Leather isn’t its only pioneering feature: the Folio is also the first computer use the new 8th Generation Y-series Intel CPU, which allows for its completely fan-less design. HP worked together with Intel to build a motherboard that’s 20 percent smaller than most laptops. That partnership also led to the Folio being the first gigabit LTE notebook on the market, as well as the first to use Intel’s low power display technology, which can potentially cut screen battery use in half. And since HP is aiming for this to be a flagship “Always Connected” PC, it also stuffed in a huge battery with up to 19 hours worth of juice on the Core i5 model, and over 17 hours on the Core i7. (The LTE model clocks in just below 14 hours of battery life.)
What’s most striking about the Spectre Folio is just how much different it looks and feels than any other notebook on the market. Sure, at it’s core, it’s another ultraportable convertible — the latest entry in the category Microsoft popularized with its Surface devices. But HP’s use of leather is almost alien. It’s like something from a completely different timeline of technological evolution, one where gadget makers didn’t avoid a material that humans have relied on for thousands of years.
You’ve probably noticed that the Folio moves a bit differently than most convertibles. Its unique hinge design lets you pull the display forward to rest in front of the keyboard, giving the screen a stable platform while catching up on Game of Thrones on your couch. As Tan notes, this is a more comfortable experience than picking up the laptop and rotating the keyboard onto your lap, or folding it into a tent formation, as you would on typical 2-in-1 laptops.
Don’t expect every company to follow in HP’s footsteps and roll out leather laptops of their own. Still, the Spectre Folio is a spark of inspiration that could convince gadget makers to explore new types of material. And given the popularity of leather phone cases, consumers are clearly interested in covering their expensive smartphones with something beyond metal and plastic.