Say hello to my little friend

January 3, 2013

After, what feels like, a lot of trouble  I’ve finally gotten my hands on a (working) HP Envy Spectre XT that I’ve blogged about earlier. This computer is one of the premium ultrabooks in the HP Envy line-up. It’s sports an ULV Intel i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB DDR3 RAM (Soldered), full body aluminum/magnesium shell and a 1366*768 screen. The Spectre XT weighs in at a, not crazy low, but low enough, 1.39 KG. So hardware wise the biggest let downs is the RAM and the screen. Though I believe 4GB will be enough for most of my day-to-day business and the screen is what it is. It has the usual extension ports, but with one little twist, there’s a full-size HDMI port, which is something I see as a big plus as well as an ethernet jack, which is something I’m pretty sure will come handy (unlike a dvd player).

As usual, when buying a new laptop, you need to get the OEM system off of it as soon as possible. This machine came shipped with Windows 7 Home Premium, which, after a complete system backup, was wiped and I installed Windows 8 Pro instead. Thanks to the windows upgrade offer, the final price for Windows 8 was only 15€, which feels like a fair price. This computer lacks any optical media drive, so installed windows 8 with a 16GB USB drive and with the help of Microsoft’s handy Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool.

Though I had a little headache to get all the drivers installed and some things still don’t seem to really work (like the OSD for the FN buttons). but then again that’s not crucial. The overall system feel is nice, it’s responsive and boots quickly.

So far I’ve used the laptop for a day, and I’ve got to say that the reviews were almost spot-on, the keyboard and the trackpad are really great, the only thing I really miss from my Probook is the Home/End/Page up/page down buttons, which I’ve come accustomed to use daily. The Spectre does have these buttons, but they’re combined with the arrow-keys, which’ll probably take some time to get used to.

The only real thing I have to complain about is noise, this laptop, when the fans spin up, is kind of loud. Not OMG-MY-EARS-ARE-BLEEDING loud, but enough to disturb your train of thought in a room with low ambient noise.

Another minor thing that I dislike, but isn’t an annoyance per se, is the Beats Audio thing. My HTC 8x is also equipped with beats and I’ve got to say it’s one of the worst features you can add to an electrical device, I’m a little unsure what it’s supposed to do, but when turning it on and off, the only difference is that the sounds is really amplified by beats, and not amplified in a good way, more like lets distort the sound and destroy your hearing for good.

All-in-all, I’m happy with the product (so far). The packaging was really neat and felt like a premium product, which I guess it should with such a high MSRP. Will this computer fulfill my needs for many years to come? Probably not, but it will most likely do everything I need it to for at least a year forward. And I’m pretty sure this is only the beginning for me and ultrabooks.