It’s an endless rat race in this day and age where laptops are concerned. It isn’t merely due to the seemingly innumerable demands of users whom are constantly evolving, but also the verity substantiating the escalating precedence of form over function. Not to discount performance, but considering how this machine serves as a fundamental accessory that constitutes to scoring its user major style points, aesthetics better be tip-top – we are aware that technophiles may argue otherwise.

The slender, the better, so they say. Bezels are, well, diminishing. And while the general presumption concurs that a smaller chassis on a laptop automatically denotes bigger tradeoffs that ultimately yield inexcusable drawbacks on its power, we beg to differ and fortunately have found a worthy contender that debunks the aforementioned premise. It’s the refreshed i5 8th-gen HP Spectre 13 which ticks most boxes for us. Let us break it down:

The 13-inch device we reviewed looks mighty fine in black paired with gold accents and diamond cut edges. It is refined, opulent, and effortlessly sexy as a whole which is expected for HP’s premium lineup. Every little detail, too, looks elegantly polished even when scrutinised up close, from the keyboard and its chiseled angles to the geometrical speaker holes and clean, neat lines delivered from each viewing angle.

The Spectre 13 still feels sturdy in the hands albeit being so lightweight at only 1.11kg. Though sophisticated, the hinges fall short for being somewhat flimsy, as if nimbly breakable should the lid be opened with force. Another gripe? The lid does not open very wide due to the way it is built and it can be very frustrating when you are accustomed to using your devices at tilted angles in unnatural positions. We will leave that to your discretion.

Surprisingly, the ultra-thin keyboard with a mere 1.3mm key travel offers a pleasant and sheer typing experience. The keys are also nicely spaced out and offer precision – always a bonus for us writers. Lastly, the conventional USB ports are replaced with three USB-C ports alongside the 3.5mm audio jack, meaning you would have to carry the extra USB-C to USB-A dongle as well as the USB/HDMI adapter, both included in the box, should you be using older peripherals.

Equipped with the eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U, the Spectre 13 is impressively fast and efficient for the regular user. However the same cannot be said when there is a high CPU load, during instances with a multitude of tabs open on the browser or any sort of video editing or high-performance rendering programme involved. The whirring isn’t horrendous, but it definitely is loud enough for any user to be aware of.

For a full day of work, the 43 watt-hours step-cell design battery is sufficient, although not including any activity that may stress the processor out. The updated Spectre 13 is equipped with a touchscreen which could be good for scrolling through web pages or presentations, however we admittedly did not get much use out of it. The glossy Corning Gorilla Glass screen additionally signifies having to constantly wipe down fingerprints off of the display.

All in all, the seriously good looking Spectre 13 fulfils our light business and lifestyle demands in spite of the little shortcomings, but for its stylish, ultra-thin and ultra-light build, perhaps the hefty price tag of RM6,799 may very well be worth forking out for.

The HP Spectre 13 (af090tu – touchscreen) retails for RM6,799 and is available for purchase via HP’s official website and authorised distributors near you. Alternatively, check out its full list of specifications here.

Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen