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HP Envy 14 Spectre review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1200
inc VAT

A great looking Ultrabook with a fantastic screen, but it's not particularly fast or light


14 in 1,600×900 display, 1.8kg, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M, 4.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

HP may be a little late to the Ultrabook market, but the company has made a big splash with the Envy 14 Spectre – it’s a stunning looking machine that’s built from scratch-resistant aluminium with Gorilla Glass for the display as well as on top of the lid and the touchpad. The glass helps make the Spectre, at 1.8kg, one of the heavier Ultrabooks we’ve seen, but it certainly makes the laptop stand out even among other Ultrabooks.
HP Envy Spectre
The great design continues underneath, with an aluminium chassis, glass wrist rest and black Chiclet-style keyboard. It reminds us of the MacBook Pro, particularly the HP logo on the lid that glows white when the system powers on, but there’s one area where it even outclasses Apple’s laptops; the screen.

The Spectre’s 14in Radiance Display LED screen is simply outstanding, making it the best screen we’ve seen on any Ultrabook to date. The 1,600 x 900-pixel panel has vibrant colours, excellent contrast and incredible brightness, and outclasses that of our current favourite, the Asus ZenBook UX31. Horizontal viewing angles are wide and there’s ample screen tilt, so you should have no trouble finding a comfortable working position. Despite having a glossy finish, the screen doesn’t suffer too much from reflections.
HP Envy Spectre
Despite the Beats Audio branding, audio quality from the laptop’s speakers was barely any better than that of other Ultrabooks we’ve seen. Bass was still lacking even after adjusting the equalizer presets, but overall sound quality was clear enough for web-based video. Dedicated buttons on the side of the chassis enable Beats Audio and mute the system. There’s also a volume dial, but oddly you have to roll it towards you to increase the volume, which seems the reverse of what we were expecting.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 20x327x221mm
Weight 1.8kg
Sound IDT HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 14 in
Native resolution 1,600×900
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics/video ports HDMI, mini DisplayPort
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 128GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 2
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDXC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports minijack headset port, 1x USB 3.0


Carrying case Yes
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £1,200