HP recently announced its Spring lineup of Spectre and Envy laptops that closely follows what it announced last Fall, targeting the hybrid work environments we live in post-pandemic and how we are all creators. HP stands out from the crowd because it approaches who a creator is.
Pre-pandemic, it was very apparent who would be considered a creator, specifically those who create entertaining media on our favorite media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tock, Reddit, etc. I believe inherently we are all creators, created in the image of God to imitate Him in being creative and artistic. I also believe that, while technology can do harm in the world, it can also be a tool for better-expressing creativity; in the way, we take pictures, design in Blender, and write code and blogs.
Take the innovative progress of smartphone cameras as an example of how humans have used technology to express our creativity. Anyone with a smartphone made within the past five years can take high-quality pictures and even edit them immediately from a smartphone to their artistic pleasure. While the progress of smartphone cameras leads to more creators, I believe HP is taking an inverted approach by recognizing that creators are everywhere and making the tools creators need to express their creativity more accessible.
While I do advocate for creators of all kinds, I also believe that the passion for creating is not enough to monetize your creation. Yes, I am taking a shot at the expression, "do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life." Diligence and a great work ethic create rare and valuable skills that allow creators to turn their creations into gold. That is why it is important to recognize that the hybrid work environment of the creator and the worker are co-dependent. Our mobile devices—smartphones, laptops, and tablets—are all tools that allow us to work hard and create value in our profession.
Everyone is a creator in some regard, and HP has recognized this insight with its new lineup of Spring devices. Let's dive into HP's newest hybrid Spectre and Envy laptops lineup.
The Spectre x360 13.5-inch and 16-inch 2-in-1
The Spectre x360 13.5-inch has a 3:2 aspect ratio, making it great for web browsing and productivity tasks. I prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio for 2-in-1 as I believe it is friendlier to touch applications than the 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios. The Spectre x360 13.5-inch comes with Intel 12th Gen Core U series processors and Intel Iris Xe Graphics and is Intel Evo certified. I believe HP hit the mark by including the 5MP camera that it recently put in the Spectre x360 16-inch. Recently, video cameras have played a significant role in collaboration, and implementing a better camera is a no-brainer.
The Spectre x360 16-inch is very similar to the one released last Fall, featuring a 5MP camera with video collaboration features; more on those features later. The Spectre x360 16-inch has been refreshed with 12th Gen Intel Core H and P-series processors and an Intel Arc A370M Graphics. There is no option for a higher-end NVIDIA RTX 3050 as we saw in the Fall release, and while I commended HP for putting serious power in the HP Spectre x360 16-inch then, it seems as though it is taking two steps forward and half a step backward. Considering the Intel Arc Graphics were set to release Arc 5 series this Summer, actually around this time, I imagine that was the plan for the Spectre x360. Later this year I expect to see a Spectre x360 16-inch with Arc 5 and 7 graphics. Nevertheless, it gives HP the chance to focus on battery life which in the world of hybrid work, portability and longevity are perks to strive after.
The Spectre x360 16-inch and 13.5-inch are both Intel Evo certified, supporting about 15 hours of mixed battery usage for the 16-inch and 17.5 hours of mixed battery usage on the 13.5-inch with a 50% in 45 minutes charging time. I believe these battery specifications leave enough room to not hug an outlet, but we have to keep in mind that once the battery gets to below 25%, the battery saver mode limits these devices significantly. I do not expect the 50% for 45 minutes to be uniform throughout the battery either. If the laptop battery is at 50%, it will take longer to charge to 100% (+50%) than 45 minutes. That is how lithium-ion batteries have always worked. I digress by saying the Spectre x360 has a lot to be excited about, considering it has gone full Intel, and 15-17.5 hours should be enough for a working period.
Both the Spectre x360 13.5-inch and 16-inch have great display options. The 13.5-inch model has WUXGA+ (1920 x1280) and a 3K:2K (3000 x 2000) with 400 nits peak brightness for SDR content. The 16-inch model has a 3K (3072 x 1920) and UHD+ (3840 x2400) display resolution options with a peak brightness of 400 nits for SDR content. Although the 16-inch display has a higher resolution, the quality should be similar for both displays considering the pixels per inch (PPI) for both devices are about the same. Both devices should have more than enough for content creators with display options with 100% sRGB or 100% DCI-P3 color accuracies.
