HP is the third company to make a foldable computer, joining a slow-growing list of PC makers to embrace — or at least try — changing the way the best ultrabooks and laptops work. HP's option, the Spectre Foldable PC, has some new engineering tricks and the company's classic premium sheen, but the 17-inch foldable also has a bank-account-busting $5,000 price tag that will place it far out of reach for most people.
HP is dubbing the Spectre Foldable a "3-in-1," a riff on the "2-in-1" title that caught on with laptops that either folded or detached into tablets. In this case, the three forms are tablet, laptop, and desktop.
The specs, of course, are decidedly mobile to fit into a chassis that's slimmer than a pencil when opened. There's only one configuration, including an Intel Core i7-1250U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Those are identical to the parts in the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, which launched in October of 2023, down to the RAM speed. It's a bit surprising not to see HP and Intel move to a newer 13th Gen Intel Core chip, especially at this price point.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1250U|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe|
|Displays||17-inch, 3:4 display, 1920 x 2560, Foldable, OLED, touch screen, True Black HDR 500|
|Networking||Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 and Bluetooth 5.3|
|Battery||6-cell 94.3 WHr|
|Availability||October 2023 (pre-orders available now)|
Also like Asus's foldable, the HP Spectre has a 17.3-inch, foldable 2560 x 1920 OLED touchscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, though HP points out that it is IMAX Enhanced certified. But unlike Asus's screen, which it warned was too fragile to use with a stylus, HP's can be used with a stylus (which comes in the box alongside the keyboard). Notably, HP is using an LG panel, while Asus had one from BOE.
Every Windows foldable so far has used the same trick to become a "laptop": put a keyboard on top of the bottom screen. In HP's case, that leaves over a 12.3-inch diagonal screen. HP's keyboard has a trick where you can slide it down to hang off the edge of the foldable, providing a small bit of screen real estate from the bottom display and providing 14 inches of total screen space. This isn't completely unlike what we've seen on dual-screen laptops like the Asus Zenbook Duo, but it becomes optional. We'll have to test it to see how much we like it, especially as it places the touchpad at an angle.
The keyboard and stylus both attach to the Spectre magnetically, and charge wirelessly. That's a cool addition, especially for the stylus. Microsoft has wirelessly charged a stylus wirelessly with the Surface Laptop Studio, but that's a much larger device. HP has left room in between the two halves of the device when closed to fit the keyboard, so the whole package can travel as one magnetically attached bundle.
Like the ZenBook Fold OLED, the Spectre Foldable has a kickstand built in, so that you can use the device as a monitor with the keyboard attached over Bluetooth (or any other keyboard you choose to use). HP's leaves the Spectre at a 120-degree tilt.
The design itself reflects the Spectre laptops from the last several year: minimalist and premium. HP says this one is made of 90% recycled magnesium and weighs just 1.35 kg (2.97 pounds) before you add in the keyboard, which brings it to 1.62 kg (3.57 pounds). Unfolded, it's 376.1 x 277.05 x 8.5 mm, which HP says is thinner than a pencil. Folded up, the thickness more than doubles as the footprint changes to 277.05 x 191.31 x 21.4 mm
HP is putting a lot of talk behind its hinges, which it says should "withstand the same requirements as other HP laptops." These include hinges connected to metal plates that support the display for a wider folding area in total. To make the weight similar between the two sides, HP has split the 93 WHr battery between each screen.
One issue that other companies that have made Windows-based foldables have had to deal with is that Windows 11's Snap Layouts, while a huge improvement over Windows 10 for touch, still feel designed for one screen. HP says that it has built an "enhanced mode" on top of Snap Layouts that should make navigating the foldable display a bit easier.
The Spectre Foldable is available for pre-order today. In October, the sole $4,999.99 configuration will launch in "limited quantities" at both HP.com and "select Best Buy locations" with a launch in countries outside of the U.S. later this year.