When it comes to Windows 8, one of the pain points for consumers is learning the various gestures, such as swiping in from the right to bring up the Charms menu. HP hopes to smooth this learning curve with the Spectre 13 Ultrabook, a 13-inch notebook that has two special zones in its trackpad specifically for Windows 8 commands. We went hands-on with this ultraportable, which will be available October 16 for $999.
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About half an inch of the left and right sides of the overly large trackpad, called the Control Zone, has a slightly gritty texture; press down on the right section, and it brings up the Charms menu. Press on the left section, and it will show thumbnails of the apps that are currently open. Activating the menus was slightly wonky on the demo unit HP had on display, but it was a preproduction sample.
In addition to this novel touchpad, the Spectre 13 has all the trappings of a premium Ultrabook. Weighing just over 3 pounds, its lid, deck, and underside are all an attractive brushed aluminum. Combined with its wedge shape, this system reminds us of the ASUS Zenbook UX31A–not that it’s a bad thing. The Spectre 13 has all the trappings of a premium Ultrabook.
At its starting price of $999, the Spectre 13 Ultrabook will come with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD, and 4GB of RAM, and will last up to 9 hours on a charge, according to HP. Additionally, the notebook will have a VIVID QHD display (2560 x 1440) with ultrawide viewing angles, backlit keyboard, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and an SD Card slot.