Back to Article

  • StealthGhost - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I don't see the point In an ultrabook that has to stay connected to the wall because it only gets 3 hours of battery life. Reply
  • deeps6x - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    So much to dislike already about this laptop and I didn't even get past the spec sheet on the first page. To start, you put a frickin' hard drive in your premium product? Come on HP. I thought you were smarter than that. Nobody wants the heat and noise. 1080P, IPS? Yes! Glossy touch screen? FAIL. FAIL HARD!!! No need to read further. Jumped to comments. First comment is about another fail - junk battery as well it appears. My oh my. So disappointing HP. Sad. Reply
  • CSMR - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Stupid comment. This products "fails" to be suitable for you, but not everyone is like you.

    Hard drive + SSD is an excellent combination for people who want both an extremely responsive system and storage space. A 500GB SSD would be better but such a laptop would be much more expensive.
  • Egg - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    There are very few matte touch screens. Have you ever seen a matte touch screen at say, a POS kiosk or an ATM? Touching it quickly wears down the finish so you have glossy spots on the screen. See for an example of a rare matte touchscreen that doesn't have this problem.

    If you're complaining about a touchscreen itself, well it's somewhat useful for Windows 8.
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Lenovo Thinkpad X230T has a matte touch (and active digitizer!) screen. I should know, I got one for my wife last xmas. Reply
  • WhiteAdam - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online. (Home more information)
  • rvd2008 - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    "Come on HP. I thought you were smarter than that."
    Are you kidding? After Touchpad, WebOS and Autonomy fiasco? Think again, same board of directors who appointed Apotheker rule HPQ with Meg Whitman at the helm. What can go wrong?
  • StormyParis - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I disagree with your dislike of SSD cache. I'd rather my laptop have a small SSD cache and some real storage, than a full SSD that will be 1- holding stuff that doesn't require speed (data files, media, rarely used codeà 2- small 3- expensive. I think HP have made a good trade off here. Reply
  • arthur449 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    An HDD is only acceptable in a computer if you don't care about or have control over all the software running in the background. If I'm going to recommend this device to anyone, and they're not going to take the time to cut away the useless bundled crapware, then its not an acceptable experience.

    A single SSD in a store-bought PC like this is a necessity, not an option, for a positive out-of-the-box experience. (Of course, that depends on whether or not they chose an absolutely horrid SSD, but that's what reviews like these are for.)
  • hughlle - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Necessity? Don't be silly. Positive out-of-the-box experience is completely subjective. Next people will be telling me that 4gb of ram is a necessity in this regard, or 64 bit etc. Reply
  • arthur449 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Experience is subjective, you're right.

    I'm not saying that I can quantify experience with a number. (Uhh, I rate this laptop a 6.5 on the User Experience Index.) In 20 years, I can count on one hand the number of laptops I've bought or set up for coworkers, friends, or family that had an acceptable amount of included software pre-installed. Acceptable in this case means the computer didn't grind to a halt on startup while it loaded Horton Speedy Disk, Extra Discount Firewall with Extra Popups, Super Unnecessary Manufacturer Splash Screen to tell me when I've pushed a button to disable wireless, etc. All of them with very few exceptions did this, and the addition of an SSD is the most effective throw-money-at-it solution.

    Oh, and for the record, the HP dm1z is the first PC that came to mind with an acceptably low amount of bloatware. And it was a netbook.
  • Scott66 - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    One reason I love Apple machines. Very little bloatware especially once they got rid of the trial version of Office.

