A pleasure to use, but overpriced for what it is


On its own, the Envy 14 Spectre is a nice laptop. And we mean that in the most superficial way: This is one of the loveliest, most memorable machines we've tested recently, and its 1,600 x 900 display is unparalleled -- at least in the Ultrabook category, where it's slim pickings for high-quality screens.

The problem is the price. We're not saying that $1,400 cost of entry makes the laptop any less of a solid product, but we're coming up short on reasons why you would choose this over a $1,100 ASUS Zenbook UX31, or even a $1,300 MacBook Air. Those are two beautiful, finely crafted options right there, and let's not discount the $1,000 Dell XPS 13 and $1,200 Lenovo IdeaPad U300s. We love these for their looks too, even if they are safer than the Spectre's glass-and-metal show. And while the Spectre's 1,600 x 900 screen is a delight, the UX31 offers the same resolution for hundreds of dollars less. Most importantly, perhaps, the Spectre doesn't perform any better than less expensive Ultrabooks packing similar (or identical) components. Worse, it's saddled with a stiff clickpad -- something that can't be remedied with a quick driver update.

Given those demerits, the Spectre's biggest distinguishing features are its stunning display, two-year warranty, complimentary software, Beats Audio, limited NFC capability (a gimmick) and its glass design (another gimmick, but a damn gorgeous one). Unless you're a die-hard display aficionado, the Envy 14 is a bit overpriced for what it is, even if it is a pleasure to use.

Critic reviews

5 reviews
  • Speed and features
  • Design and form factor
  • Battery life
  • Display
  • Durability
  • Expandability
  • Noise
  • Portability (size / weight)

sort by

User reviews

2 reviews
Engadget Mar 14, 2012

On its own, the Envy 14 Spectre is a nice laptop. And we mean that in the most superficial way: this is one of the loveliest, most memorable machines we've tested recently, and its 1600 x 900 display is unparalleled.

Read the full review →
CNET Mar 13, 2012

Its design is funky without being impractical, and it doesn't become a prisoner to its novelty. It is, however, expensive, without offering higher-end components to help justify the cost.

Read the full review →
Laptop Magazine Mar 14, 2012

The HP Envy 14 Spectre is a highly functional work of art, fusing stunning good looks with strong performance, a fast boot time, good audio and satisfying battery life. However, the design feels a little heavy...,and the $1,399 price is $100 more than the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Read the full review →
PC Mag Mar 13, 2012

The HP Folio 13 retains our Editors' Choice because it's a better value, but if you can afford its price premium, the Envy 14 Spectre will give you a larger, higher-resolution display, an excellent keyboard, and a handful of genuine niceties or little touches, all in a gorgeous glass wrapper.

Read the full review →
SlashGear Mar 13, 2012

But if you like the looks of the Envy 14 Spectre, want a laptop that’s compact, flexible and has one of the best screens out there, and you’re willing to put down at least $1400 to get it...Spend your money, and you shall not be disappointed.

Read the full review →
Tethys Tethys

This is an amazing machine that put a bit more attention into design than the function, but it has an excellent keyboard, an amazing display and a host of random features (I might be the only person that actually finds a use for the NFC-chip enabled URL transfer, having used it a few dozen times...

Read the full review →
danlemire danlemire

While I am just now beginning to log some time on this machine, it's a very pleasent expereince. The screen really is fantastic. I really dislike to recent display trends that have us staring at a 1366x768 resolution, it's quite frustrating. So the 1600x900 is a really big deal. The monitor...

Read the full review →

How it stacks up

Instantly compare the HP Envy 14 Spectre side by side with some of the top devices on Engadget!

Compare these

Other HP laptops / portables

Don't forget to check out these other devices by HP, you might find something good!

See all HP laptops / portables