HP Spectre 13
HP's Spectre range has impressed us over the years with
beautiful aesthetics and premium build materials and the latest addition to the
lineup, the 13.3-inch Spectre 13, is certainly no exception. Sporting a
machined aluminum unibody chassis with a stylish, brushed 'truffle brown' lid
and base, complemented by a 'champagne gold' interior, the Spectre 13 just
oozes class — don't worry, despite their extravagant names, the brown and gold
colors are actually fairly muted and tasteful.
HP Spectre 13
On the inside, HP has fitted the Spectre 13 with a
nicely-sized chiclet keyboard with a firm response and fairly generous travel
distance. The keyboard also sports one of the brightest backlights we've seen
on an Ultrabook, which makes typing in the dark a real pleasure. Below the
keyboard, you'll find HP's unique 'control zone' clickpad, one of the widest
track pads we've ever seen. The clickpad consists of a regular size middle
section, which feels like a normal track pad, and two sections on the left and
right side with a gritty, darker gray finish. These side sections are designed
to be used with Windows 8.1 - clicking anywhere in the right area will open the
Windows 8.1 charms menu, while clicking the left area will display the
last-used apps menu, saving you from constantly opening unwanted menus with
that awkward edge-swipe gesture. Double clicking either area will take you to
the tiled Modern UI screen.
The Spectre 13 is available with either a Full HD 1920 x
1080 resolution display or a QHD+ 2560 x 1440 resolution display, which rivals
the display found on ASUS' Zenbook UX301. As expected, clarity on the QHD model
is superb, and the display itself is also bright with excellent viewing angles.
The control zone clickpad is one of
the widest around
Price-wise, you pay quite a bit for the QHD display, which
retails with an Intel Core i7-4500U 1.8GHz processor for $2,499, while the Full
HD option (with the same processor, but a 128GB SSD) is available for $1,999.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro isn't just an Ultrabook it's a tablet
as well. While other manufacturers also make convertible Ultrabooks, Lenovo is
the only one to completely merge its Ultrabook and convertible categories
together, as it is able to offer a convertible design with absolutely no
compromises in its notebook form, thanks to Lenovo's patented hinge design.
The Yoga 2 Pro is essentially the same machine as the one
it's replacing, 2012's Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, but with a few key upgrades. Along
with a new Intel Core i7-4500U 1.8GHz processor, Lenovo has added an insanely
high resolution 3200 x 1800 QHD+ display, which instantly makes it the king of
13.3-inch displays, surpassing the likes of HP, ASUS, and even Apple's Retina
MacBook Pro. Not only that, the IPS panel is also exceptionally bright with
near perfect 180 degree viewing angles.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Build-wise, like the Ideapad Yoga, the Yoga 2 Pro sports an
all-plastic build with a coat of scratch-resistant metallic orange (or grey)
soft touch paint. We're not normally fond of plastic builds, but the finishing
on the Yoga 2 Pro is top notch and neither looks nor feels cheap. The interior
also has a soft leather-like textured finish that provides a comfortable
surface for resting your wrists.
The keyboard on the Yoga 2 Pro is one of the best, with
well-spaced, rigid individual keys and plenty of travel. The clickpad is also
responsive and accurate.
As with the previous Yoga, the Yoga 2 Pro can be converted
into four different usage modes: notebook, tablet, tent, and stand. The latter
two modes are designed for movie-watching and media consumption.
Surprisingly, Lenovo has managed to keep the price of the
Yoga 2 Pro very affordable. Despite its super high resolution display, the i5
model (which utilizes the same 256GB SSD) goes for just $1,949, while the i7
model is available for $2,099.