HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15t Notebook Review

by Reads (352)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 7
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 5
      • Usability
      • 8
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 6
      • Features
      • 8
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 6
      • Total Score:
      • 6.86
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Beautiful touch-enabled display
    • Good build quality
    • Great keyboard and touchpad
    • Good port selection
  • Cons

    • Glossy / Reflective display surface
    • Slow hard drive

Quick Take

The HP Spectre XT 15t is a well-packaged 15-inch notebook with a great mix of features. Look for models on sale with SSD storage.

The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15t is a high-end multimedia notebook that is well-packaged with a mix of features. The notebook is 14.87 x 10.01 x .87-inches and weighs 4.96 pounds. The computer runs on an Intel Core i7 dual-core processor and has a 32GB SSD, 8GB RAM and integrated Intel HD Graphics. The notebook has no upgrade capabilities beyond purchasing a model with more SSD storage. The Spectre XT 15t is priced at $1,174.99 at the time of the review.

\"HPNotebookReview noted the chassis is inflexible and the lid is resistant to twisting. The notebook has a rubberized base and the keyboard and touchpad are depressed into the palm rest.  This large Ultrabook has a full size Chiclet-style keyboard with extra spacing between the keys and LED backlighting. NBR found the keyboard to provide a “fantastic typing experience” and noted excellent tactile feedback and quiet typing. The clickpad is generously sized and lacks physical buttons. NBR had a “solid touch experience” when using the clickpad.

The notebook features an array of ports including two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, media card reader, a headphone/microphone combo jack, AC power jack and Kensington lock slot.

The Spectre XT 15t features a 15.6-inch touch-enabled IPS display with full HD resolution and unlimited viewing angles. NBR noted the glossy display acts like a mirror and is distracting in bright light, but found the screen has excellent contrast and brightness. NBR also noted the touch capability works well with Windows 8, but the display is prone to wobbling. The four Beats-branded speakers produced sound quality that is a step above most notebooks. NBR found the notebook’s cooling system to work well, but noted the fan makes some noise when working at full speed. The 4-cell li-ion battery lasted two hours and 47 minutes during tests, which NBR noted is equivalent to five hours of real life use.

NBR found it unusual that the Spectre XT 15t runs on both a traditional hard drive and SSD. NBR experienced a fast start-up and minimal wait times when running most programs, but noted storage drive-intense tasks had longer wait times. Users can purchase versions of the notebook with upgraded SSD, but NBR found purchasing the upgrades “isn’t a bargain by any means.” The notebook is not good for HD gaming, but the processor runs exceptionally fast and the 8GB of RAM is good for running multiple programs at once.

Overall, NBR found the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15t to be a “competent and capable multimedia notebook.” NBR was pleased with the touch-enabled display, build quality and port selection, but was disappointed with the reflectiveness of the screen and the slow hard drive. NBR recommended the Spectre XT 15t, but noted with the high price tag, users want to look for models on sale with upgraded SSD storage.


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