When HP announced the new Spectre Folio last October, it caused a stir. HP has been steadily providing some of the most stylish and exciting laptops on the market over the last couple of years, but the Spectre Folio takes the styling in an entirely new direction. For the first time ever, HP chose leather as a material for the entire laptop’s exterior. The Folio also offers a somewhat unique take on the convertible as well, with a display that pivots to lie on top of the keyboard, and this, combined with the leather exterior, means HP’s Spectre Folio stands apart from all other PCs on the market today.

Laptops have been primarily plastic or metal for decades. Plastic is cheaper, easy to mould, and durable. Metal offers better heat transfer, looks great, and generally feels great in the hand. Leather offers a different take. It’s soft in the hand. It tends to be very durable, and over time can develop a nice patina, and although you may feel it’s going to be less durable than a metal laptop, in reality any nicks and dings in the leather will likely blend in, whereas on metal they tend to stand out. Plus, it can be dyed various colors, and HP offers both a Cognac Brown and Bordeaux Burgundy color, both of which look amazing.

HP built the Spectre Folio to be fanless as well, which means they’ve chosen Intel’s Y series of Core processors. Although these are the latest generation Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y, the 5-Watt TDP limits them to two cores and four threads, both of which are half of a typical U series 15-Watt processor found in most notebooks of this size. A mobile workstation this is not, and we’ll dig into the performance later in the review. The laptop also ships with 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3, and of course Intel’s UHD 615 graphics. If you need lots of storage, HP ships with up to 2 TB of NVMe SSD, although you’ll pay for that privilege.

HP Spectre Folio
Model Reviewed: Core i7 / 8 GB / 256 GB
  Core i5 Core i7
CPU Intel Core i5-8200Y
1.3-3.9 GHz
Intel Core i7-8500Y
1.5-4.2 GHz
RAM 8 to 16 GB LPDDR3-1866
Storage 256GB to 2TB NVMe SSD
Display 13.3" 1920x1080 IPS
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
3840x2160 IPS Optional
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Intel XMM 7560 LTE Advanced Pro optional
Audio Bang & Olufsen quad-speakers
Keyboard Full-size backlit
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (via included dongle)
Headset jack
Battery 54.28-Wh battery
65-Watt AC Adapter
Dimensions 12.6 x 9.23 x 0.60 inches
Weight 3.28 lbs
Ships with Digital Pen
USB-C to A dongle
Prices $1299.99 and up

The 13.3-inch notebook offers impressive expansion though, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports offering 40 Gb/s transfer rates, and a third USB Type-C port as well. It feels like we’re at a point where moving completely to USB Type-C is not the burden it once was, but HP also ships the notebook with a Type-C to Type-A adapter for accessing older devices.

For all-day connectivity, HP offers the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 network adapter, which is one of the best on the market. In fact it’s likely only surpassed by the Intel 9260. HP also offers LTE integrated into the laptop with the Intel XMM 7560 modem. Pair those with the 55 Wh battery, and you’ve got a true all-day anywhere device.

HP also includes a stylus in the box, along with a pen holder you can stick on the laptop. It offers Windows Hello IR facial recognition, and Bang & Olufsen speakers. This is all excellent, but really, the key to this laptop is the leather design.

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  • peevee - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    What 5V/9V? Seriously, dude, stop posting the nonsense and go see a psychiatrist.
  • wilsonkf - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Maybe he means USB-C power output? :P
  • HStewart - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Please research before you post - Intel change the voltage on Y models from 5V to 9V. But this could also because WIFI 6 integrated in chip in addition Thunderbolt 3
  • HStewart - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

  • bubblyboo - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Christ you're dumb. You mean 5W to 9W TDP, not 5V/9V. And it won't mean jack shit since Intel never has correct TDP either. It only means 10nm is a power hog as predicted.
  • Hifihedgehog - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    HStewart really started to lose his marbles ever since the time Ryzen 3000 was unveiled at Computex. I truly pity him.

    That said, I am not very hopeful that Ice Lake will be a very good performer at lower power. As Ian found with his review of the Cannon Lake based NUC, the silicon draws more power at a given frequency than previous generations. That leads me to believe their 10nm manufacturing process is particularly leaky. That would naturally explain why they had to raise the power rating on their Y-class/Core M products to a 9W TDP. Even with all the tweaks and workarounds they may have done at the logic level to ease the brunt of their broken process at the silicon level, power draw potentially remains as a serious issue.
  • Korguz - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    hstewart.. please do your own research before YOU post.. its watts NOT voltage... as bubblyboo said.. intels cpus rarely run at the TDP they say.. these 5 WATT and 9 WATT cpus will probably run higher then that...
  • Hifihedgehog - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    Watts, not volts, dude.

    Thunderbolt is not always active and therefore it and the other features that got pulled into the CPU die shouldn't be contributing to such a high TDP. I am quite skeptical and wary of Ice Lake and I am thinking that their 10nm manufacturing process is leaky just like Cannon Lake was which contributed to its unusually high power draw.
  • Korguz - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    HStewart... are you ok ?? did you fall on your head ?? do you have ANY idea what would happen if you put 5 or 9 VOLTS of power into a cpu ?? it would probably fry and die in a firery death... is your blind fan boyism so bad now you can think straight
  • AshlayW - Friday, June 7, 2019 - link

    To be fair, and old calculator contains a lot less complex technology than an Ultrathin notebook. So...

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