The HP Spectre Foldable is a 3-in-1 computer designed to be used as a tablet, laptop, or portable desktop PC. It has a 17 inch OLED display that can unfold for use in tablet or desktop modes, but which can also be bent at the middle, allowing you to use the computer like a laptop.

While HP isn’t the first company to enter this space, the Spectre Foldable stands out from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold and Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in a few ways. It’s the first to have a built-in kickstand, making it easy to stand up the display for use in desktop mode without the use of any removable (and losable) parts. And it’s also the most expensive model we’ve seen so far in a product category that’s already known for expensive devices: HP says the Spectre Foldable goes up for pre-order today at Best Buy for $4,999 and it should be available from HP.com in limited quantities in October for the same price.

That price will probably make this computer a pretty tough sell, especially when you look at other specs. The Spectre Foldable is only available in a single configuration, which comes with:

  • Display: 17 inches, 2560 x 1920 pixels, OLED touchscreen w/400 nits brightness, 500 nits HDR, and 99.5% DCI-P3 color gamut
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1250U processor (9-watts, 10-cores, 12 threads)
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe (950 MHz / 96 eu)
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR5-5200 dual-channel memory (onboard, not upgradeable)
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4
  • Wireless: WiFi 6E, BT 5.3
  • Audio: Quad speakers w/B&O audio, DTS:X Ultra
  • Camera: 5MP IR camera with privacy switch
  • Battery: 94.3 Wh
  • Charging: 100W USB Type-C power adapter
  • Keyboard: Detachable full-sized soft cover
  • Stylus: MPP 2.0 pen with 4096 levels pressure sensitivity and tilt detection
  • Dimensions: 277.1 x 376.1 x 8.5mm (unfolded) / 277.1 x 191.3 x 21.4mm (folded)
  • Weight: 1.35 kg (w/o keyboard) / 1.62 kg (w/keyboard)

While those specs are decent for a mid-range computer, they’re kind of underwhelming for a computer that costs nearly $5,000.

But… HP is making the case that this isn’t just computer, but that it’s truly a 3-in-1 device that can replace a laptop, tablet, and desktop (at least under some circumstances). It’s still a tough sell, but it gets a bit more interesting when you look at some of the things HP has done to enhance the foldable experience.

For example, like other foldables, this model comes with a keyboard that you snaps magnetically in place on top of the lower display for use in laptop mode. But you can also pull that keyboard forward so that it reveals a portion of the lower display, giving you more screen real estate. And HP has expanded on Windows 11’s window snapping feature to automatically recognize when you’re using the computer in this way and offer additional snap zones so that you can, for example, view a video call in the upper screen and your notes in a window on the lower screen.

Those expanded snap modes only show up when the keyboard is connected and pulled forward. They disappear when you’re using the computer in other modes. The keyboard also supports wireless charging, allowing it to draw power automatically when it’s placed on the Spectre Fold, so it will effectively seem like the battery never needs charging.

You can also remove the keyboard entirely to reveal the full 17.3 inch display (or dual 12.3 inch displays if you’ve folded it in half for use in laptop mode).

Other features include a dedicated AI chip for hardware-accelerated AI features including camera effects, automatic screen dimming, automatic lock when you walk away and unlock when you come back, and gesture controls. And the computer supports Intel’s Unison software for connecting your iOS or Android devices to a PC to drag and drop files, accept phone calls from a PC, or view incoming messages and notifications.

The company says the computer’s 93Wh battery is actually two batteries split between the two halves of the PC, in order to distribute the weight evenly. According to HP, you should be able to get up to 12.5 hours of battery life while streaming video, or up to 11 hours of battery life in desktop mode, although those numbers are obviously going to vary depending on the activities you perform on the Spectre Foldable.

Update: Engadget went hands-on with a pre-production prototype, and says the HP Spectre Foldable stands out from the competition not only due to its kickstand, but also its slimmer bezels, which make it feel more like a modern tablet/laptop/desktop computer.

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  1. I suffered through the video skipping around and wow what a stupid $5,000 idea! I can buy something so much more useful for under $500.

  2. Yeah… it’s not like I can’t appreciate the tech and how a product like this would be interesting for a niche group of people…
    But there is something about the foldable OLED tech that just smells bad to me.
    It smelled bad ever since the first prototypes of this tech came out… I think close to a decade ago now, but specially after the first commercial products came out. It kinda felt like they rushed through with it because it was taking too long to solve all of it’s technical hurdles.

    I thought this feeling would go away overtime, but it really doesn’t seem like so. And it’s that same smelly smell that smells smelly of other recent “tech innovations” – it’s not there because it’s there to stay, it’s there because the industry needs to show something. Not because they expect this to be the next iteration of the tech, but because investors and whatnot needs something.

    And perhaps I’m wrong because I dunno the details, but more or less like this.

    First, we’re around the 4-5 year mark that devices with foldable OLED panels came out right? First one being that weird Royole smartphone thing, the first Galaxy Fold released back in early 2019.
    That’s not a long time, and there is the pandemic to count, but it’s forever in tech terms. The price of it hasn’t gone down, but more importantly, I don’t think the production process itself has evolved a whole lot. At least I personally didn’t notice a jump in evolution in subsequent models.
    It’s very high complexity and extremely low yield production. To the point it’s almost comparable to artisanal work. I’ve seen some reports saying that foldable OLED panels have a 10% yield. Imagine a production process that you discard 9 out of 10 units.

    One of the reasons why, or perhaps the main reason why it remained a thing for very high priced products that needs to keep trying to justify themselves somehow.

    And that’s number two problem for me – the foldable OLED trend never managed to produce a killer app or justification for it’s existence other than serving as a luxury tech showcase.