The Envy x360 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch 2-in-1
The Envy x360 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch are very similar to the HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch and 16-inch laptops. The most notable difference between the Spectre x360 16-inch and Envy x360 15.6-inch is that the Envy comes with the option of Intel and NVIDIA hardware or AMD hardware. The HP Envy x360 15.6-inch comes with either an Intel 12th Gen Core U and P-series processor or an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor. The Envy x360 15.6-inch also comes with the option for an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 GPU for the Intel model. I believe these specifications, both the Intel and AMD variant, are more than capable of giving creators the tools to create productively. The Envy x360 15.6-inch does come with a 16:9 aspect ratio which is best for consuming media. I still believe that the 3:2 aspect ratio for a 2-in-1 convertible provides the best experience.
The HP Envy x360 13.3-inch has similar specifications to its 15.6-inch bigger brother but without the AMD option. It comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core U-series processor with Intel Iris Xe Graphics and no option for a dGPU. I believe the focus for the HP Envy x360 13.3-inch is to be the most mobile and versatile with long battery life. HP says it is capable of 20.5 hours of battery life for video playback and 17.5 hours of battery life for mixed usage. Again, like the 15.6-inch model, I believe the 3:2 aspect ratio is best for 2-in-1 devices, and I believe it fits the use case of the HP Envy x360 13.3-inch much better. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio which is the preferred aspect ratio for video and audio editing because it has more vertical space than the 16:9 aspect ratio which is best for consuming content.
The Envy 16-inch and 17.3-inch
The Envy 16-inch and Envy 17.3-inch have even more beefy internals for content creation. The Envy 16-inch comes with 12th Gen Intel Core H-series processors and either an Intel Arc A370M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory or an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB of DDR6 memory. The Envy 16-inch packs a nice punch for content creators. Although the RTX 3060 offer more performance than the Arc A370M, I am pleased to see HP include the Arc A370M as an option, considering it should have better battery performance than the RTX 3060. It also tells me that HP has good confidence in the A370M to have a tier under the RTX 3060.
The Envy 16-inch has a 16:10 aspect ratio which makes sense on the Envy 16-inch since many creators will use it for video and audio editing. I believe HP hit the nail on the head with port selection. Having the right ports on a device is important for creators, especially when using a lot of videography, photography, and audio, and an SD card reader is a must-have. The Envy 16-inch and the Envy 17.3-inch has 2 Thunderbolt 4 with USB4 and 40GBps transfer speeds, 2 USB Type-A with 10GBps transfer speeds, a multi-format SD media card reader, an HDMI 2.1 port, and an audio jack. The Envy 16-inch also has an advanced gamer-like thermal chamber to address higher temperatures under intense workloads.
While the HP Envy 16-inch is the best for power-intensive folk, the Envy 17.3-inch should draw the more productive workflows and those who desire a larger display. The Envy 17.3-inch comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core P-series processor with either Intel Iris Xe or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 GPU. The Envy 17.3-inch should have more than enough performance for intensive creative sessions on the go. The Envy 17.3-inch also has a 16:9 aspect ratio which is great for consuming media. I believe the Envy 17.3 has all the right features for someone who desires a portable hybrid workstation.
HP Palette and collaboration features
HP has also implemented many thoughtful features within its devices for enhancing video calls and collaboration. HP's Appearance Filter uses AI to touch up the skin, teeth, and eyes to look better on the camera. It also has a Backlight Adjustment feature that places a filter on the camera to create a better image in bad lighting conditions. HP devices also have Auto Framing and Bi-directional AI Noise Reduction for higher quality video calls.
HP has equipped all of the Spectre and Envy devices with HP Palette, HP's digital workspace for creativity and productivity. HP Palette has Photo Match, which uses AI facial recognition to find and match faces within the gallery. This is similar to what Google offers in its Photos app, except Photo Match searches locally. HP also has Concepts and QuickDrop, HP's take on a sketching application and a Quick Share or AirDrop application. It also has Duet, which allows for a tablet to be used as a secondary screen. Obviously, these features are not new ideas and are a part of HP creating an ecosystem within its creative laptops. Most of these applications within HP Palette are for syncing between devices. In order for HP Palette to gain traction, I believe it would need to have impressive interoperability between other software, not just other devices.
I like HP's direction with its next generation of Spectre and Envy laptops. Understanding how the world of work and creativity mix is not as complicated as one may believe. A person's success within their workflow opens the door to more creativity, and I believe HP is equipping its users with the right tools within its Spectre and Envy notebooks.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.