    I used a Momentus Hybrid drive in an old macbook and it added a few more years of usability and much more storage.
  • Peskarik - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    4GB of RAM IS necessity. Hello. Reply
  • Flunk - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I think if you take in that this is a $1299.99 system it is a necessity. There are a lot of systems you can get around the $1000.00 mark that ship with 128MB SSDs. This system is certainly not trading on it's high CPU or GPU performance so it really needs that SSD to justify the high price. You can get a computer that will perform as well as this for $400. Premium casing isn't worth $899.99 to most consumers. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    much rather have a 256gb ssd. And get rid of the bloatware. They need to take you to a screen in a setup process where you can check which items you want installed or not installed. Or make a real uninstall page where I can check off 20 metro apps and 10 desktop apps and uninstall them all at once. I had to setup 9 lenovo windows 8 laptops last weekend and it was painful removing all the crap one piece at a time. Reply
  • Egg - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I think hughlle was being ironic. Reply
  • wanderer000 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    4GB is a necessity to properly run Windows 8. Ram usage on my desktop is high for Win8, I can't imagine how slow it'd be on a laptop with anything under 4GB. That point btw is the last stop before 64-bit becomes a necessity, because 32-bit can't handle anything over 4GB of RAM. Times change as do positive out-of-the-box experiences.

    That being said, something that doesn't change is the factor of not having to manage software in the background. This is always a point in that section, as is low noise and heat. So in regards to that, yes. An SSD should be mandatory in a PREMIUM product nowadays.
  • kkwst2 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Maybe for you. My "necessity" is at least a 256GB SSD plus at least a 500GB, preferably a 1TB HDD. That is why I have stuck with the Thinkpad T-series despite the crappy screens and poor battery life. If you could configure this with a 256GB SSD in the mSATA slot plus the HDD, that would be ideal for me. The battery life is still an issue, but I can deal with that more than I can the lack of storage. I need the HDD for all my data files. Won't fit on even a 256 SSD. Reply
  • hughlle - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I happily run all OS's on my old shuttle with two gb of ram. Sure it's not as fast as with 4gb but it still does the job just fine. I happily use my parents bloatware ridden pcs with old mechanical drives and they work just fine too.

    I am not arguing that an ssd or more ram should be mandatory for an expensive product, that is just common sense, like a £100,000 car should have a big engine etc. I'm just stating that the term necessity is wrong. There is no requirement for these things, but rather it is just highly recommended for you to have them, but i have neither and the machines work just fine, so clearly it is not a case of HAVING to have these better components just that it makes more sense.
  • Solandri - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I actually prefer the mSATA cache SSD + 2.5" HDD configuration. It gives you the most flexibility, provided the notebook is designed so you can easily swap out these parts.
    - If you like it as is with a cache SSD, use it as is.
    - If you don't like the HDD, you can replace it with a SSD.
    - If you like the HDD but want a bigger SSD, just replace the cache SSD with a larger mSATA SSD and configure it as your boot drive.
    - If you want large capacity SSD, replace both the mSATA SSD and 2.5" HDD with large capacity SSDs. That'll give you nearly 1 TB of storage for a reasonable price.

    The single SSD design limits your options and your max storage capacity. It's much better to have both mSATA + 2.5" storage bays.
  • arthur449 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    You're going to have to qualify your statement about the keyboard, "Typing action is pretty good, but it's about time for HP to retire or revise this design." Apart from the display, the keyboard is one of the most important aspects of a notebook computer. I've recommended HP models to my friends and family members specifically because their use-case required a typing experience that didn't leave them with the urge to (pardon the hyperbole) saw their hands off. Having a consistently competent keyboard is vastly more important, at least in my opinion, than having a newly designed one. Reply
  • mschira - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    2.25kg, low voltage CPU and 2h battery life?
    Are they joking?
    I keep saying, it's not Windows that is the problem it is the hardware makers.
    P.S. mac 15" retina: 2.05 kg, quadcore CPU, GPU, battery life is north of 7h.
    I know much more expensive, but still.
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Agreed, it's very much up to the system builders. Granted, IPS displays do suck down more power, but other machines already get better battery life with one. Windows machines are perfectly capable of getting close to or above Macbook battery life, I'm not sure what stops a few of them. Reply
  • protomech - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    It's not really a direct competitor to any apple product.

