Hands on with HP Spectre Foldable 17in

For reasons I didn’t expect - including a 20% discount around Cyber Monday, I have an HP Spectre Foldable. (specs: HP Official Spec Sheet )

Here are some initial observations and opinions:

Much to like:

  • Best speakers I’ve ever had in a laptop/tablet. The default setting out of the box blew me back with good bass and treble. (Sticker on the bottom says IMAX Enhanced(?))
  • Screen is very bright (the photos below are at about 50%), crisp images, very movie worthy.
  • Build quality is excellent. “Slate Blue”, matte finish is the only option; shows some fingerprints if you care.
  • Battery life is excellent. With the screen at 50%, fully open I streamed a movie using right at 10%/hr. Once updates and indexing ran, combination of full screen and half screen seem to indicate 10+ total hrs. I don’t have exact figures, but battery drain is very slight while its asleep.
  • Intel EVO i7/Iris X integrated graphics/16GB/1TB is the only option on the website
  • Performance is snappy. A bit warm when running the initial updates, minimal fan noise.
  • Pen is MPP. The nib is a softer material and given the plastic nature of the folding screen, it has a pleasing (to me) bit of drag rather than that slick glass feel. Rocker switch/side buttons; no eraser on the end. The pen also charges while magnetically attached to the device. The picture below shows a lack of tails on the writing.
  • Weight 3.5 lbs with keyboard and pen; 2.99 without
  • Size slightly narrower on both axes than the Surface Pro 8 pictured below
  • Keyboard is bluetooth and charges while attached to the main chassis. There is also a USB C cable that allows separate charging or direct connection to the PC. Responsive, comfortable size, not very deep travel, IMO. The unit closes over the keyboard attached.
  • There is a USB C hub/dongle included in the box with this SKU, as is the keyboard and pen

Use case benefits:

  • With the keyboard off, and the screen partially bent and propped up, it is a great height for ZOOM/Teams calls with the camera above; you can keep the app you’re using for reference below. See photo below.
  • With the screen fully open, its great to have 2 documents side by side for review, or a doc/pdf next to OneNote.
  • When I lecture, the large format screen is great for “mind mapping”/drawing in real time.
  • I’m tempted to build some OneNote templates that would layout like a full size desk blotter with planner page elements on it and leave the thing open on my desk while using the pen.

It is what it is:

  • It would be difficult to walk around with the screen fully open and take notes using the pen - for me anyway.
  • One of the pictures below shows the keyboard partially attached to the bottom. It can slide down and the portion containing the trackpad is actually hinged to hang off and below the main chassis. This exposes an additional strip of screen above the keyboard. HP is supposed to have included some software to make apps run in that section, but I don’t plan to use it.

A few nits:

  • The keyboard is not backlit.
  • Usual HP crapware, including McAfee. Lots of preconfigured Edge tabs for vendors to clear out.
  • No option for 5G or LTE
  • The “kick-stand” (pictured below) only has one angle. It rests well on the book stand on my desk, though.
  • Some apps still struggle with the screen orientations. My theater system didn’t know what to do with the screen unless the keyboard was fully attached.
  • When the keyboard is attached, the screen orientation does not change. It would be nice to have a portrait option while the keyboard is attached.

HP Spectre Foldable vs Surface Pro 8:

  • With the keyboard attached, it is easily “lapable.”
  • Better battery life
  • I do prefer the inking experience on the HP
  • SP8 has LTE
  • I could see myself carrying the HP instead


  • I don’t use a PC for gaming
  • I don’t run big data sets
  • I don’t code on portables
  • I don’t do complex/high quality artistic drawing
  • My lighting is sub-optimal for the pictures, and they have been shrunk considerably tor posting here. The screen closeup shows artifacts that are photography.
  • The ruler in the picture is just for relative scale. Exact measurements are on the spec sheet linked above.




You have a new career as hardware reviewer! Only negative I see, besides price, is why on heaven and earth no cellular for a $5000 device…

1 Like


I realized I omitted the photos of the keyboard sliding down while partially attached. I created 3 Microsoft Sticky Notes in the additional screen space created above the keyboard for reference.

It also has the option to bring up an on screen keyboard that covers the lower half with the same extra space as show below. You can type on the screen instead of a physical keyboard, but it’s too sensitive for me to use extensively. That may be a passable solution for the lack of backlighting in some situations.



Any pics of the stylus? How does the accuracy of the displays compare?

That “hinge” in the keyboard deck is an interesting design choice.

Here you go. Scale comparison to Apple Pencil 2, Flair felt tip, standard #2 pencil. Barrel has a slightly smaller diameter than the Apple Pencil. Well balanced but does not feel heavy.

