Windows Copilot doesn’t get an invite to the party as HP goes all-in on AI with its 2024 Spectre and Omen laptop range

Hewlett Packard is kicking off 2024 with all new Spectre x360 14- and 16-inch, and Omen Transcend 14-inch laptops. And since they’re all powered by Intel’s latest Meteor Lake processors, AI is a major feature in every model. But that won’t mean Windows Copilot is in charge of it all, as HP feels cloud-based AI isn’t the best solution for privacy or power efficiency.

Starting with the Spectre x360 laptops, these are HP’s all-round, general use PCs for home, school, and office work. There will be a choice of two sizes: 14- or 16-inch. The former is powered by an Intel Core Ultra 5 125H or Ultra 7 155H, whereas the larger laptop only comes with the more powerful CPU.

That means you’re looking at four or six P-cores, though both have eight E-cores. Boost clock speeds go up to 4.5 and 4.8GHz respectively, with the base power limit being 28W for both and the max limit reaching 115W.

The Meteor Lake CPU will handle all of the graphics duties in the 14-inch model but the larger one will sport a GeForce RTX 4050 for additional gaming chops. That said, the integrated graphics chip in the Core Ultra is perfectly fine for 1080p gameplay and HP is keen to point out that gaming on the new Spectre x360 laptops is going to be far better than in previous years.

The biggest selling point, though, is AI and HP is using it pretty much everywhere in these laptops. For example, the webcam’s output will be constantly adjusted to improve overall quality, especially in low light situations. But AI will also do things like monitor to see if anyone is looking over your shoulder or wake your PC up without you touching it.

We’ve had a play with similar tech built on the Tobii eye tracking tech in the latest Lenovo Legion 9i, and while the laptop itself is very, very good we’ve not been so fussed with the blurred screen privacy screening stuff.

CPU performance also gets an AI helping hand, with clock speeds, fans, and power levels all being monitored and controlled, depending on what the laptop is doing. HP stuffed a raft of additional sensors (thermal, velocity, acceleration, etc) into the system to provide the AI models with the data required.

(Image credit: HP)

But where most other vendors are using Windows Copilot for extra AI duties, such as summarising notes and other generative tasks, HP is using other tools, namely Superpower and Otter AI.

The reason for this is that these run locally, with all of the machine learning processing being done on the Intel Core Ultra CPU and/or GeForce RTX GPU. HP cites better privacy and power efficiency as the deciding factors for doing this, but I should imagine there are a few business deals in the mix, too.

This isn’t to say Windows Copilot is disabled, of course, as I should imagine that Microsoft would absolutely not allow that. This is more a case of HP leveraging the NPU (neural processing unit) in the Core Ultra CPUs to do AI work, rather than relying on a cloud solution for the machine learning routines.

AI shenanigans aside, at least we know that Intel’s new CPUs are pretty handy for entry-level gaming as the integrated GPU is more than good enough to handle 1080p gaming, albeit at lower quality settings. Previous iterations of the Spectre series of laptops were never promoted as being ideal for gaming, but that’s no longer the case.

All this new tech doesn’t come cheap, though. The 14-inch model starts at $1,499.99 with the 16-inch starting $100 more. The base configuration includes 16GB of LPDDR5x-7467 RAM and a 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. That’s a fair chunk of money so let’s hope all that neat AI stuff is worth it.

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(Image credit: HP)

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(Image credit: HP)

So far, HP has announced just one new Omen Transcend gaming laptop that uses Meteor Lake but it does look rather nice. Sporting a full aluminium body for a total weight of 1637g (3.6 pounds) and a base thickness of just 12mm (0.47 inches), portability is clearly the main feature.

There’s a choice of two CPUs, the Core Ultra 7 155H and the range topping Ultra 9 185H, but they both have the same number of cores: Six Performance, eight Efficiency, two Low Power Efficiency, for 22 threads in total. The latter has a 5.1GHz boost clock and a base power limit of 45W.

You also get to choose one of three GeForce RTX chips for graphics: RTX 4050, 4060, or 4070. It’s not clear what power limits these GPUs have though, so they could be really good or pretty disappointing. Given the size of the chassis, I suspect they will be capped towards the middle or lower end of the power range, and if that’s the case, you’ll really want the 4060 model as a minimum.

That said, the new model boasts a funky cooling system, with claims that the Omen Transcend is the coolest 14-inch gaming laptop around. Boiling hot keyboards is an aspect of laptops I’ve never particularly liked, when using them for gaming, so if this feature works as claimed, I’ll be happy as Larry.

The new Omen Transcend gets the same AI treatment as the Spectre x360 models but to make it more of a gaming laptop, it’ll come with a lattice-less RGB keyboard (so even more light can come blazing through the keys) and a built-in 2.4GHz dongle for instant pairing with a HyperX Cloud III wireless headset.

HP has also launched a 16-inch Omen Transcend but this uses the forthcoming Core i7 14700HX or i9 14900HX, which are much more power hungry, and generally the same as their previous gen Raptor Lake chips. The rest of the important specifications (GPU, RAM, storage) are the same, though.

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As for prices, the new Omen Transcend 14 will start at $1499.99 which seems a tad expensive for a Core Ultra 7 155H and RTX 4050 combination, especially when you also take into account that the base configuration has 16GB of LPDDR5x-7467 RAM and a 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD.

If the gaming performance is good and it’s as portable and cool as claimed, then HP could have a bit of a winner here, but given the wealth of other gaming laptops being announced in the CES event, the competition will have a lot to say about that.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our hands on the RTX 4060-powered Spectre x360 and Omen Transcend later in the year and see how they fare against the likes of the Gigabyte G5. That’s been a favourite of ours for some time now, but while it boasts a decent RTX 4060, its design and CPU are somewhat dated.

HP’s base Spectre laptops have never had much a reputation when it comes to gaming but perhaps these new models are just the ticket to turn that around.

PC Gamer’s CES 2024 coverage is being published in association with Asus Republic of Gamers.

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