HP Spectre x360 Review: A Laptop With Near-Universal Appeal

It was a strong laptop computer in 2017. It was a strong laptop computer in 2018. It’s a strong laptop computer in 2019.

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HP, refusing to go away properly sufficient alone, has up to date its top-shelf Spectre x360 as soon as once more, persevering with to improve and fine-tune issues as it really works to good the method for the best convertible laptop computer.

For these not within the know, the Spectre x360 has emerged as one of the compelling convertibles in the marketplace. Available in each 15-inch and 13-inch variations (the latter is reviewed right here), the machine blends strong efficiency, nice usability, distinctive battery life, and tons of bonus options, all whipped up right into a sub-3-pound package deal that works properly as each a regular laptop computer and, with the display folded again, a slate pill.

The full expertise has develop into extremely upscale. For 2019, HP has given the general appear and feel of the machine an improve, with “gem minimize” edges that do certainly appear like jewels, notably given the rose gold colour HP has utilized to the perimeters of the aluminum body. This is most noticeable on the 2 rear corners of the laptop computer, that are lopped off into crisp diagonals and the place HP has positioned, on alternate sides, a USB-C port (supposed for use with the charger) and the facility button, addressing complaints (together with my very own) that the previous side-mounted energy button was too simple to by accident hit.

You would possibly assume that by actually slicing corners, HP might need shaved off a couple of grams from the Spectre, however that’s not the case. The 2019 mannequin is barely thicker (0.9 mm) than final 12 months’s mannequin and 0.05 kilos heavier, per the corporate’s metrics. My measurements peg it at 16 mm thick and a couple of.9 kilos in whole.

That additional fraction of an oz. has been put to good use, although. While the general specs haven’t a lot modified except for a bump from the earlier 1.6 GHz Core i5 to a 1.eight GHz Core i7 (each eighth-generation CPUs), the system nonetheless options eight gigabytes of RAM and a 256 GB SSD by default. This mannequin additionally retains the 1920 x 1080 pixels of decision on its 13.3-inch touchscreen, in addition to built-in graphics.


What has modified are two main elements. First, the dim display I complained about final 12 months has been considerably beefed up; it’s about 40 p.c brighter this 12 months, based mostly on my testing. But maybe much more spectacular is what HP has achieved to the battery. While I believed the eight hours, 18 minutes of run time I achieved on a full-screen video playback check final 12 months was extremely spectacular, HP determined to swing for the fences in 2019. On the identical check I now scored simply three minutes shy of 14 hours, a 68 p.c enchancment and a downright jaw-dropping stage of power-sipping longevity. If you want greater than 14 hours of battery life out of your laptop computer between recharges, I’d love to listen to from you to know why. (The battery even recharges extraordinarily shortly, so your plugged-in time is minimized.)

Naturally, the CPU bump offers the laptop computer a elevate in pace, too, although it’s solely about 12 p.c quicker on basic enterprise apps than the 2018 mannequin. Still, that’s ok to place its efficiency properly above competing programs just like the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2. Ports, together with two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports (one for charging), a full-size USB 3.1 port, and a microSD card reader, haven’t modified, although you’ll word that HP has moved the fingerprint reader again to the palmrest. You’ll additionally discover a tiny new swap on the fitting facet of the Spectre, which is an on/off privateness toggle for the webcam. HP notes that that is {an electrical} swap, not a gentle toggle: Flip the swap to Off and it’s the identical as unplugging the webcam utterly. “It can’t be hacked,” I used to be instructed by the corporate, a number of instances.

Bonus options embody an energetic stylus bundled with the system (however with no storage slot constructed into the machine), a second colour choice for the lid (spoiler: it’s blue), and an built-in 4G LTE radio choice. Naturally many of those upgrades may also kick the value up, which is now over $1,350, which feels excessive.

However, it’s fairly simple to argue that it’s value it. The typing expertise and touchpad are each strong, and whereas the system is a bit uncomfortable when used as a pill, because of the angle at which the flipped-back display is held in opposition to the bottom, it’s nonetheless mild sufficient and svelte sufficient to be workable once you want it.

The backside line is that attempt as I’d I can’t actually discover any important faults in what HP has give you right here. It’s a compelling machine with virtually common enchantment (sorry, avid gamers!), and when you’re available in the market for a brand new laptop computer, it ought to rank excessive in your consideration checklist.

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