HP Spectre Foldable PC Most Successful Folding Display Design Yet

HP Spectre Foldable PC Most Successful Folding Display Design Yet

The HP Spectre Fold: Innovation at Its Finest

The bundled Bluetooth keyboard can be positioned fully on the bottom half of the display or slid down for a screen-and-a-half layout. The bundled Bluetooth keyboard can be positioned fully on the bottom half of the display or slid down for a screen-and-a-half layout. (Image source: Josh Goldman/CNET)

In the world of technology, every manufacturer strives to create innovative products that capture the imagination of consumers. However, not all of these products are intended to sell big numbers; some simply exist to uphold the manufacturer’s reputation as an industry leader. Hewlett-Packard (HP), though, is known for focusing more on perfecting existing concepts rather than competing for the “First!” title. Introducing the HP Spectre Foldable PC, a unique and elegant folding or dual-screen laptop that exemplifies HP’s commitment to refinement and ingenuity.

At first glance, the Spectre Fold stands out as one of the sleekest folding laptops on the market. Its design and features make it a versatile three-in-one device, functioning as a 17-inch tablet, a laptop, and a 17-inch desktop PC. Priced at $5,000, it is clear that this device is not targeting the mass market. However, HP has packed it with almost every feature and design nuance possible, creating an ultrathin, multifunctional portable that sets a new standard for high-end devices. For those interested, preorders are now available on Best Buy’s website, with limited quantities shipping from October on both HP’s official site and select brick-and-mortar Best Buy locations.

The keyboard fits inside the Fold when closed. The keyboard fits inside the Fold when closed. (Image source: Josh Goldman/CNET)

The Spectre Fold combines and improves upon various design styles seen in the market. When unfolded, it reveals an OLED screen with impressive specs: a 17-inch display featuring a resolution of 1,920×2,560 pixels, DisplayHDR True Black 500, and new Imax Enhanced certification (a unique feature for laptops). Equipped with a built-in kickstand and accompanied by the bundled Bluetooth keyboard, it transforms into a practical desktop setup. HP takes a different approach from Microsoft by including both the stylus and keyboard with the Fold, providing users with a complete package for productivity and creativity.

One of the standout features of the Spectre Fold is its flexibility in different usage scenarios. By folding the device at an angle, users have two options: they can either have the keyboard positioned on the bottom half of the screen, mimicking a traditional clamshell laptop, or slide the keyboard towards them, leaving half of the screen visible, resembling the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s design. This versatile configuration offers users the freedom to adapt the device to their specific needs, whether it be conventional laptop usage or enhanced productivity with a dual-screen setup.

The kickstand is sturdy enough, but it could stand to be a bit wider. The kickstand is sturdy enough, but it could stand to be a bit wider. (Image source: Josh Goldman/CNET)

HP has incorporated magnetic inductive charging for both the stylus and keyboard, enabling seamless and effortless attachment. When positioning the keyboard behind the screen, the magnetic points trigger automatic behaviors, such as changing the screen layout to utilize Windows’ Snap feature. Moreover, when the Spectre Fold is closed with the keyboard sandwiched between the sides, it enters sleep mode automatically. This convenient feature eliminates the hassle of going through multiple steps before the device is ready for transportation, addressing a common annoyance faced by users of similar devices.

To optimize usability in tablet mode, HP split the six-cell, 94-Watt-hour battery into two parts on either end of the display. This configuration significantly improves balance when holding the device, ensuring a comfortable experience during tablet usage.

While the Spectre Fold boasts impressive features and design, it does have a few drawbacks worth mentioning. Due to its thin profile and internal component arrangement, there is no space for a cell antenna, limiting its connectivity to Wi-Fi only. Additionally, when folded in half, there is intentionally a small 0.2-inch/5mm gap to accommodate the keyboard for portability. Although this gap facilitates the functionality of the device’s thin hinges and mitigates screen-related issues, it also leaves the screen potentially vulnerable to damage when used without the keyboard.

The 17-inch OLED gives you a big canvas. The 17-inch OLED gives you a big canvas. (Image source: Josh Goldman/CNET)

Considering the internal electronics and components, the Spectre Fold’s screen thickness measures about 8.2mm, similar to the iPhone 15 Pro but thicker than the iPad Pro 12.9. Furthermore, even without including the keyboard, it is slightly heavier than the LG Gram 17, weighing around 3 pounds. With the keyboard, the weight increases to 3.6 pounds. The device features relatively thick bezels, which may seem unusual for a 2023 screen, but these bezels house quad speakers and the necessary components for a full laptop experience. HP’s decision to retain these bezels ensures users have a comfortable grip while using the device, preventing accidental drops due to a lack of holding space.

In terms of accessories, while a magnetic attachment for the stylus provides a sleek look, many users may prefer a more secure docking mechanism. Losing expensive styluses is a common occurrence, and a more robust solution, such as a garage or designated storage compartment, could prevent such mishaps.

In addition to the unique physical design, the HP Spectre Fold offers a wide range of impressive specifications. Powered by an Intel Core i7-1250U CPU and Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, it guarantees smooth performance for various tasks. With 16GB of LPDDR5-6400 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD, users have ample storage and memory for their needs. The device is equipped with a 5-megapixel webcam, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and weighs 3.6 pounds with the keyboard, providing a superior user experience in terms of connectivity and portability. Furthermore, with a rated 12-hour battery life, users can enjoy extended productivity without frequent charging.

The whole device has the fit and finish of HP’s other premium Spectre laptops. The whole device has the fit and finish of HP’s other premium Spectre laptops. (Image source: Josh Goldman/CNET)

Despite having only two USB-C ports, the Spectre Fold’s placement of these ports is highly convenient for charging in both laptop and desktop modes. Furthermore, along with the keyboard and stylus, HP includes a USB-C hub featuring two USB-A ports, an HDMI output, and a USB-C port for power delivery. The overall build quality of the device matches HP’s premium Spectre laptop lineup, giving it a sleek and compact appearance when closed.

In conclusion, the HP Spectre Foldable PC (or simply the Spectre Fold) is an exemplary showcase of innovation and refinement. HP has meticulously crafted a versatile and elegant folding laptop that caters to the needs of professionals and creative individuals alike. While its $5,000 price tag places it in the premium category, the Spectre Fold offers an impressive array of features and functionalities that justify its positioning as HP’s flagship folding device. As HP begins shipping limited quantities in October, it will undoubtedly be fascinating to observe how the market embraces this innovative creation and whether it sparks a new era for portable computing.