HP Spectre x360

Impressive 13-inch Laptop that Can Also Be Used as a Tablet

HP Spectre x360
HP Spectre x360. ©HP Inc.

Manufacturer's Site

The Bottom Line

May 22 2015 -

Pros

  • Very Long Battery Life
  • Impressive Display
  • Excellent Design and Build Quality

Cons

  • Heavier Than Other Premium 2-in-1 Systems
  • Storage Performance Could Be Better

Description

  • Intel Core i5-5200U Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive
  • 13.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display with 720p Webcam
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Three USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, SD Card Slot
  • 12.79" x 8.6" x .63" @ 3.26 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Review - HP Spectre x360

May 22 2015 - HP's new Spectre X360 laptop was a collaboration between HP and Mircrosoft to give a premium example of what a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop can achieve. The system is certainly a step up from the Pavilion x360 by featuring a machined aluminum chassis similar to what Apple has done with its laptops but it distinguishes itself with some polished metal edges and rounded corners. The system is not as thin as some of the others with a thickness of .63-inches and the weight more akin to a laptop at three and a quarter pounds which makes it a bit heavier to use in the tablet mode.

Powering the base HP Spectre X360 is the Intel Core i5-5200U that is so common to many laptops these days. It offers a nice foundation for performance that can be used for just about anything but it is going to struggle in more demanding tasks like desktop video compared to higher voltage laptop processors.

HP does match it up with 8GB of DDR3 memory though which provides it a smooth overall experience with Windows including with heavy multitasking.

Performance is aided in the system by the use a a 256GB solid state drive. It is using the mSATA interface rather than a faster PCI-Express interface which means its performance is a bit more limited than some of its competitors but it is still much faster than you would find with a traditional hard drive.

The downside is of course the storage capacity which is less than those with a hard drive. To make up for this, HP's thickness does allow it to feature three USB 3.0 ports which is more than pretty much every competitor and makes it easy to add a high speed external hard drive for extra storage space.

While Lenovo and Apple have both moved their high end laptops to using extremely high resolution displays such as 4K panels, HP elected to go with a more traditional 1920x1080 resolution panel for the Spectre x360. A big difference though is how bright the HP panel is. It is one of the brightest panels available on the market which is very good for anyone looking to use it outdoors in bright sunlight as it combats the glare generated by the touchscreen coating. Color and viewing angles are also impressive. The graphics are handled by the Intel HD Graphics 5500 built into the Core i5 processor which is common for most laptops in this size. It does fine with most tasks but is not well suited for PC gaming as it has to run at lower resolutions and detail levels just to have passable frame rates.

With the slightly thicker frame, HP is able to provide its isolated design keyboard with a bit more travel than most of its competitors.

Some people may find this better as it provides more cushion when typing but it definitely has a different feel. It is well designed that is accurate and fast to type on. The trackpad is surprisingly large for the design with a wider than usual design. It features integrated buttons with a fairly high friction surface. This means it is a bit more difficult to do swipe gestures but it offers a high level of accuracy on fine movements.

HP rates the Spectre x360 has having an impressive 12.5 hours of potential running time. In digital video playback testing, the system with its 56WHr battery pack was able to achieve a very impressive eleven hours.

This is far and away one of the longest running hybrid laptops on the market. It is even nearly able to match Apple's MacBook Air 13 which gets slightly longer times.

Pricing for the HP Spectre x360 is quite good with a starting price of $899 with $1000 for the most popular model. This makes it more affordable than its primary competitor, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. Mind you, Lenovo's offering costs more because it is engieered to be thinner and lighter than the Spectre x360 and also features the UltraHD display. The size has the drawback of lower performance from the Core M processor and much shorter battery life. Overall, HP's is a much stronger laptop experience and Lenovo is better as a tablet as a result.

Manufacturer's Site