    It has the processor of a MBA, display resolution/quality between a MBA and rMBP, price of a 13" rMBP (once you add the SSD), slightly thicker/heavier vs a 15" rMBP).

    Unique features are a touchscreen and terrible battery life.
  • mschira - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    but comparing it to MBA will make it fare even worse when talking about battery or weight.
    And when talking about price, too.
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Just vaguely curious, if I took out the hard drive in the Spectre XT and put in my Momentus XT 750 hybrid hard drive from my old laptop, would the mSATA cache still work as normal? Would any extra setup be involved? Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Ah, crud, even the hard drive is not serviceable? Reply
  • Peskarik - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    "Not user serviceable" - no need to read further Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I'm starting to wonder if it is possible for PC manufacturers to build a competent laptop or ultrabook. What is it that holds them back every single time?

    One thing I can think of is that they might not have any guarantee that they would sell very many of that model, so they need to drive their margins up to compensate for lower volume. If that is the case, what if one of the manufacturers (HP, Lenovo, ASUS, ect.) did a kickstarter-like launch. They show us the laptop (theoretical or prototype), maybe get it reviewed a couple times, then we can put our money where our mouths are. If they hit their kickstarter goal, then they can know they will be profitable with that model through economies of scale without aggressively boosting their margins by using crappy parts.
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Indeed, it's the volumes and R&D and manufacturing costs. With Apple notebooks, they are guaranteed to sell well, plus they are able to get away with high margins on each. Combine the two and the company is comfortable spending a bit extra on manufacturing quality and optimization. With the likes of HP, they have so many different new models they don't know if each will be a hit, plus PCs above 1000 dollars don't sell in anywhere near mac quantities, so they have to cheap out on manufacturing and optimization to play it safe.

    I wish someone would just take a one time Unibody-like risk, they only had to research that once and were able to get so many years of use out of the design, and it's still arguably the best.
  • whyso - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    This review is of rather poor quality. Anandtech you need to look at clock speed and throttling. You comment that the cpu benchmarks are unusually low so open cpu-z and look at the clockspeed during the test that is unusually low. Also would be really nice to have you run furmark + prime and report the speed of the cpu + gpu and temperature. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    "I've checked clocks, run tests multiple times, but in the end still been left with a notebook that's just slower than it should be." Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    This leads to a serious question, if PC manufacturers could ever build a laptop as well designed as a retina MacBook Pro, would people shell out the extra cash to buy it? They keep saying no, but I wonder if that's really true. The product managers really need the power to say "No, this is shit, try again" instead of having to meet arbitrary deadlines. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I really don't know the answer to that, currently Apple does own the high end market. It's a chicken and egg thing, do high end PCs not sell well and that's why no one will make a well thought out one, or will no one buy a high end PC laptop because there are few good offerings? Reply
  • andrewaggb - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    The fact that the retina mbp's sell well indicates there is a market for high end laptops. And most software still runs on windows so it's impossible that there is no market for high end windows pc's.

    The market is crowded with average-ness. Make a good product and market it so people are aware you've made something worth buying. Works for Apple and Samsung....
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    There's a market, sure, but the unsure thing is if anyone could dislodge Apple from it. Samsung did that in smartphones, but look what that took, they had the most costly marketing campaign for smartphones period, as far as I know. The PC market has had shrinking margins for years, plus the sales are in decline, while I don't think it will die soon or ever I suspect the heads of these companies would look at that and find it too big a risk to sink lots of R&D, new manufacturing cost, and marketing into. A booming market like smartphones, sure. Reply
  • FreeAintFree - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Anyone wanna bet HP farmed the design of this out entirely to the OEM. With final approval by accountants. OEM instructions: "Hit this price point and be sure to factor in the payments from these bloatware vendors". Pathetic and deserves to sit on the shelves and collect dust. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Why don't you take any laptops apart anymore? There is no longer any "In" to the "In and around" page... Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    He did say it wasn't serviceable, maybe they use some crazy screws or glue? I'd like elaboration on that too. With some internal mods some of the problems would be helped, namely the hard drive speed. Reply
  • ananduser - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I hate to bring Apple up Dustin, but you should review the 1200$ 13" MBP. First of all I believe that this is the only Apple unit that Anandtech never reviewed. Secondly I would wish to read your opinion(rather if it is at least as stern) on a 1200$ 13" laptop with a 5400rmp HDD and 1280x800 TN panel. Reply
  • protomech - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    The non-retina MBPs aren't terribly interesting, nor are they terribly competitive.

