The lightweight HP Spectre XT 13t-2100 packs solid performance into a remarkably well-built package, but the low-resolution display makes it less enticing than some of its Ultrabook competition. Formerly the HP Envy Spectre XT, the new model simply adds Windows 8.
Ultrabook-style performance. The HP Spectre XT contains the same low-voltage Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB solid-state drive found in most Ultrabooks. That means it's speedy for virtually all everyday tasks, but can't play any 3D games whatsoever. Its battery life is average for an Ultrabook, about seven hours in most tests.
Feels good, but skimps on ports. Reviewers absolutely love the comfortable backlit keyboard on the Spectre XT 13t-2100. The glass touchpad is also above average according to many reports, although PCMag.com found it slightly oversensitive and inaccurate. Like most Ultrabooks, port selection is skimpy, but the basics are covered with Ethernet, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.
Held back by the display. Experts like the Spectre XT's all-metal aluminum and magnesium alloy design, and the four Beats Audio-powered speakers sound solid and strong. Its display is a downer, though; the 1,366-by-768-pixel resolution pales next to competitors and it has poor viewing angles to boot.
Middle of the pack. Nothing about HP's warranty is special, and we don't hear anything particularly good or bad about its customer service.
Average for an Ultrabook. The HP Spectre XT 13t-2100 delivers average Ultrabook performance at an average Ultrabook price. The biggest plus is its comfortable keyboard; the biggest minus is a disappointing display. If you can find it at a good price, the Spectre XT is worth considering, but look first at other choices like the top-rated Acer Aspire S7 (*Est. $1,150 and up) .
Review Credibility: Excellent The HP Spectre XT earns an Excellent rating from PCMag.com for its Beats Audio integration, attractive all-metal design and solid performance at a competitive price. "The Spectre XT may not be the very best ultrabook we've reviewed, but it's one of the better systems, especially among ultrabooks selling for under $1,000," Westover says.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT (13-2050nr), Brian Westover, Oct. 16, 2012
2. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Howley cites many of the same positives as other reviewers, but the glare-prone, angle-limited display combined with the loud system fan irritate him enough to drop the Spectre XT's overall score to 3.5 stars out of 5.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT Review, Daniel Howley, Sept. 14, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent The low-resolution screen also disappoints CNET's Ackerman, but he says the Spectre XT's solid design and keyboard make for a solid overall package. He gives the Ultrabook an Excellent rating.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT Review, Sept. 17, 2012, Sept. 17, 2012
4. Computer Shopper
Review Credibility: Excellent Grevstad gives the Spectre XT 4 stars out of 5, along with Good for Business and Good for School awards, due to its responsive performance and excellent keyboard. He does grumble about the low-resolution display and noisy fan, however.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT Review and Ratings, Eric Grevstad, Sept. 20, 2012
5. The Verge
Review Credibility: Excellent The Spectre XT is rated 7.8 out of 10 at TheVerge.com, one of the higher Ultrabook scores ever handed out here. "It's just so rare to get a competent keyboard and trackpad in such a tidy package, and I could see myself blissfully typing away for hours on end on reviews like the one you're reading," Hollister says.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT Review, Sean Hollister, Sept. 26, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The low-resolution display and somewhat weak audio disappoint Silbert, but she loves the Spectre XT anyway. "A refined, responsive touchpad, even brisker performance and a more palatable price make this a prime contender for the contents of your wallet," she writes.
Review: HP Envy Spectre XT review: a sleek and speedy Ultrabook with a killer keyboard, Sarah Silbert, Sept. 13, 2012