HP Envy 14 Spectre Hands-On: Speedy Ultrabook Covered In Glass

How do you turn heads when everyone on the block has an ultrabook -- and most of them look like bootleg MacBook Airs? Make yours fast as hell and built from stylish glass. Updated with hands-on and more pics!

The HP Spectre 14 isn't made entirely out of glass, but it sure does dominate the thing: wristpad, screen, lid, all covered in a shimmering crystalline layer of "scratch-resistant" (Gorilla?) glass. It makes the thing sparkle, but it's also glowing inside: Core i7 processor, up to 256GB of SSD storage and a potential 8GB of RAM.

The 14-inch Spectre weighs half a kilo more than the Air, which isn't trivial, but those looking for an Ultrabook that both stands out and will kill it performance-wise should be pleased. And hey! Beats by Dre audio, if you're into that.

Just don't drop it. [HP]

Confirmed: It is coming to Australia, just no word on when...yet.

Hands On Update: When you hear "glass," you shouldn't think glass like MacBook trackpads are made out of glass. It's actual glossy, this-is-a-thing-I-can-see-my-reflection-in glass. The smudging is really noticeable, but only because it's a whole damn laptop lid made out of glass. When we tried to smudge it, we were able to without much effort. Still, if we were able to smudge the crap out of it in 90 seconds, I don't know how much I'd trust it to stay looking good.

The keyboard is pretty responsive, with a good amount of throw and nice, big keys. And the sensor that turns on the backlit keyboard when you move your hands over the keyboard to type is pretty darn cool, too. The trackpad feels like it might be a little less glossy than the rest of the laptop, but then again, it might just be because we expected it to be. It's way slicker than our favorite trackpads out there, which typically have a bit of grit to them.

Color performance on the 1600x900 screen wasn't incredible, but the video we watched looked pretty darn crisp. Viewing angles were decent—not great during video—but we'll withhold judgement until we can get more than a minute or two with the machine.

Overall, the Spectre feels fast, solid, and while it;s not quiiiite as fragile as you might think when you hear GLASS COMPUTER, its relative toughness probably has more to do with you expecting the glass to crack in half as soon as you touch it.

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