HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook pictures and hands-on

The Windows 8 explosion begins, and even laptops are getting in on the touchscreen action. The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, which comes loaded with Windows 8, led Pocket-lint to go hands-on - quite literally - to see how this new touch-enabled laptop fared.

First thing's first, the look: we think there's more than a little bit of MacBook Pro about the Spectre XT. Not that that's a bad thing. The silver finish, black keys with backlighting and simple, slender and elegant design all tick the boxes for us. HP also talks up the edge-to-edge glass finish, and all-metal design. Hey, good lookin'.

It's 17.9mm thick and weighs just over 2.1kgs. We picked it up and that kind of weight isn't a problem to cart around, though many will prefer using the XT as a desktop-replacement or standalone machine.

Over in China we've already had a play with the 13-inch version of the XT at one of HP's factories. We liked what we'd seen, so this upsized 15.6-inch version will tick boxes for those after more screen real estate.

However, the hands-on approach does seem a little strange to start off with. We get that Windows 8 has touch capabilities, so to use them does make some sense, but in general we prefer to leave laptop screens fingerprint-free. Tablets, fine, but laptops are a different story.

Saying that, you needn't touch the Spectre XT's screen much at all. There is, of course, that compulsory Windows 8 opening "tile screen" so a couple of swipes are unavoidable, but we think most people will fire up desktop mode upon launch.

As with all current HP machines there's Beats Audio on board. More marketing than game changer, the Beats logos do seem to take pride of place over HP's own badges and name.

Connectivity ought to be tip-top too. Sharp-eyed readers may have spotted in our original news story that the Spectre XT sports Intel Thunderbolt technology for the fastest transfer speeds. There's also Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, SD card and HDMI connections.

When it hits the shelves following Windows 8's official roll out at the end of October, the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook could be yours for just under £1,200. It's pricey, but that's the going rate for a premium-finished, well-designed and fast laptop these days. We reckon it looks like a good'un.