HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook Review: Something More Than Envy
24 August 2012
Conclusion: I've used the phrase "you already know if you want it" for another review, but with the HP Envy 14 Spectre it again seems appropriate. This isn't a bad notebook necessarily, but its distinctive design does come with a series of caveats and compromises. No one else you know will have a notebook that looks or feels quite like it, but there are reasons for that.
Conclusion: None of the competitors mentioned above is as drop-dead sexy as the Spectre, they all have smaller displays (with the exception of the Ultra M3), and none have integrated media-streaming features. On the other hand, each one of them is less expensive (by several hundred dollars, in some cases), and several are considerably faster than the Spectre.
Pros: Beautiful design, Great display, High-end feature set, Generous and genuinely useful software bundle
Cons: Expensive, Glass likely to shatter if dropped, Heavy for its size, Fan turns noisy under load
Excerpt: HP's Envy 14 Spectre wowed us at CES 2012, but looks can be deceiving. In this full review we find out if this 'premium Ultrabook' is worth the extra price, or if it's just a big, shiny, fingerprint magnet. Read on for the finer details.
Conclusion: That said, the $1,399 asking price for the starting configuration is undeniably high, considering that this is a machine that's geared decidedly at simple, everyday tasks, as opposed to heavy-duty processing. It looks great and it feels great in your hands, and you certainly won’t be ashamed to be seen with the Spectre in a business meeting or on your tray table. But with the HP Envy 14 Spectre, just be clear before you buy: You're paying for style, not performance.
Pros: Attractive, unusual design dominated by Gorilla Glass, Terrific audio, Volume dial on the side, USB 3.0 port, Excellent software bundle
Cons: Touch pad needs tuning, Merely average performance for the price, Too expensive
Summary: The HP Envy 14 Spectre is a highly functional work of art, fusing stunning good looks with strong performance, a fast boot time, good audio and satisfying battery life. However, the design feels a little heavy for a notebook without an optical drive, and the $1,399 price is $100 more than the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Pros: Beautiful modern design, Solid performance, Comfy backlit keyboard, Sharp and bright display, Good audio
Cons: Serious fingerprint magnet, Mediocre graphics, Runs a bit warm on bottom, Relatively expensive