HP Inc has unveiled a new premium laptop that the company claims is the world's thinnest at just 10.4mm, while still offering the performance of Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors along with a claimed all-day battery life, making it an attractive option for mobile executives.
The HP Spectre is aimed at buyers who want a premium device that is thin and lightweight, yet do not want to compromise on performance for productivity. It is due to go on sale in the US from May, and in selected countries worldwide afterwards.
At just 10.4mm, the Spectre is clearly taking aim at Apple's MacBook and MacBook Air models, along with other prestige portables such as Microsoft's Surface Pro and Surface Book systems.
However, HP said that it has reinvented the premium laptop based on feedback from customers, and introduced some unique elements to deliver a super-thin design that meets user expectations.
"Whether you are old or young, using Windows or some other operating system, the desire for a super-thin device is super-high," said Mike Nash, vice president for customer experience and portfolio strategy at HP Inc.
For starters, the Spectre drops touchscreen support to get the thickness down, as Nash claimed that two out of three people asked said they would rather have a thinner device than touch capability. The 13.3in Full HD display is bonded directly to a Gorilla Glass 4 layer for protection, a move that makes the display brighter at up to 300 nits.
The Spectre is constructed from machined aluminium and carbon fibre to deliver a sturdy yet lightweight chassis. HP has had to get creative to squeeze enough battery power into such a slim design. The solution was to use four separate cells that fill up all the spare space to deliver a claimed nine hours and 45 minutes.
Despite this, HP has eschewed Intel's power-optimised Core M processors in favour of the standard Core i5 and Core i7 chips.
"We believe in Core M, but in a clamshell device like the Spectre customer feedback was that they wanted the full power of Core i5 and Core i7," Nash said.
This posed a further challenge, as the super-thin design means there is a lack of space to stack a heatsink on the processor, so HP has implemented a hyperbaric cooling solution that uses fans to force cool air into the chassis, displacing hot air from the CPU.
The Spectre comes with 8GB of memory and is configured with SSD storage connected to the PCI Express bus for faster performance. The Core i5 model will have a 256GB SSD, while the Core i7 version will have a 512GB SSD.
On the I/O side, HP has included three USB type C connectors that provide all the physical connections, including for charging the laptop. One of these provides dual Thunderbolt port connectivity, allowing dual 4K external displays, desktop docking and other peripherals with high data transfer speeds.
As a final gesture to position the Spectre as a premium device, HP is also making available two limited edition models that will be auctioned to benefit the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
These limited edition models have a more ostentatious styling, with hand-polished 18-carat gold plating and features such as the HP logo picked out in diamonds and even diamonds mounted on the power button in such a way that they are backlit when the device is powered on.
Despite the lack of touchscreen, the HP Spectre ships with Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. The Core i5 version will cost $1,169.99 in the US, while the Core i7 version will cost $1,249.99.
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