IT’S a great time to be an early adopter. Fading are the days of laptops with cheap plastic and brushed metal bodies. Refinement became the name of the game. Metal unibodies – the preferred form factor – are getting somewhat ubiquitous, however, and tend lack a certain personality.
Enter the HP Spectre Folio, a forerunner of the next natural step in laptop evolution.
- At first sight, associates and clients may mistake the alluring leather exterior as a tablet sleeve. That’s only natural; the Spectre itself is so thin that few would register it as a laptop. But most store-bought sleeves don’t come in full-grain leather. Any keen-eyed client or colleague worth their tanning salt will recognise the sheen and lustre of genuine leather employed in the full wraparound casing, so you may get some queries about it.
“The Folio is extremely well built – while slim, it has a really tough feel to it. While not too heavy, it has some heft to it. You can tell it is well built. It’s rather comforting knowing that it will be able to hold up against the rigours of daily life”
That’s just part and parcel of owning a Spectre Folio, and merely the beginning of the experience.
- The lightweight laptop is textural joy to the fingertips, boasting a fullness and organic sensibility that’s been so absent from our workhorses. Ironic and sad, considering we spend so much of our waking hours in contact with them. With a Spectre Folio, almost every contact point is clad in the warm and rich embrace of the full-grain leather.
- The excellent form of the Spectre Folio has function to match. Employing a sturdy leather casing allows for some ingenious versatility; you can actually switch the laptop between any of three ‘modes’.
- The first and most useful for work contexts has to be the Tablet configuration, where you flip and flatten out the device to get a tablet, on which you can take written notes or ideate collaboratively. Sketches, diagrams, charts – anything your pen can pull off.
- In Tablet position, it also makes for a great couch companion, handily beating the screen size of other premium tablets in the market.
- The second – the Media position – is for the modern jetsetter who mixes in a bit of entertainment on the fly. Any time you grab yourself a cuppa at the VIP lounge, or want to run someone through your decks, this setup puts you closer to the screen in clutter-free fashion.Finally, the Laptop position is your go-to for any serious work. Nomenclature aside, it’s the first laptop you actually want on your lap or near your knees. It stays impossibly cool without even requiring the assistance of a processor fan – so there’s no hot heat being belched out some hidden vent that’ll put you off your work.
- The inevitable question: Does the Folio have a headphone jack? The short answer’s “no” – but in reality, you may find yourself abandoning use of your beloved earbuds anyway thanks the the inbuilt HP quad-speaker setup, which has been tuned by audio specialists Bang & Olufsen. With an array this pedigreed, you can kick back and Netflix away with ease.
“The Folio is extremely portable and slips right in my bag (although I really prefer carrying it out of a case – what better way to put that supple leather to use)”
Detractors of the material may ask – how exactly is a fanless, leather-clad laptop not a recipe for overheating? Well, the problem’s skirted around by a multitude of innovative tweaks. Long story short: reduced power draw by using extremely efficient processors not only keeps heat generation to a minimum while leaving plenty of processing prowess for mainstream tasks.
- A happy consequence is that the Spectre’s battery life is drastically extended as well. Expect a whopping 21 hours or so of FHD video playback per full charge, and even more for less intensive tasks such as working on presentation decks or documents. If you shuttle in and out of the office, you’ll be happy to know that fast charging allows you to pick up as much as 50% charge in just 30 minutes, assuming you can even run the battery down to 0% in the first place.