The HP Envy 14 Spectre is certainly a notebook like no other. In fact, it looks more like an iPhone 4 than anything else when closed. This Ultrabook is a little larger and 33% heavier than the 13", 3 lb. crowd but that gives you room for more ports and a higher resolution display that won't kill your eyes with tiny text. OK, the text is still a bit small, but more manageable.
The Spectre wears Gorilla Glass on 3 surfaces: the lid, edge-to-edge display and wrist rest area. Thin layers of Gorilla Glass are bonded to the Envy Spectre's aluminum surfaces, and the machine has a black lid and silver deck. Open it up, and the design esthetic is pure Envy--and that's a good thing. Yes, it's a bit MacBook Pro derivative, but who cares: it looks fab. When closed, this is one of the most striking laptops I've ever seen. It attracts crowds in stores here. It looks so good, even those of us who say "looks aren't everything" might just rip out their credit cards at first sight.
Inside, this isn't your usual powerhouse multimedia Envy with dedicated graphics. It's pure Ultrabook, through and through. It runs on the same 1.6GHz dual core Intel Core i5 ULV Sandy Bridge CPU as the HP Folio 13, Dell XPS 13 and Toshiba Portege Z830. It has the same 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD drive. Experientially, it's very fast (that SSD really helps), as are all Ultrabooks for everyday productivity, web and even photo editing. It will not run Crysis 2 like a champ folks, and Skyrim won't be fun.
The Envy 14 Spectre has a very good backlit keyboard, Intel wireless with WiDi wireless display and dual display out ports (a rarity on Ultrabooks). It has both HDMI and Mini DisplayPorts, all driven by Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. It has 2 USB ports (one is USB 3.0), Ethernet and an SD card slot. The base machine described here sells for $1,400, and you can order direct from HP if you wish to get the 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 ULV CPU or dual 128 gig SSD drives. The Envy 14 Spectre has HP's Radiance 14" IPS display running at 1600 x 900. It's a lovely display with great viewing angles and accurate reds but it's not terribly bright. Beats Audio with stereo speakers deliver better than Ultrabook volume and plenty of bass.