HP Spectre Folio 13 vs. Surface Pro 6: Which should you buy?

Surface Pro 6
Surface Pro 6 (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you want a premium Windows 10 experience the way Microsoft intends it, go with the Surface Pro 6. It'll also save you some money. However, if you want a unique notebook that will look the part, HP has you covered with the Spectre Folio 13.

By the numbers

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Pro 6HP Spectre Folio 13
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250UIntel Core i7-8650UIntel Core i5-8200YIntel Core i7-8500Y
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB
Display size12.3 inchesTouch13.3 inchesTouch
Display resolution2736 x 18243:2 aspect ratio1920 x 108016:9 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620Intel UHD Graphics 615
PortsUSB-A 3.0Mini DisplayPort3.5 mm audioSurface ConnectMicroSD card reader2x Thunderbolt 31x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 13.5mm audio
BiometricsIR camera for Windows HelloIR camera for Windows Hello
BatteryUp to 13.5 hoursUp to 18 hours
Dimensions11.5 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.33 inches(292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)11.5 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.33 inches(292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)
Weight1.71 pounds (775 g)3.28 pounds (1.45 g)

Better performance on the Surface

Microsoft has developed the Surface Pro through six generations and the most recent Surface Pro 6 comes rocking the latest processors from Intel. HP also packed in 8th Gen Intel Core processors into the Spectre Folio 13, but opted for more energy efficient models for better battery life. There's also the case of RAM where the Surface Pro 6 can have 16GB.

The Surface Pro 6 not only houses more capable Intel CPUs, but can also be kitted out with up to 1TB of internal flash storage, which is more than enough for most consumers. Regardless of which option you go for here, you'll be able to do most daily tasks without going in too deep with video editing and other intensive software.

Price-wise, the Surface Pro 6 is also a better value, though you can really bump the price with more advanced configurations.

The battle of gorgeous design

Microsoft did a stunning job with the design of Surface hardware, showing its Windows vendor partners just how to design solid PCs to take on Apple. The current Surface Pro 6 is a beautiful slab of aluminum with a gorgeous display on the front and kickstand on the rear. It's a great tablet that can be used as a laptop with the optional Type Cover.

HP decided to go down a different path, opting for 100 percent genuine leather instead. While the entire notebook isn't made of leather, it's used effectively with traditional aluminum to create something that looks truly unique on the PC landscape. Both devices look amazing so it really depends on whether or not you like leather.

Displays that work well with digital pens

Surface Pro 6 has a 12.3-inch touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio for a boxier look that translates well to the tablet experience. There's enough bezel on both to get a good grip without accidentally hitting the touch portion of the screen, and it works very well with active pens.

Spectre Folio 13 includes an HP pen with the price, and its N-Trig technology also works with other pens, like the Bamboo Ink or latest Surface Pen. The HP Tilt pen and optional Surface Pen (sold separately) both sport 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity that make either a great choice for anyone interested in creation and design.

Both displays offer excellent color reproduction, are well lit, and offer great contrast, but the Pro 6's higher resolution is just going to look better when compared side-by-side to the Spectre Folio 13 at just 1080p. For general use, either display will be up to the job, though for specialized tasks, the Pro 6 makes more sense with the additional performance.

Surface Pro 6 for superior performance

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 offers better versatility than the HP Spectre Folio 13 thanks to faster hardware, more configuration options, and a superior inking experience. If you want a PC that can turn into a tablet, this is it. It does cost more, however, for a complete package, and anyone who's looking for an always-connected tablet they can carry around all day for light tasks will no doubt want to check out the Spectre Folio 13 instead.

HP Spectre Folio is a premium leather notebook

If only the best will do, HP offers the Spectre Folio and it's a unique notebook made from leather and aluminum. Using this notebook out in the wild will turn heads and make you feel better than the rest. The option of LTE and an Intel Core i7 makes it a capable Windows 10 machine.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.