The barrel does have a flat edge for the magnetic attaching function. The white text on the barrel are a sticker I haven’t gotten around to removing.

Accuracy is equivalent. I don’t typically use “pressure” sensitive apps or draw with particularly fine lines. The “slow diagonal line” test is as straight as I can draw it; no squiggles I can detect.

Does that help?


Does it have that Lenovo or Asus funtion of making part of the lower part time screen (you only use it part of the time) into a ten pad key or graphic wheel or any kind of practical function?


Not that I have found; TBH - I haven’t looked for it very hard. Setting up those sticky notes was the first time I thought the space might be valuable after all.


Blame Intel and Qualcomm. As I have said in other threads, putting 5G and core I 12th gen and later in the same chassis is a significant design/engineering challenge.

To put the minimum level of shielding needed so that processor doesn’t interfere with transmission, or conversely have the modem throttle the processor would have made for a significantly thicker device.

Not to mention the issues that could arise with pen support.

All of the above is why Intel tried for a long time, and Apple continues to develop their own modem.

Not to mention the ginormous patent wall that Qualcomm has built around 5g tech


That’s ok - now that I’ve transitioned to Apple, and with the bigger battery of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, I am going to switch back to tethering since it is seamless on my Apple devices and will be adequate for when I really need it.

1 Like

Excellent overview and congrats, looks like an awesome device.

, that is an interesting point. I wonder from which screen size this would change. Personally I think it can be bigger than Neo, perhaps two 11" halves/screens (basically 2 Surface Go screens with thin bezels). Otoh with the HP Fold’s 12.3" screen in laptop mode it is still usable in clamshell mode, a 11" screen might be too lacking.

1 Like

@Bishop : Great review! If I hadn’t just bought my Asus Z13, I’d be tempted.

I’m intrigued by your pen comments, though. I assume you mean that the pen is MPP 2, as is my Z13. However, I still see a few squiggles when doing the slow diagonal line test…?

1 Like

Thanks. The pen is MPP2. I have to really go slow to get squiggles in a line, and some of that may be my biomechanics vs. the hardware.

1 Like

So, back to my digital blotter use case:

I did build a simple template for OneNote of a 2 page weekly planner. I maximized OneNote, then went to full screen. The image is a screen shot. No zooming in or scrolling around to get to everything on the page. I scaled the page for college rule line spacing for easy handwriting space.

(Technical note: The template itself is gray lines on a transparent background so the page color can be changed in the app.)


The peak of computerization - digital imitates analog!


TLDR: I’m dstraussing the HP Spectre Foldabale, BUT …

This is really nice hardware. Other than the usual “pen acts up at the very edges” nit with all tablet devices, I really can’t fault the fit and finish.

For the right use case, it will be killer. The use case is my issue.

I always thought the large format screen in a mobile setting would enable the pen-centric work flow I’ve been after. The last couple of weeks have let me understand that when I need the full power of Windows and its full-blown applications, I need a keyboard to be fully productive.

Trying to switch back and forth between typing and inking requires too much flipping and temporarily looking for some place to lay down a keyboard for my liking. It’s been this way since the beginning of the tablet PC era and is the same with the Surface, except that its keyboard easily tucks underneath - but the interruption in workflow is still there.

Maybe when the software matures and or the price comes down, I’ll try a large format foldable again. Until then, a Surface or laptop plus iPad for inking notes will serve me better. Curses, still no single device solution unicorn.

Good news is the deal I purchased under extends returns until January 15. I also will have my cash free just in case one of these new Windows ARM devices gives us 24-hour battery life at a lower price point.


Sorry old friend, but it will get 10-12 hours (not shabby) but will be among the highest price SKU’s in the Surface catalog.

So we have seen some interesting 2 in 1 designs over the years (Surface Pro, Surface Book, Acer ConceptD, Neo/Yoga 9i, ThinkBook Twist, HP Spectre Foldable …), if you ignore the specs and weight, which solution do you think is the best for your use case?

Maybe if the ARM model gets overshadowed by the Intel model again (Meteor Lake seems pretty decent so far), then there will be some good deals.

Taking your parameters, the Surface Book was the best form factor for me - weight being the biggest downside. Surface Pro is second.

Also a close contender was the 2014 ThinkPad 10 (Lisa’s Review of ThinkPad 10 here). Of course the Atom processor was woefully weak, battery life was lacking. and I prefer a 3:2 or 4:3 screen, BUT the fit/finish/form factor was excellent. I’d love to see something like this in the new class of WOA devices.

1 Like

Interesting. As a side note I think the more efficient CPU’s are becoming the better the Surface Book design will be (since the tablet battery life would still be decent). Surface Book 13.5" is also one of the only/few Windows tablets that combines a big screen with low weight.

1 Like