HP Spectre 13 2017 unveiled: Better battery life and quad-core performance promised

HP has revamped its high-end Spectre 13 laptop with 8th-gen Intel Core processors and a brand-new, low-footprint design. The company is calling it the thinnest-ever touchscreen laptop. This is admittedly a rather niche claim, but the Spectre 13 has arrived on the scene to rival the likes of the Asus ZenBook 3, Huawei MateBook X and Apple’s 12-inch MacBook.

We reviewed the first edition of the Spectre 13 last year, and while we were impressed with its thin and light design, it was left wanting in several key areas including fan noise, heat and battery life. HP says it’s taken consumer feedback on board and refined the Spectre 13 formula.

Related: Best Ultrabooks

The big feature HP is pitching this time around is its touchscreen, which is a new feature to the line-up. You’ll either get a 13.3-inch Full HD panel or an Ultra HD option, both of which are protected by Gorilla Glass NBT. In the UK, only the UHD model will be available.

Performance has seen a big jump thanks to the inclusion of Intel’s new quad-core 8th-generation ultrabook processors, and you’ll either be able to get a Core i5 or a Core i7 model with a maximum clock speed of 4GHz.

There’s up to 16GB of more energy-efficient LPDRR3 memory and ultra-fast NVMe-based SSDs from 256GB to 1TB.

Despite the increase in performance, HP says it’s completely reworked the cooling system to dial down fan noise when it’s not absolutely necessary. If true, this is a big deal and will make the Spectre 13 far more attractive this time around. And to further improve the audio experience, HP’s installed better speakers with 66% louder maximum volume, as well as what it claims is a clearer sound across all frequency.

The biggest deal from a design standpoint is the 10.4mm thickness and 1.11kg weight, which is almost exactly the same as the previous model.

Battery life is rated at 11.5 hours, which we’ll believe when we see it, but however good the battery is, you’ll benefit from fast charge tech that can take the laptop from empty to 50% capacity in half an hour.

Elsewhere, the company unveiled a refined version of the Spectre x360 13, which gets an updated design, a slightly better battery life, an improved stylus and some new colours as well as a fingerprint reader.

Both laptops will be available from November with the following specs and prices:

Spectre 13:

  • Intel Core i5-8250U / 8GB RAM / 256GB SSD / UHD £1399.99 SRP
  • Intel Core i7-8550U / 8GB RAM / 512GB SSD / UHD £1599.99 SRP

Spectre 13 x360

  •  Intel Core i5-8250U / 8GB RAM / 256GB SSD / UHD £1299.99 SRP
  • Intel Core i7-8550U / 8GB RAM / 512GB SSD / UHD £1499.99 SRP
  • Intel Core i7-8550U / 16GB RAM / 1TB SSD / UHD £1799.99 SRP