The HP Spectre Fold stands as the most slender 17-inch foldable personal computer globally

HP most compact 17-inch foldable PC

In recent years, PC manufacturers have been in a gradual but determined competition to create a foldable laptop that consumers might genuinely be interested in purchasing. Several companies have joined this endeavor, with Lenovo introducing a foldable ThinkPad, Asus offering a foldable Zenbook, and HP also taking a shot at creating its own foldable laptop.

HP has unveiled the HP Spectre Fold, a Windows laptop featuring a 17-inch OLED screen that can be folded in half. HP claims that the Spectre Fold is the world’s thinnest and most compact 17-inch foldable PC, although there is limited competition in this specific market segment. What’s remarkable is that it weighs just under three pounds, which is impressively light for a 17-inch device.

However, potential buyers should be aware that the starting price for the Spectre Fold is a hefty $4,999.99, making it one of the most expensive laptops ever released and significantly pricier than its competitors. For such a high price, one would expect the Spectre Fold to offer exceptional features, but a final judgment on its capabilities will have to wait.

In terms of design, the Spectre Fold carries the familiar Spectre branding and design elements. When laid flat, it functions as a 17-inch tablet. By deploying the built-in kickstand to prop it up vertically, it transforms into a 17-inch laptop. Folding the tablet at a 90-degree angle and attaching a magnetic Bluetooth keyboard to the lower half turns it into a 12.3-inch clamshell. The idea behind these foldable devices is to offer greater versatility compared to traditional laptops or Windows tablets and to provide a large screen size in a portable form factor.

What sets the Spectre Fold apart from its competitors is the integration of AI technology. HP claims it’s “the world’s first foldable PC with built-in AI for security, wellness, and gesture controls.” This AI promises features such as personalized computing experiences, screen time reminders, touch-free content control, and presence detection for security. While these features are not entirely new for laptops, especially at this price range, their effectiveness remains to be seen.

Under the hood, the Spectre Fold boasts an Intel Core i7-1250U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. The display is a 3:4 OLED with a resolution of 1920 x 2560, a hallmark of the Spectre line known for its exceptional screens. Additionally, the Spectre Fold includes HP’s GlamCam for video calls.

While both the ThinkPad X1 Fold and Zenbook Fold were impressive devices, they had their share of issues that made them hard to recommend at their luxury price points. The ThinkPad X1 Fold had poor battery life and a cramped keyboard, while the Zenbook Fold experienced software glitches. HP’s success will depend on its ability to optimize Windows for the foldable form factor, deliver excellent battery life (HP claims up to 12 hours), and provide a usable magnetic keyboard that feels substantial. Nonetheless, the price tag of $5,000 remains a significant hurdle for potential buyers.