    Anandtech did review the non-retina MBP 15", and struggled to find anything to write about it.
    "It’s pretty difficult to find things to write about the 2012 MacBook Pro hardware. You can essentially sum it up in one paragraph, or even one sentence if you try hard enough. The 2012 MBP looks exactly like the 2011 MBP, which looked exactly like the 2010 MBP, which looked exactly like the post-April 2009 MBP."
  • stephenv2 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    I really am going to stop reading any reviews by this author. Just like the case reviews, his personal opinions and biases are so strong and often things I don't agree with, it's impossible to get much useful information out his reviews. Reply
  • Commodus - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    What exactly do you think is an unfair bias here? Gotta elaborate a little more than that.

    Besides, the benchmarks don't lie. It IS slower than most of the pack. It DOES have terrible battery life. Those aspects matter quite a bit. Is he going to pretend those problems don't exist just to humour you?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Bias towards or against what? If you don't like my work, that's fine, I can't please everybody, but you have to give me some kind of feedback I can actually use. Otherwise your post serves no purpose other than to publicly decry someone.

    Remember there are actual people producing this work, so when you go off and just post something like this it really serves no purpose other than to offend.
  • seapeople - Thursday, May 30, 2013 - link

    I'm pretty sure he was auto-replying, as in, replying to himself. It makes much more sense that way. Reply
  • SirPerro - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Why $170/$370 upgrades are "exhorbitant", "staggering" and "offensive" in this review and not even a "miserly decision" in the MBP one, taking into account that the same upgrades in the apple store are exactly $200/$400 for the MBP whose lack of SSD seems to be much more palatable?

    Please be consistent with the reviews. People out there have brains.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    If I were the one handling Apple reviews, I think you'd find I'd gripe about those, too. ;) Reply
  • SirPerro - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Good to know. I agree with all the adjectives in either case. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I agree with the crazy upgrade prices. I've often ordered stuff without upgrades and just bought the upgraded parts myself cheaper. Which is pretty ridiculous considering now I have two drives and two sets of ram.... Reply
  • APPL - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I own this laptop.

    It is excellent save the usb 3 hd disconnect issues. I use it as a desktop replacement and am about to upgrade the HD to a Crucial M500 960GB in a monthish.

    What is with all the haters?
  • tipoo - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Ah, so you can upgrade the hard drive? That would fix one of the gripes at least. If I got it I would swap in my Momentus XT 750 hybrid from my last laptop anyways, not keep the 5400 standard hdd. Reply
  • barbarbar - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    I own this laptop in a European version. It has the i5, instead of i7. I disagree with this review on a couple of points:
    - The unit is very servicable. The underside can be taken off with regular philipshead screws. This gives access to the full system. The harddrive is easily replaced with an ssd, and the caching ssd is a regular mSata ssd. I have replaced both in 5 minutes, one samsung 840 pro 256 and one crucial m4 256. Both were recognized without problems and work great.
    - The memory can also be upgraded by the user very easily, see previous point. The european version came with 4gb, I added 8gb without problems.
    - HP has made it very easy to do a clean install of Windows. If you make a backup tot a usb stick, with the provided HP software, you can then do a clean install. The HP installer will give you the option for a clean Windows install when booting form this usb stick.
    - The glass touchpad functions very well, although you will need to dive into the settings of the touchpad to get it this way.

