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"As the fastest Snapdragon platform ever, the Snapdragon 8cx will allow our customers to offer a powerful computing experience of multi-day battery life and multi-gigabit connectivity, in new thin, light and fanless design for consumers and the enterprise," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile for Qualcomm Technologies.Standing out in a sea of excellent laptops is tough nowadays, especially with a metal chassis being the bare minimum point of entry to the premium class. Each company offers its own unique take – Microsoft has Alcantara keyboards, Dell offers super thin screen borders and carbon fiber, Lenovo has fancy hinges and OLED displays, Apple has its touch bar, while Asus and Acer offer value propositions. So what’s a laptop brand like HP to do when faced with tough competition and a virtual sea of options for consumers?
Meet the HP Spectre Folio, the company’s latest ultra-portable 2-in-1 13-inch hybrid notebook that embraces a bit of what also makes things like luxury cars great – high-quality leather and classy design. While Microsoft only adorns its keyboards with Alcantara, HP covers the entire Spectre Folio exterior in supple, textured leather that transforms it into a more organic accessory, rather than just a sterile productivity, entertainment or content creation tool. This isn’t your grandma’s Honda Civic-grade leather either; think more on the level of an Audi A8 with the aromatic properties of a Bentley. It’s the first notebook we’ve ever tested that has that fresh, new luxury car smell that leaves you wanting an occasional whiff of its scent. This may draw odd looks from those passing by in public, but we don’t care, it’s the first notebook we’ve come across that’s worth a sniff, no scratching required.
Of course, you can’t have a sexy form without the functional guts to back it up, so HP offers the option of 8th generation Amber Lake Intel Core i5 or i7 Y-series processors. The 5-watt TDP U-series processors are dual-cores with four threads, optimized for ultra-thin and light form factors, packaged as a single-chip solution and designed for pairing with LTE connectivity that serves as a successor for the previous Intel Core M-series platforms.
HP offers the Intel Core i5-8200Y and i7-8500Y as the two processor options. Both processors share the same dual-core, 4MB cache and Intel UHD Graphics 615, but the Core i7-8500Y has a 200 MHz base clock and 300 MHz Turbo clock advantage. Intel clocks the Core i7-8500Y base clock at a paltry 1.5 GHz, but it can Turbo up to 4.2 GHz when needed. The Spectre Folio is a completely fan-less and vent-less design, so its dead-silent and doesn’t need the occasional cleaning via compressed air.
The Core i7-8500Y is a $200 up-charge alone and the only CPU available with 16GB of RAM. Ready-to-ship and retail configurations come with 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, but a 16GB option is available for build-to-order with the Intel Core i7-8500Y upgrade for $300. A 256GB PCIe NVME SSD is the smallest SSD available, which is standard on ready-to-ship and retail models. Those willing to wait can opt for 512GB, 1TB or 2TB options at a cost of $140, $440 or $1040, respectively. There’s only a single screen option, a 13.3-inch, 1080p, IPS, micro-edge WLED-backlit and touchscreen display. It’s no ordinary flat panel, however. HP claims it’s a low power consumption panel that only sips 1W of power and delivers up to 400 nits of brightness. HP plans to offer a 4K option later, too. Regardless of resolution, the Spectre Folio touch screen features Gorilla Glass 4 for added protection and includes a standard HP Active Pen for drawing and note taking.
Prices start at $1299 for a base model with the Core i5-8200Y, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. Best Buy sells a slightly upgraded model with the Core i7-8500Y for $1399 but we’ve seen it go on sale for $1249.99. Our review unit arrived with the Core i7-8500Y, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and integrated LTE to always stay connected and available as build-to-order for $1758.98. Let’s take a closer look at the hardware design to see if the HP Spectre Folio continues to please after its positive first impression…
It feels crazy to us that the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is once again right around the corner (next month, in fact), but here we are, just weeks away. That means the rumors and speculation are starting to flow, with regards to what CES might bring. Accordingly, there is talk of NVIDIA launching its mobile RTX GPUs at or just before the convention.
One thing we can reasonable assume is that NVIDIA will eventually port its Turing GPUs with dedicated real-time ray tracing hardware baked inside over to mobile, after having already launched Turing on the desktop. Will it actually happen at CES, though? We can't say for certain, though as the rumor goes, NVIDIA's RTX Mobility series will launch on January 6, which is actually a couple days before CES officially kicks off.It's also said the embargo on RTX Mobility will lift on January 26, nearly three weeks after the unveiling. Presumably, that's when review sites will be able to publish performance numbers and other details that may not have been announced at CES.
If that's truly the case, then NVIDIA and its OEM system partners might already be sampling laptops with RTX Mobility GPUs inside. That also means there will likely be leaked benchmarks ahead of CES, as typically happens in the lead up to new product announcements. As always, we'll be taking those with a grain of salt—it's never certain if leaks are legitimate, and even if they are, you have to factor in pre-release drivers that may not be fully optimized. Case in point, NVIDIA and Dice collaborated on a recently released GPU driver update and Battlefield V game patch that purportedly improves ray-tracing performance by up to 50 percent.
In any event, Turing in mobile form might be just around the bend. If you're in the market for a new laptop, you may want to wait a bit, even if you're not interested in Turing. There could very well be sales on older laptops with Pascal GPUs inside as vendors look to clear out their old inventories to make room for the new stuff.On the other hand, if you're in dire need of a laptop, be aware that waiting is a gamble. It's not a given that Turing will launch in mobile form at CES, or that products will be available around that time. After all, it was rumored back in September that a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q mobile GPU was weeks away from launch, and that turned out to be false.
Microsoft has just encountered a string of bad luck with Windows 10 updates in recent months. It had to pull its October 2018 Update after it went rogue by deleting users' files. Most recently, a Windows Update borked the Windows Media Player in Windows 10.
Now, we're heaving that a rather routine release of cumulative updates resulted in trouble for owners of Microsoft's own Surface Book 2. You wouldn't expect for a cumulative update (KB4467682) for Windows 10 version 1803 (April 2018 Update) to have harmful effects on a machine, but in the case of some Surface Book 2 owners, the update released last week has sparked a number of Blue Screen of Death (BSODs) on systems. Surface Book 2 owners have been complaining not only on Reddit, but also on Microsoft's own answers forum. Some lucky owners have been able to restore their Surface Book 2 machines to normalcy by uninstalling KB4467682, however, some unfortunate souls have found that going that route only presents them with a bricked machine upon rebooting.
"Well, for some reason removing the update bricked my surface," wrote Luis10e10 on Reddit. "Now I can't even get into the OS. Just have blue screens. I will have to reinstall windows.""Also having this problem," added seinberg. "WTF Microsoft? Seriously - your flagship laptop device, and you're sending out updates that cause widespread BSOD. I can't even uninstall the update without it failing."The cause of the problem hasn't been pinned down at the moment, but some people are pointing to potential problems with Intel display drivers, the onboard Bluetooth controller, or Windows Hello. With that being said, Microsoft has officially addressed the issue in an update on the support page for KB4467682:After installing this optional update some users may get a blue or black screen with error code, “System thread exception not handled.” A resolution for this issue will be available in the December 2018 security update release.