Hands-On With HP's New Leather-Bound Spectre Folio

(Image credit: Andrew E. Freedman / Tom's Hardware)

At an event in New York City today, HP announced the HP Spectre Folio, a convertible with a leather-bound cover and palm rest. It will start at $1,299.99 with a Core i5 processor and jump to $1,499.99 for Core i7 and LTE capability. It is available for pre-order now and will go on sale at Best Buy on October 29.

The display opens like a laptop, but can fold forward over the keyboard as a “forward” stand and fold flat like a tablet. The company claims that it will offer 18 hours of battery life.

The Spectre Folio uses Intel’s 8th Core i5 and Core i7 Amber Lake-Y CPUs and a narrow, custom-made motherboard, which HP claims is one of the smallest in the industry, making more room for a bigger battery. HP vice president of product management Josephine Tan said it's also the first Intel-based LTE laptop that can support gigabit download speeds.

In the U.S., the laptop will connect to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. LTE in Europe and Asia will come in 2019.

The Folio uses a 13.3-inch, FHD touchscreen that the company claims will go up to 400 nits of brightness. A 4K option will be available later this year. The laptops will come with up to 16GB of memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage.

(Image credit: Andrew E. Freedman / Tom's Hardware)

The convertible also comes with a stylus dubbed The Tilt Pen, which offers 4,096 levels of sensitivity, a digital eraser and shading via its tilt functionality.

In our hands-on with the device, I was a little worried about how the leather will hold up over time. On the one hand, it can develop a nice patina, but it could also potentially rip or tear (which has happened with my watchband). The keyboard popped nicely, but seemed a little stiff.

The company said it “looked beyond conventional PC design” in creating the new machine. HP design head Stacy Wolff said that leather is “timeless,” and that the material is what it allows for it to be flexible. HP describes the leather as a “soft chassis,” where the battery, keyboard and touchpad are housed. A harder “upper chassis” is where the motherboard and display live.

The keyboard, which is aluminum, will come in both a traditional black as well as a bright, clean white. We'll be able to tell you more when the Folio shows up in our labs for testing.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

  • JamesSneed
    Its an adult trapper keeper.
    Kinda weird IMO, but i'm all for companies trying out new designs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • velocityg4
    I guess they can count out vegans and vegetarians for this model.

    On an upside is probably won't scratch as much as plastic or metal cases. I'm not sure that I'd want to have to bring out my shoe shine kit to polish it though.
  • lorfa
    @Velocityg4 It's probably faux leather..
  • AndrewFreedman
    21366976 said:
    @Velocityg4 It's probably faux leather..

    Nope. It’s full on, real leather.
  • cdatar
    Possibly use furniture leather wipes?
  • hang-the-9
    First thing that came to my head was some crazy killer making a version of this out of human skin for leather. Hanibal Lecter, meet your laptop.
  • grimfox
    Hang-the-nine, they didn't specify what type of leather it was in the first place. Brings new meaning to getting a new "skin" for your laptop. Tis the season, right?

    Honestly, I kinda like it. I already have a leather (faux) jacket/keyboard for my tablet and this seems like an enhanced version of that. The battery life, if real, is more than substantial enough for me. The size and weight and the OS could be deal breakers for me.
  • WyomingKnott
    About time that they used a decent material to cover things. Some folks just demand quality materials.