Taking lessons from the Envy Spectre XT, HP has powered the Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart with an enhanced specs list including a larger, 1080p touchscreen display. Along with superior hardware’s than the previous one, TouchSmart sports a 1.7 GHz, dual core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a thunderbolt port allowing high-speed connectivity.
Specs List And The Display
Last year, HP has decided to keep a constant design in each of its Envy machines, which means the most expensive Envy Spectre TouchSmart and the most basic Envy laptop will be almost identical. The 15 incher XT TouchSmart is 0.87 inches thick and weighs 4.96 pounds, requiring both hands to hold it up. On the right side of the TouchSmart, there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a USB 2.0 socket, thunderbolt port, SD card slot and the combo headset jack.
Being a premium class ultrabook, the Spectre XT TouchSmart offers a standard configuration for its $1199 price tag. The 1.7Ghz, dual-core i5-3317U processor is complemented by Intel HD 4000 graphics and 4GB of RAM. Besides the 500GB HDD, there is also a 32GB solid state drive for caching purposes. By adding $150 extra, it could be upgraded to a machine sporting a Core i7-3517U, 1.9GHx processor powered by 8GB of RAM.
Spectre XT TouchSmart’s 15 inch, IPS, 1080p screen is crisp, colorful and provides excellent viewing angles. Nonetheless, it is still lagging behind some of the best displays provided by other manufacturers like the Zenbook Prime, Chromebook Pixel or the Retina Display of the Macbook Pro. While the brightness is poor, the glossy surface is highly reflective too, making it a bit annoying. The 15-inch display has enabled HP to provide more space for the touchpad and the keyboard. The backlit keypad is comfortable enough for regular usage.
User Experience And Performance
Having a spec sheet of this kind, the XT TouchSmart performs well. Though hardware intensive games like Just Cause 2 or Borderlands 2 were not playable due to the integrated graphics, the core i7 processes regular operations smoothly. One other drawback would be playing 1080p videos while multitasking. The machine boots in about 13 seconds and takes only 1.5 to 4 seconds to wake from sleep mode, thanks to the solid state cache.
HP has included some bloatware on the machine, which could be useful at some instances. The HP Connected Music, sMedia 360 TrueSync and some Windows 8 apps like Amazon Kindle, eBay and iHeartRadio will not be a big issue while they could be uninstalled at anytime. What’s more, some of the pre-installed software like Adobe Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements will be handy in basic video and photo editing operations. Spectre XT TouchSmart buyers will also enjoy a 2-year subscription to Norton Internet Security as a complementary gift.
However, all these additional features will not make up for the surprisingly poor battery performnce of the Touchsmart laptop. Though HP quotes a battery life of only 5 hour and 15 minutes, it did not last for more than three and a half hours in a test conducted by the Verge, which states that it is an hour less than its competitors. Though the laptop does not make much noise and keeps cool even on heavy usage, the short battery life would be a major threat.