Trying out the HP Spectre for a week made me hate my old laptop

It’s got desktop-level power and a tablet-style touchscreen, and weighs a fraction of your £100 course textbook


The first thing I noticed when I opened the shiny package holding my new HP Spectre laptop, powered by the Intel Evo platform, was the shape. The power button and charger cable are on the cut-off back corners, so the screen can be in any position without knocking the charger, and you can’t press the power button accidentally (something I do too often when it’s part of the keyboard).

Some of the other features that I’ve found the most useful are quite minor, like having lights on the silent key and the mic mute key, as I’m the person in a Zoom call who’s always triple-checking that they’re muted before joining.

The button on the side that toggles the camera on and off is also really useful for the same reason.

The touchscreen wasn’t something I thought I’d really use at first, until I realised the screen bends back, turning the laptop into a tablet. The keyboard also conveniently turns itself off for this, and there’s the option to turn on “touch mode” which makes it easier to use without a mouse.

The tablet mode was especially good for watching Netflix, and for doing something quickly when I wasn’t at a desk. The auto-rotate and on-screen keyboard makes it feel even more like a tablet, and the keyboard has loads of size and layout options.

I took the laptop to a café several times to work, which was ideal because the battery life is fairly long, and the laptop is relatively light and very thin. The light on the mute volume keyboard button was also good for avoiding accidentally playing my Spotify playlist on full blast to the café.

Uni work was fairly standard on this laptop, as most of what I do as a Biology student is writing and researching. I really like the computer’s speed, which wasn’t affected by the number of documents and tabs I had open at once. I noticed the processing power much more when programming statistics and generating graphs, and especially when running simulations of biological systems, as I was able to have a simulation with good graphics and lots of moving parts working at once without crashing it.

The screen rotation was useful again when I was using it as a tablet because I could have multiple windows on the screen at once. The touchscreen was useful as I sometimes draw diagrams digitally, but if I was going to draw on this laptop long-term I would definitely buy a stylus to make this easier, and possibly use that for note-taking in lectures as well.

And finally, the most important part – TV and music. I use Netflix and Spotify a lot, and found that the highest volume on this laptop was much higher than built-in speakers typically are. The display was really clear and bright when I watched Netflix, and even more so when I was gaming, as I had all the graphics on the highest setting, and still ran the game easily (although the games I play aren’t the most graphically demanding).

If you’re thinking of treating yourself to a new laptop, I would definitely recommend this one.