeping the keyboard on the outside. It always felt like a workaround but the Folio is a seriously impressive feat of design. In case you’re wondering, a digital rechargeable pen is supplied in the box. It’s called the Tilt Pen because of the pressure and tilt sensitivity.

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The screen is rather nice too: great colour, high brightness, excellent contrast and fast touch response.

Unlike the conventional digital pen which has a AAAA battery, this one charges via a USB C port — just 15 seconds of charge is good for a couple of hours. HP hasn’t built this machine for performance — the 8500Y processor is designed for low power, low heat and maximum efficiency. Which is why you won’t see any cooling vents on the machine. It’s a fanless design and completely quiet. While you won’t notice any lags with regular web, office and multimedia, you will run into slowdowns if you try gaming or video editing. On the upside, it pushes out great battery life of between 8 to 10 hours on a charge. The screen is rather nice too: great colour, high brightness, excellent contrast and fast touch response. It is a little too glossy for our liking though.

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It has a high-quality backlit keyboard and a high definition 13.3-inch Gorilla Glass 4 touchscreen with slim side bezels.

Obviously the leather design is not for everyone: some just prefer the cold, clinical feel of brushed metal while others might be pondering the ethical implications of using real leather. This is for someone with deep pockets who wants a convertible that screams design and luxury. If you’re after performance, better go with a 15-inch MacBook Pro or Asus Zenbook Pro 15 (the Core i9 version).

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