    It’s meant to replace my laptop, tablet and desktop PC? That’s interesting, sure, but you know what I’m eyeing with that in mind? A portable gaming PC. Which costs a quarter that price at most. And you can get with more powerful specs, which really would translate to replacing something like a budget gaming desktop.

    The other major downside of this device in particular is that afaik, foldable OLED panels still have that plasticky feeling to it with the flexible thin glass layer that is necessary for protection, which would affect the device for pen use. I’m not a digital artist myself, but guessing the reaction, I’d imagine people using tablets to draw would rather get some Wacom tablet or an iPad instead. Even more with the crease in the middle, and the fame foldable panels have with being fragile… who would risk 5000 on something like this?

    And then, I guess the absolute main problem I have with products like the foldable smartphones and ideas like this foldable all in one – the software has not caught up, makes no special use of it, and there is no incentive for developers to create anything special for it.

    And that’s perhaps the worst problem of all. Let’s imagine this laptop of the foldable Smartphones had a reasonable price and overall good durability and usability. That it was a robust thing overall. I’d probably at least try using them because I like the idea of having a portable device that can unfold into a larger screen when necessary. But even then, I’d be worried about all the software issues these things have. Because you are using OSs and apps made with the most common scenario in mind, which is regular panels, with “adaptations” made for the foldable thing to be useful somehow.

    It’s like, think about something like the Nintendo DS, 3DS and Wii U. The first party games made to use the hardware, created as showcases for the tech (touch panel, 3D screen, tablet controller)… those make use of the newly introduced exclusive tech. But the absolute vast majority of games made for those ended up not making any real exclusive justifiable use of them.

    For foldable OLED panels, there isn’t even this first party showcase usage thing… people who buy these devices need instead to keep hoping for scraps. Perhaps Google will optimize Android for it now that they also make a device with flexible OLED panel. Perhaps the main apps will make versions specific to devices that have them. Perhaps I’ll find something to use that justifies the price.

    So, we’re 4-5 years in, and I’m still not seeing it. Just my two cents though, others might disagree.

    1. That was a long read.
      Your biggest gripe is the most important one: software. There are a couple in the mainstream, and they all have form-factors where they excel the best. So if you want the most coverage and best experience go as such. For example:

      AndroidOS (optimised for phones)
      iOS (optimised for tablets)
      WindowsOS (optimised for laptop)
      Linux Distro (optimised desktops)

      If you were to arrange that in a different order, you would get a much worse experience. For example; Windows Phone, Linux Tablet, AndroidOS Laptop, Apple Desktop.

  3. I thought that Lenovo already did something foldy and goofy like this overpriced pos.

  4. So the ThinkPad started at $2500, the Asus at $3500, and this one is $5000 because…it has a kickstand? Is the kickstand made of gold?

    Also, when’s the last time you used a 17″ monitor on a desktop?

    1. “Also, when’s the last time you used a 17″ monitor on a desktop?”

      About 2002, lol! It’s definitely pretty measly as a desktop monitor however I will say, because it’s 4:3, the actual screen area is bigger than a 17″ widescreen monitor. (4:3 => 90,220 mm^2 16:9 => 79,670mm^2).

  5. $4,999 is too much for a computer which screen will burn-in in no long time.

    When thos computers use microLED it will be good, but we are years before that time.

    1. Well, you can’t really make a flexible LCD that has totally uniform looking backlighting…without the backlighting being OLEDs.
      Besides that I’m becoming increasingly uncertain about just how long it takes for things to burn in. Mostly because of the increasing frequency of insults I’ve been seeing directed at people who refuse to use OLED; this can easily not mean anything. At least its better about it now that most OLED screens just use white OLEDs with a color filter over them. But it still depends a lot on how you use the thing.

  6. This is a comic book reader! For years, I’ve been fantasising about a foldable OLED display that’s the right size for displaying digital comics at their intended size with a proper two-page spread. a 17″ 4:3 display is exactly 260mm on the short edge (the EXACT height of a standard comic book page) and 347mm wide (which is 7mm greater than the width of a two-page spread). It’s perfect. Anything else I can do with it is a bonus! Now all I have to do is become so fabulously wealthy that I loose all sense of value for money.

    1. Do your comics emits light and cause eyestrain?

      There is a reason because reading on paoer or e-ink is better than doing on LCD or OLED displays.

      1. I agree, the ultimate comic book reader would have a foldable, full-colour epaper type display of these dimensions but the colour reproduction just isn’t there yet on light-diffusing screens. It’s getting better all the time and I can’t wait for it to catch up with the colour gamut and contrast ratio of modern colour printing.

        As for eye strain, I find OLEDs very pleasant once I keep the brightness down a bit and have other light-sources in the room. YMMV.

        I definitely prefer reading my comics in print but I’ve ended up with quite a collection digital comics from Humble Bundles and find I don’t really get the value out of them because I lack a satisfactory way to display them.

  7. I can see apple knocking this out of the park with a M3/M3 pro chip, Face ID, iPhone camera suite,Thunderbolt5/USB4v2 ports, Mag-safe reversible charging, apple pencil support and an attachable magic keyboard with large track pad inside a design scheme like this…. a man can dream.

      1. Maybe.
        But at least we’ll know the software works well, unlike Microsoft’s attempts with the seriously weird Windows 11/11S suite and ecosystem.

      2. More like $4599 for a model with 8 gb of RAM and 128gb storage, which goes up $1000 for the next tier in RAM/storage.
        And it would still be incredibly difficult to convince anyone that having it doesn’t automatically make them a significantly smarter, more interesting, and all around better person than anyone who uses anything else to do the same stuff, by roughly the same amount regardless of what that anything else is except for other apple products.
        But it wouldn’t even need iphone cameras, since it’s a bit big to be the easy way to get good quality photos and videos in every condition wherever you are; that is, you can’t put it in your pocket.