    What I do agree with this review:
    - The processor speed it throttled for low noise. Mine will even go as far as to get stuck on a low processor speed when the turbo mode is used fo an extended period, this seems to be a bug. Only a restart will fis this.
    - The machine is very quiet, although there are some problems with defective fans. Mine had to go back for a fan replacement, and several forums list users also having this problem.
    - The price is a little hard to justify for the stock version. Compared to other laptop with a 15" full-hd ips touch screen, 3 usb ports and 2.2kg, it is very hard to find a competitor.
    - The built quality is decent. The aluminum looks good, but the softer plastic on the bottom scratches easily. My usb ports have little pieces chipped, as this is one piece of plastic. The bezel around the screen could use some improvement.

    Overall I think your review is a little too harsh if you keep the main competitors in mind. In a perfect world, I would rank this laptop as an 8 (B). Compared to what is actually available on the market, I think it deserves a 8.5 (B+).
  • tipoo - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    My Dell Studio 15 also does that thing where it gets stuck on low multiplier after a while. I used throttlestop to prevent it, but it is annoying. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    thanks for posting. an honest response from somebody who actually owns it means a lot. Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Well designed high quality chassis and hardware coupled with:

    1. Slow HDD and small SSD cache
    2. Abysmal battery life - its a shame you can call something and "Ultrabook" that barely gets 2 hours of battery life. I get more than this from a 4 year old first gen core laptop with its original battery.
    3. Bloatware city

    HP you just cant help but f'up good things. Cant see who would want this thing.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    Indeed, my 3.5 year old Core 2 Duo laptop on its original 6 cell battery still gets 2.5 hours of moderate use with the screen at half, what the heck HP. Reply
  • Trinitron - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    1080p? Not interested. I'm not buying anything less than 1920x1200. I don't see why 1080 is still being pushed. It's not 2008 anymore.

    1080p needs to die and soon. My Asus Transformer Infinity is 1920x1200 and it's almost a year old now. Why would i buy anything brand new in 2013 which was less?
  • tipoo - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    16:9 vs 16:10. They aren't directly comparable. And 1920 resolution is still really good for a 15 inch. Reply
  • NCM - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    tipoo claims "16:9 vs 16:10. They aren't directly comparable."

    No, pomegranates and shoes aren't directly comparable. Or fish and bicycles. Displays of 16:9 and 16:10 are certainly comparable, and the 16:9's shorter screen always comes out on the losing end of the comparison.
  • Belard - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    I agree with you and Trinitron... I'll be keeping my 1920x1200 res monitor as long as I can. I hate that the notebooks (even ThinkPads) went to 1920x1080. at 15" display at 1080 is as TALL as a 14" 1200 display.

    I do understand WHY they do this. Its cheaper to make and its a standard for HDTV and computers. It *IS* super handy to plug your 1080 notebook to a HDTV and not have the notebook flip through video modes and what-not. That is a big plus.

    So... I hope to get a 27" 2500x1440 display in 2 years that costs under $400.
  • Silma - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    While writing reviews of products that aren't even available on the market and different from what the Customer will purchase is borderline dishonest, reviews that are published many months after product availability are frankly of very limited interest.

    The pros and cons of the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart or the Thinkpad Carbon have already been exhaustively enumerated for monthes in other publications.
  • grave00 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Bean counter. More like top level management. Same people that always wreck the company. Reply
  • PatriciaBau42 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    until I saw the check 4 $7083, I did not believe that my cousin could truley bringing home money part-time on there computar.. there brothers friend had bean doing this for less than 12 months and a short time ago cleared the morgage on there apartment and bought a top of the range audi. I went here, Exit35.comTAKE A LOOK Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Thunderbolt?! Fuck that! I don't wanna pay for that stupid licensing fee. Get rid of it.

    Also I agree about the cache, anything over 1k should have 200+GB dedicated SSD either through mSATA or SATA. Though I'd prefer mSATA so I can have normal hdd for storage.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now