The HP Spectre 13t has the right mix of smart design, premium quality, beautiful display, and powerful hardware to make it our overall pick for an HP laptop.

Our pick

HP Spectre 13t

High-quality build and powerful hardware.

HP's 13-inch Spectre has plenty of customization options available, including up to a 4K display and two color options. Choose from a number of 8th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU), and take advantage of a future-proof selection of ports for your external devices.

Who should buy this HP laptop

Anyone looking for a high-quality HP laptop that doesn't convert into tent, stand, or tablet modes — strictly a notebook — should check out the Spectre 13t. It's a well-rounded laptop that can handle a day's work, but if you need extra power for gaming or editing, you might want to check out something specifically designed for those uses.

Is it a good time to buy this laptop?

HP generally releases refreshed models of their laptops near the end of the year. If you hear rumors of a newer Spectre 13t coming out soon, it might be smart to wait for the new hardware. You'll likely be able to find the older models cheaper, or you'll have the opportunity to get your hands on the latest hardware. If you need a laptop now, though, know that the current version with 8th Gen Intel CPUs will last well into the future.

Reasons to buy

  • Beautiful premium build and design
  • 4K touch display available
  • Touchpad, keyboard are spot on
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Plenty of customization options available

Reasons not to buy

  • Cheaper options available
  • Might need more power for gaming or design

The Spectre 13t is a great all-around laptop for most people

There's no way around it: the Spectre 13t is probably the best looking laptop currently on the market. The chassis is just 0.4 inches (10.4 mm) thick, it's available in two different color combinations — ceramic gold with white or dark ash with copper — and the whole thing weighs just 2.45 pounds (1.11 kg).

One of the best looking laptops out there has the performance hardware needed for a day's work.

The 13.3-inch touch display is available in an FHD or 4K resolution, with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 offering up enough power for light gaming and multimedia editing. Above the display is an IR camera compatible with Windows Hello, and the selection of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 and one USB-C 3.1, are set for the future.

For internal hardware, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and take advantage of a keyboard and touchpad made for easy productivity.

Alternatives to the HP Spectre 13t

The Spectre 13t is great if you need a standard clamshell notebook, but there are alternatives for those who are in search of something a bit different. Whether it's a convertible, gaming, or business laptop, HP has solid options on offer.

Runner-up

HP Spectre x360 13

Premium laptop with convertible design.

Available in three colors, this premium convertible laptop takes a beautiful design and allows you to turn it into a tablet. There are plenty of hardware configurations available, and you can get a 4K touch display with pen support.

If you'd like a convertible laptop, the Spectre x360 is the best coming from HP. Convert to stand, tent, or tablet modes, enjoy up to a 13.3-inch 4K touch display with pen support, and sign into Windows 10 quickly thanks to an IR camera and Windows Hello. Inside, get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD.

Value pick

HP Pavilion 15t

Low starting price with plenty of available upgrades.

This laptop starts at $540, but comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU. If you have a few more dollars to spend, upgrade the display and RAM for best experience.

HP's Pavilion 15t comes at you with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, and you can toss in an AMD Radeon 530 graphics card (GPU) for an extra $100. Get up to 16GB of DD4 RAM, a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD) coupled with a 256GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch FHD touch display. Costs will rise accordingly, but you're still saving a good chunk of money by opting for this laptop.

Best 2-in-1

HP Envy x2

Computing on the go.

Need a mobile, lightweight HP device to take with you wherever you go? The HP Envy x2 relies on mobile broadband for an always-connected experience, with hardware inside that gets ridiculous battery life.

The Envy x2 is one of the first Always-Connected PCs powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU to hit the market, with 4G LTE connectivity and a two-day battery. This is light computing at its best, with an Adreno 540 GPU, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and 128GB of UFS storage. Build quality is through the roof, a detachable keyboard lets you use the device as a notebook or tablet, and the 12.3-inch touch display has a 1,920 x 1,280 resolution. The tablet weighs just 1.57 pounds (0.71 kg), and it's just 0.27 inches (6.86 mm) thick, making this a truly mobile PC.

Best gaming

HP OMEN X 17t

Big display and bigger performance.

If you're a gamer interested in HP, the OMEN X 17t has a lethal combination of design and performance, with up to a NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU inside.

For the listed price, you can get inside a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD, and a 17.3-inch FHD display with 120 Hz refresh rate, but there are plenty more options available if you have money to burn. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, three USB-A 3.1, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, and RJ45 Ethernet.

Best business

HP EliteBook 1050

Great performance and extra security features.

With 8th Gen Intel Core CPU options, discrete NVIDIA graphics, and plenty of extra security features, the EliteBook 1050 is a great option for a business laptop.

The EliteBook 1050 comes with plenty of available configurations, including up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8850H vPro CPU with GTX 1050 GPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD with the option for a second SSD up to 2TB. The 15.6-inch display is available at 4K with an integrated Sure View privacy screen, and there are plenty of ports for connecting your external devices.

Bottom line

The Spectre 13t is our top pick for an HP laptop thanks to a gorgeous design, high-quality build, and plenty of configuration options available. If you need something cheaper or something more focused on a specific task, though, there are some quality alternatives available.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing mainly on PC hardware and VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and when he has some free time you can usually find him practicing guitar or reorganizing his ever-growing library. If you hear him say "Sorry!" it's only because he's Canadian.

Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

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