Those looking for a 2-in-1 notebook that can easily transform into a tablet with a flip should have the alluring 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360 on their short list. There's plenty to love about this thin, speedy machine, from its beautiful display to its powerful speakers and comfy keyboard.
However, there are a couple of weaknesses that may have you looking elsewhere. Here are seven reasons to hit Buy on the Spectre x360 and two reasons to skip it.
If you want a laptop with seductive beauty, the Spectre x360’s aesthetics will make your decision easy. Available in either black (with copper accents) or silver, this 2-in-1 truly shines, thanks to HP's new sparkling Ash finish. We'd recommend the more-attractive black design, as its copper accents truly pop. This is also an extremely portable machine, coming in at 0.54 inches thick and weighing 2.8 pounds. And while other companies typically make you pay a hefty premium (such as the $1,299 Surface Laptop), all this beauty starts at $1,099 (including the $10 upgrade to the dark design).
Leave that charging cable at home, commuters. The 57.8-watt-hour battery in the Spectre x360 lasted a fantastic 10 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web-surfing at 100 nits of brightness). That runtime beats last year's model by an hour and a half, and tops other premium 2-in-1s by similar margins. Just know that if you buy the Spectre x360 with a 4K display (a $100 upgrade), your battery life drops way down to 5:54.
An impressive 317 nits of brightness make the Spectre x360’s screen one of the brightest convertibles on the market, and with 101.7 percent of the sRGB spectrum and a 0.74 Delta-E rating (lower is better), this screen produces more colors than the competition, and it does so with accuracy. If you opt for the 4K model, you'll get even more color (131 percent of the gamut) but a sligthly dimmer panel (305 nits).
The Spectre x360 doesn't cut corners on performance. The 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-based model we tested scored a solid 8,147 on the Geekbench 4 general performance benchmark. That’s well above the 7,147 average for ultraportables. It's PCIe SSD is also a speed-demon, copying a DVD's worth of mixed files at 318 megabytes per second. That places it in the same class as drives in more expensive machines, such as Microsoft's Surface Book.
You might be surprised how much sound this super-thin machine can produce. The Spectre x360's rocking a quad-speaker setup from the hi-fi audio brand Bang & Olufsen that places one pair of speakers between the hinge and keyboard and the other on the notebook’s underside. This enables the system to fill a room with high quality-sound no matter what position (laptop, tablet, stand or display) you place it in.
HP's given the Spectre x360 a keyboard that you'll love to type on. Its keys may feature measurements (1.3 millimeters of vertical travel and 60 grams of actuation force) on the low end for what we expect, but the layout gives a great clicky feel with each key-press..
You shouldn't have to choose a notebook based on your accessories. So while many laptops offer only the multi-faceted USB Type-C ports or the aging Type-A USB ports, the Spectre gives you both. That way you can connect your existing docks and hard drives to its USB 3.1 Type- A port, and use its dual Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports for everything from power delivery to display mirroring.
If you prefer to use your notebook in your lap, the Spectre x360's heating issues may make it best for the winter months. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the machine, the vent on its left side measured 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and its underside hit 98 degrees. Both of these measures breach our 95-degree comfort threshold
Photo and video pros may feel left out in the cold, as the Spectre x360 doesn't feature an SD memory slot. That means you'll need to accessorize with a dongle. I use the $12.95 (opens in new tab) USB-based memory reader from Plugable. Credit: Laptop Mag