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HP’s Annual Refresh: The New Spectre and What’s New

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     Companies love their annual releases. After all, why release a new, big improvement every 3 years when you can simply release an incremental improvement every year and make the same amount of money?

     While I personally have nothing against annual releases, I find that many companies tend to get lazy with them. Most of the time, you’re better off waiting 3-4 years for the next model, as upgrading each year offers nothing except minor improvements. This isn’t limited to laptops, by the way, but laptops suffer from this dilemma quite a bit.

     HP’s Spectre line of laptops suffer the same fate, but HP won’t let their laptops lie dormant. In fact, HP’s new Spectre x360 13 offers many improvements compared to last year’s model.

     So…what’s new? Allow me to give you a brief overview of every important upgrade made and feature added with the new Spectre 13.

New Upgrades

     Perhaps the most impressive upgrade is the 4K screen. Yes, a 1080p option still exists, but the previously LCD 4K screen has been upgraded to an OLED 4K screen. The OLED screen allows the screen to be much more colorful and vibrant, giving cinephiles the perfect viewing experience.

     Along with the move to OLED, the 4K screen will adopt True Black HDR, allowing the full potential of the OLED screen to be realized.

     Moving on from the screen, we have the security improvements, which are, admittedly, why I felt it important to write this article. HP seems to be on some sort of a security kick, as the press release makes mention of many security improvements, which include (but are not limited to):

  • A way to completely turn off the webcam, keeping any hacker from snooping you through it,

  • A dedicated mute button for the microphone,

  • A built-in privacy screen that is optional (though it won’t be available until January 2020),

  • And more.

     However, the biggest improvement is HP’s decision to partner with cybersecurity companies in an effort to spread awareness of ways users can protect themselves while on the Internet and/or on public networks.

     The companies in question? LastPass and ExpressVPN. Yes, HP has partnered with a VPN company and a password manager–two things many cybersecurity enthusiasts recommend using at all times.

     The partnership means that both programs will be preinstalled on the new Spectre. Furthermore, a free 30-day trial for both will be given to users, allowing users the chance to try out the programs before they try to uninstall them. It’s pretty neat, in my opinion!

     HP’s press release states all these security improvements are due to six in 10 consumers being concerned about their privacy while on the Internet. No matter the reasoning, I’m glad HP is leading the charge in bringing a bigger focus to cybersecurity, though I hope HP becomes more…involved in their partnerships later down the line.

      And hopefully, a few years down the line, HP’s attempt at bringing more attention to cybersecurity influences more companies to make security a primary focus for their products, instead of an afterthought that’s tacked on near the end of the manufacturing process.


     Not many annual releases innovate in a way that makes yearly upgrades worth it, but HP’s new Spectre 13 aims to do away with this reputation. Form the incredible, new 4K screen to the numerous security improvements, the new Spectre x360 13 looks like a decent upgrade from last year’s model–if you can afford it, of course.

      If you’re in the market for a new laptop and the features of this Spectre sound like a good buy, you can head on over to HP’s site and configure your own Spectre. Be warned, however, that most Spectre configurations will not ship until later this month, as it’s a pretty popular item. 

      But if you can afford it, I definitely recommend it., especially from a security perspective. 

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About the Author

Jack Warner

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.

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