There’s nothing actually pretty like HP’s new Spectre Folio. For the beyond few years, the idea of a “computer” has been consistent. There are the conventional, clamshell designs, that are in large part by-product of Apple’s MacBook Air design. There are the 360-style convertibles with displays that turn all of the way around for pill functions, like Lenovo’s Yoga line. And then there are those convertible laptops with absolutely detachable screens that can be used as standalone tablets, along with Microsoft’s Surface Pro or Surface Book.

The $1,299 and up Spectre Folio suits into… none of those descriptions. It doesn’t appear like a MacBook Air, it doesn’t have a 360-diploma hinge, and it doesn’t have a detachable display. Yet, it’s still a 2-in-1 with the ability to replace among a popular clamshell pc and a pill-fashion device. We haven’t visible a pc with a hardware design this specific since the heady days of Windows 8’s craziness.

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On top of that, the Spectre Folio is wrapped in leather, making it visually and tactilely one-of-a-kind from any pc I’ve ever used earlier than. It is certainly one of the maximum thrilling laptops released in years.

Interesting and precise do not suggest properly, but, and the Spectre Folio isn’t always a great tool. But the problems it has can’t be blamed at the smart hinge or the leather-based finish.

The most obvious thing that separates the Spectre Folio from, nicely, each different laptop you can buy is that it is wrapped in real leather-based. It’s now not a case — the leather-based can’t be removed as it’s included into the pc’s metal frame. And it’s not plasticky, faux leather, both — it’s far real leather-based that HP says is harvested from the scraps produced at some point of the producing of other leather-based items. It seems, smells, and feels like the actual component because it’s far actual.

The leather, which comes in brown or burgundy, now not simplest gives the Folio a distinct look, but also gives it a exclusive sense as compared to other laptops. The finish wraps across the top deck, so your hands are usually resting on soft cowhide as opposed to bloodless metallic. The borders of the leather-based wrapping amplify beyond the metallic body, so there are not any actual exposed edges or sharp corners. In those respects, it behaves a lot like a case you may placed on a popular laptop, but because it’s included into the Folio and not detachable, it’s far much less bulky than a case is probably.

Leather is used in an expansion of applications because it’s durable and in reality appears better the greater you use it. The leather finish at the Folio need to show to be greater hardy than the Alcantara material Microsoft makes use of at the Surface Laptop, even though I haven’t used the Folio long enough to completely positioned that to the test. In the month or so I’ve been testing the tool, which include the usage of it on avenue journeys and at stressful press occasions like CES, it has maintained its look and nonetheless basically looks emblem-new.

Leather isn’t a mild fabric, but, and the Folio is a heavier laptop than many different laptops in its class. At three.26 lbs, it’s extra than half a pound heavier than the Surface Laptop 2 and 1 / 4 pound greater than even a thirteen-inch MacBook Pro. That doesn’t sound like plenty on paper, however it is something I right now observed while choosing up the laptop. The Folio’s very thin design doesn’t assist right here, both — it weighs greater than you’d count on when searching at it.

Even with that compromise, I nevertheless definitely just like the finish of the Folio and desire it’s something that HP uses greater in the future.

The different defining function of the Folio is its hinge, which permits the computer to quick transition from standard computer mode to tent and tablet modes. The frame has a flex factor right in the center of the display, and you need to snap the bottom of the display off the body (it makes use of magnets) and pull it ahead to switch positions. It nearly looks like you’re breaking the display screen in 1/2 within the process, but the action is easy to carry out fast.

Pull the display ahead and place the lowest of it between the keyboard and the trackpad and the Folio is in its “tent” mode, which is right for looking movies or Netflix on a aircraft. Interestingly, you still have full get right of entry to to the trackpad in this mode, so in case you don’t want to utilize the touchscreen, you don’t ought to. But annoyingly, there are no bodily volume controls when you pass the display to this function, so the simplest manner to regulate the extent is by using the usage of Windows 10’s on-display controls.

You also can retain to push the display screen till it rests completely on pinnacle of the decrease deck, forming a large tablet surface to work on. HP includes an energetic pen inside the field with the Folio, housed in a goofy-but-practical loop at the right facet of the display. You can write or draw at the screen whilst in tablet mode, and the hinge is powerful sufficient to maintain the display at an expansion of positions among tent mode and fully flat.

The Folio’s inner additives aren’t as interesting as its external design, but there are quite a number factors to focus on. The Folio makes use of both an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Y-series processor, which has no fan and is paired with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. Y-series chips aren’t the maximum effective processors to be had, and may without problems get slowed down and overloaded, however I’ve been impressed with the Folio’s performance for everyday productivity work. I’m capable of run as many tabs as I need in either Edge or Chrome, together with Slack, mail, Word, Twitter, and lots of other apps with out hitting irritating slowdowns or bottlenecks. I even used the Folio for photo enhancing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, all with out pulling any of my hair out. My $1,800 evaluate unit has the Core i7 chip and 16GB of RAM, so it’s basically maxed out in phrases of specifications, however the performance delta among the Core i5 and Core i7 isn’t big and I wouldn’t be too surprised if the majority are just excellent with the lower-cease model.

No fan way the Folio operates silently, and it pretty remains cool, too. I’m no longer sure if the leather-based facilitates insulate the warmth from reaching my legs or if HP’s temperature management just works better here than in other laptops, however the Folio remains cool the whole time I use it.