When HP announced the new Spectre Folio last October, it caused a stir. HP has been steadily providing some of the most stylish and exciting laptops on the market over the last couple of years, but the Spectre Folio takes the styling in an entirely new direction. For the first time ever, HP chose leather as a material for the entire laptop’s exterior. The Folio also offers a somewhat unique take on the convertible as well, with a display that pivots to lie on top of the keyboard, and this, combined with the leather exterior, means HP’s Spectre Folio stands apart from all other PCs on the market today.

Laptops have been primarily plastic or metal for decades. Plastic is cheaper, easy to mould, and durable. Metal offers better heat transfer, looks great, and generally feels great in the hand. Leather offers a different take. It’s soft in the hand. It tends to be very durable, and over time can develop a nice patina, and although you may feel it’s going to be less durable than a metal laptop, in reality any nicks and dings in the leather will likely blend in, whereas on metal they tend to stand out. Plus, it can be dyed various colors, and HP offers both a Cognac Brown and Bordeaux Burgundy color, both of which look amazing.

HP built the Spectre Folio to be fanless as well, which means they’ve chosen Intel’s Y series of Core processors. Although these are the latest generation Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y, the 5-Watt TDP limits them to two cores and four threads, both of which are half of a typical U series 15-Watt processor found in most notebooks of this size. A mobile workstation this is not, and we’ll dig into the performance later in the review. The laptop also ships with 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3, and of course Intel’s UHD 615 graphics. If you need lots of storage, HP ships with up to 2 TB of NVMe SSD, although you’ll pay for that privilege.

HP Spectre Folio
Model Reviewed: Core i7 / 8 GB / 256 GB
  Core i5 Core i7
CPU Intel Core i5-8200Y
1.3-3.9 GHz
Intel Core i7-8500Y
1.5-4.2 GHz
RAM 8 to 16 GB LPDDR3-1866
Storage 256GB to 2TB NVMe SSD
Display 13.3" 1920x1080 IPS
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
3840x2160 IPS Optional
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Intel XMM 7560 LTE Advanced Pro optional
Audio Bang & Olufsen quad-speakers
Keyboard Full-size backlit
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (via included dongle)
Headset jack
Battery 54.28-Wh battery
65-Watt AC Adapter
Dimensions 12.6 x 9.23 x 0.60 inches
Weight 3.28 lbs
Ships with Digital Pen
USB-C to A dongle
Prices $1299.99 and up

The 13.3-inch notebook offers impressive expansion though, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports offering 40 Gb/s transfer rates, and a third USB Type-C port as well. It feels like we’re at a point where moving completely to USB Type-C is not the burden it once was, but HP also ships the notebook with a Type-C to Type-A adapter for accessing older devices.

For all-day connectivity, HP offers the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 network adapter, which is one of the best on the market. In fact it’s likely only surpassed by the Intel 9260. HP also offers LTE integrated into the laptop with the Intel XMM 7560 modem. Pair those with the 55 Wh battery, and you’ve got a true all-day anywhere device.

HP also includes a stylus in the box, along with a pen holder you can stick on the laptop. It offers Windows Hello IR facial recognition, and Bang & Olufsen speakers. This is all excellent, but really, the key to this laptop is the leather design.

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  • ingwe - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    I really like the looks of it. I am curious how it will wear though.

    Overall it feels just a bit too expensive for what it is. I like the idea that it is convertible, has great battery life, has an LTE modem, and doesn't sacrifice too much performance (though it definitely isn't fast). At $1000 I feel like it would be amazing.
  • wr3zzz - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    I've had the Folio for a few months now and while I am not a road warrior anymore the leather wears extremely well.
  • bello832 - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    I will wait for the meltdown version
  • III-V - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

  • 69369369 - Saturday, June 8, 2019 - link

    ^ And this is why Anandtech should get rid of the comments section permanently.
  • Opencg - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Ah finnaly; A passively cooled laptop in a full leather exterior.
  • RealBeast - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Hopefully soon to be available in dominatrix red.
  • guachi - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Wasn't overly impressed until I got to the battery life. If you aren't going to stress your system, this looks like a great laptop.
  • FwFred - Saturday, June 8, 2019 - link

    Fantastic battery life if you're always on the go.
  • HStewart - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    I think it would be best to skip this and get 10th generation, I have not seen anything on Y series but likely longer battery life and better performance. Yes Y series move from 5V to 9V, but Thunderbolt is integrated and higher voltage should increase performance. I serious doubt anybody would notice it.

    One thing I like about my Dell XPS 13 2in1 in compared to Dell XPS 15 2in1 is quite and extremely light - actually very similar to my old MacBook Air. The new one significantly faster but has fans.

    On this notebook, I would agree HP has bad name for it - but that is part of past now so probably does not matter. Personally I think HP has seriously lost it quality - especially from days of older calculators - I heard stories of some of original HP calculates surviving be run over on road in snow and ice. I think it was HP 25 or 29.

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