Last updated on November 9th, 2020 at 09:42 pm
HP's new Spectre laptop promises some security & privacy protections that may soon become the standard.
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HP recently published a press release for their Spectre x360 13 laptop–a reiteration of the already-existing 13” model.
In the press release, HP goes into surface-level detail about the new features and upgrades the reiteration brings to the table, but none of the sections matter as much as the security.
The security section highlights the numerous upgrades that affect the user’s security, and there are a few bullet points that stuck out to me while reading, with one bullet point, in particular, coming as something of a shock.
Without further ado, let’s jump into why HP’s new laptop may shake up security standards in the tech industry.
The Spectre’s Webcam
The accepted standard for laptop webcams is a simple cover the user can open and close at will. This may seem like a perfect solution, but why not go a little farther? Why not allow the user to turn off the webcam?
HP allows the user to do just that. The press release made sure people knew about this feature, as it was the first bullet point!
The new Spectre includes a kill-switch on the outside of the laptop that allows the user to turn on/off the webcam at will, helping the user feel a little safer.
Similar to the webcam, the user will be able to disable the microphone, though “disable” may be too strong of a word.
In actuality, the laptop will host a mute button, where the user can mute the mic. Along with the button is an LED indicator to notify the user whether the microphone is muted or on.
Not as impressive as the webcam upgrade, I know, but it’s something new and something that increases the privacy of the user, so I’m pretty happy with it.
A (Not-Included) Privacy Screen
Privacy screens allow you to protect your laptop from wandering eyes in public, but a lot of them are sort of…clunky to use. HP aims to solve this problem by allowing you to add an optional, built-in privacy screen, though this will probably cost more than if you bought the Spectre without.
The only caveat is that the privacy screen will not be sold until January 2020, so if you need a privacy screen and want the new Spectre, you’re better of waiting until then.
An Unexpected Partnership
Finally, we have the bread and butter of the security section, and perhaps the bread and butter of the whole press release: HP’s newfound partnership with ExpressVPN.
The new Spectre 13 comes with ExpressVPN preinstalled. Along with the preinstallation, users will receive a free 30-day trial for the VPN program, encouraging them to at least try the program.
It’s rare for a VPN company to be sponsored by a company, much less bundled with a laptop, but the bundle will encourage users to try the VPN out and let the unaware know what a VPN even is.
And who knows? Maybe HP’s action here will influence other companies to do the same thing and usher in a new focus on security in the tech industry.
HP’s new Spectre laptop includes a bunch of security upgrades, but don’t forget about the numerous other upgrades you can read about in the press release.
If you’re at all interested in the new Spectre x360 13, you won’t need to wait long before getting your hands on it. While the specific release date remains unknown (as HP didn’t specify), the company did say it will release this October, so be sure to keep your eye out for it if it interests you at all.
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