The HP Spectre 14t-3200 Ultrabook rolls through average tasks without breaking a sweat, and distinguishes itself with a high-quality design and potent audio/visual punch. On the downside, it's not the lightest or most powerful Ultrabook out there. Formerly the HP Envy 14 Spectre, the new version just adds Windows 8.
Capable, but not a racehorse. Experts say the Core i5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD will blow through everyday tasks, but the Spectre 14t's integrated graphics can't play modern games and it doesn't match the sheer power found in some other offerings. However, the laptop can be configured for more power at HP.com. The base model's 128 GB hard drive also leaves some critics wanting; it has only about 70 GB of available space once bloatware and system files claim their share. Even so, the Ultrabook boots quickly and lasts a long time on a charge.
This is what a laptop should feel like. With its 4-pound weight and slim frame, the HP Spectre 14t-3200 is a breeze to carry around town, although the abundant use of glass in the design makes it a bit heavier than other Ultrabooks. Experts love the comfortable backlit keyboard, and say the glass touchpad is a joy to use and almost as natural-feeling as the touchpads found in Apple's MacBooks.
The Spectre 14t wins high praise for its abundant connectivity options. Unlike many Ultrabooks, it includes both HDMI and Ethernet ports along with several wireless offerings, including Bluetooth 4.0, Intel's WiDi wireless display technology, an NFC chip for near field payments and HP's Wireless Audio.
Attractive as it is versatile. The Spectre 14t-3200's glass-topped display will make passersby stop and gawk, reviewers say, and that glass aesthetic continues throughout the design. The bright 1,600 by 900-pixel display is just as eye-catching, and the onboard Beats audio booms out loud and clear.
Customer support is run of the mill. HP's warranty options match industry standards, nothing more, nothing less. Users say the entire customer service experience is equally mediocre; HP's quality and support isn't great, but it isn't bad, either.
A decent value proposition. Ultrabooks always carry a premium over standard-size laptops, but the HP Spectre 14t-3200 is a solid deal for the price.
Review Credibility: Excellent PCMag.com gives the HP Spectre 14t an "Excellent" rating. The performance isn't the best, but it's good enough, and Grevstad finds the glass design, keyboard and battery life to all be very good.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre, Eric Grevstad, March 13, 2012
2. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Smith thinks the Spectre runs hot and costs a bit much, but its solid performance and top-notch audio/visual abilities lead her to give it 4 stars out of 5.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Sherri L. Smith, March 14, 2012
3. Computer Shopper
Review Credibility: Excellent Torres isn't quite as taken with the Spectre as some other reviewers. He thinks the average performance fails to justify the notebook's premium price, and he isn't a big fan of the glass-covered touchpad.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review and Ratings, Timothy Torres, March 14, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent The fetching glass design and high-quality touchpad win over Ackerman, who gives the Spectre 4 stars out of 5 and another Excellent rating. He finds the Ultrabook's price to be a bit steep for the performance, but admits, "to be fair, very few laptop users are doing anything that requires a Core i7 CPU, and you probably aren't one of them."
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Dan Ackerman, March 13, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent The Spectre gets a score of 8 out of 10 from TheVerge.com, which is almost unheard of from this demanding reviewer. "It's got a better display, trackpad and port selection than most any ultrabook on the market," Hollister writes.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Sean Hollister, March 14, 2012
6. Notebook Check.net
Review Credibility: Excellent A European variation of HP's Ultrabook scores a high rating here. "All-in-all, potential buyers of the HP Envy 14-3000eg Spectre will receive an Ultrabook with great hardware and various extras, which could be the deciding factor," Büttner writes.
Review: Review HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook, Marcel Büttner, May 10, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Engadget.com subjects the Spectre to one of its notoriously long reviews and comes away impressed by the design, performance and extras. Even so, Wollman fails to recommend it due to its $1,400 price tag. Since this review was posted, the online price of the Spectre has dropped by several hundred dollars.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Dana Wollman, March 14, 2012
8. PC World
Review Credibility: Good Case isn't put off by the Spectre's price tag so much as its weight, but even that negative can't outweigh all the positives. "Gorgeous looks plus a great interface and display overcome the Envy 14 Spectre's slightly higher weight," he says, giving the Ultrabook 4 out of 5 stars.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review: Beefing Up the Ultrabook, Loyd Case, March 29, 2012
Review Credibility: Good "If sheer performance is your foremost concern, you can leave this machine off your list of contenders," Brown writes. "Fortunately for HP, the Spectre boasts plenty of other reasons for us to recommend it." Its excellent display, design and features boost the Ultrabook's rating to 4 stars out of 5 and help it nab a Recommended Product award.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Michael Brown, April 30, 2012
Review Credibility: Good The song remains the same at Britain's TechRadar.com: Parsons says the Spectre may not be super powerful, but its attractive design and abundance of features more than make up for any benchmark shortcomings.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre Review, Jeff Parsons, Feb. 8, 2012
Review Credibility: Good Null likes pretty much everything about the HP Ultrabook, even though its performance isn't mind-blowing. "The only real drawback to the Spectre is its weight," he says. He particularly enjoys the Beats-powered audio.
Review: HP Envy 14 Spectre: Glass Act, Christopher Null, March 26, 2012