Laptop Mag Verdict
HP's strikingly gorgeous Spectre x360 14 combines elegance with powerful performance, gorgeous visuals and long battery life.
Striking, luxurious design
Gorgeous OLED and FHD display options
Long battery life
Large, responsive touchpad
Unwieldy as a tablet
RAM maxes out at 16GB
Too much bloatware
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Price: $1,299 (starting); $1,619 (as reviewed)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Iris Xe
Display: 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixels (IPS); 3000 x 2000-pixel (OLED)
Size: 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
When did HP become the designer brand of laptops?
The company's Spectre models have always stood out against uninspired competitors, but the new Spectre x360 14 is downright luxurious. The newest edition to HP's premium 2-in-1 lineup combines a startlingly attractive chassis with gorgeous display options, fast performance and long battery life. It separates itself with a unique 3:2 aspect ratio and OLED panel option, a pair of features capable of enhancing work and play.
Not only does the Spectre x360 14 nail the basics, but it also comes with a USB-C rechargeable stylus and offers a decent selection of ports (USB Type-A and microSD included). Add to that a clicky keyboard and a large, silky touchpad and the Spectre x360 14 is one of the most impressive laptops I've ever reviewed.
While it's true that there is no shortage of capable 2-in-1 laptops on the market today, the new Spectre x360 14 is our top choice.
HP Spectre x360 14: Price and configurations
With a starting price of $1,329, the Spectre x360 14 is among HP's most expensive consumer products. If you spend that much on the base version you'll get a 1920 x 1280-pixel (WUXGA+) display along with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU with Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
If it were up to me, I'd spend $1,619 for our review unit, which has an FHD display, a Core i7-1165G7 CPU with 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Upgrading to an OLED display raises the price by only $90. Our OLED review unit costs $1809.99 and has an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Although there have been 13-inch and 15-inch versions of this PC, the Spectre x360 14 is technically the first of its kind, so let's hope the price goes down a bit in future iterations. On a positive note, HP includes a rechargeable Tilt Pen stylus and a fancy laptop sleeve free of charge.
HP Spectre x360 14: Design
OK HP, now you're just showing off. I've likened the company's Spectre laptops to precious stones before; using that same analogy, the Spectre x360 14 is the crown jewel — you know, the one encased in bulletproof glass for everyone to see but not touch.
I'm hardly exaggerating; the Spectre x360 14 is absolutely stunning. Stunning, as in, this is the most gorgeous laptop I've ever reviewed. But enough of the superlatives, let's get to the why. It starts with a Poseidon Blue hue (seriously, get this color option!), a dark hue that's somewhere between emerald and indigo. Our OLED model comes in Nightfall Black, which is even more glamorous albeit less intriguing to my eyes.
Adding to the luxury is gold trim in every place HP could put it — around the display, bordering the touchpad, on the gem-cut edges of the base, coating the stylish HP logo centered on the lid, and even on both hinges. It's a bold direction that will appeal more to those looking to stand out than blend in.
Then there are the tiny details you only notice upon close inspection, like the triangular pattern making up the speaker grill above the keyboard, the large, simple white font on the keys, and the aggressively angled corners and beveled edges. It's a meticulously crafted notebook that will make you forget about however much you ended up spending on it.
With a modern design, you get modern features, including an edge-to-edge display. Yes, we've seen this done better on the XPS 13, but the bezels around all four edges of the Spectre x360 14's panel are thin, allowing you to immerse yourself in the 13.5-inch display.
As a 2-in-1 laptop, the Spectre x360 14 can bend back into a tablet or be placed in tent mode for viewing videos without a keyboard in the way. The hinges are easy to fold back but just strong enough to prevent the screen from moving much when tapped. I wish they were a bit stiffer, but it's not a major issue (for now). Just keep in mind that the Spectre x360 14 feels unwieldy as a tablet. It's fine on a table or your lap but you won't want to hold this thing in one hand for very long.
Measuring 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches and weighing in at 3 pounds, the HP Spectre x360 14 is less compact but about as heavy as the 13.4-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, 2.9 pounds). The 14-inch Lenovo Yoga 9i (12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, 3 pounds) matches the weight of the HP but is a tad sleeker while the 15.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 (14 x 9 x 0.6, 3.5 pounds) is understandably larger and heavier than the others.
HP Spectre x360 14: Security
It's all here. That is, all the features you need to keep your sensitive files secure from snooping eyes. Taking the place of the right Ctrl key is a fingerprint sensor, which quickly and accurately recognized my unique print each time I used it to log in.
But I didn't use the sensor often because above the display is a webcam with an IR sensor for facial recognition login. It also worked quickly and accurately although there were a few times when it failed to recognize my face (like when I was wearing glasses).
When you're not using the webcam, one tap of a shortcut key will cover the camera, putting a shield between you and the lens.
HP Spectre x360 14: Ports
Laptops this thin don't always have USB Type-A ports so I was glad to see one located on the left side of the Spectre x360 14.
It's the only port on that edge of the laptop; on the right side are two Thunderbolt 4 ports — one on the beveled corner — a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack and a microSD card slot.
It's a minor complaint but I do wish HP had split the two USB-C ports so you could charge from either side.
HP Spectre x360 14: Display
New size, new aspect ratio. The 13.5-inch display on the Spectre x360 has an increasingly common 3:2 aspect ratio, meaning the screen is taller and more narrow than a standard 16:9 panel.
This lets you view more content on the screen at once when you're browsing web pages, writing reports or scanning spreadsheets. The tradeoff is that larger black bars appear around videos, but it's one I'm OK with.
Now, about the panels. HP was kind enough to send us both the 14-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel (WUXGA+) IPS and 3000 x 2000-pixel (3K2K) OLED displays, and they are both great. As expected, the 3K2K OLED display offers a better picture, exhibiting exceptionally vibrant colors, perfect black levels and unparalleled contrast. But don't rule out the 1920 x 1280-pixel screen, which is reasonably colorful and gets pretty bright (not to mention, it's not nearly as power-hungry).
Glorious shades of sizzling orange and yellow erupted from the OLED panel, glistening off the indigo ocean after a plane laid waste to an oil rig in the trailer for 007: No Time to Die. I could see every wrinkle in Daniel Craig, ahem, James Bond's relaxed pose and the OLED magic made his sapphire eyes pop off his faintly rosy complexion. I could go on about this gorgeous panel but the lower-res option deserves some praise as well. The aforementioned fireball may not have burst off the screen in the same way but what the FHD panel lacks in contrast it makes up for with decent colors, brightness and detail.
The Spectre x360 14's 1920 x 1280-resolution panel covers 75% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, making it more colorful than the panel on the XPS 13 2-in-1 (70%) and about as vibrant as the Yoga 9i's (76%) 14-inch display. The competition is no match for the Spectre x360 14's 3K2K OLED display option, which covers an astonishing 140% and demolishes the category average (86%).
You shouldn't have any problems using either display outdoors although they could both stand to be a bit brighter. And actually, the FHD screen, at 365 nits, outshines the OLED panel (339 nits) along with the Yoga 9i (334 nits). Only the XPS 13 2-in-1 (488 nits) and the Galaxy Book Flex 15 (565 nits in outdoor mode) could top the Spectre and the category average (388 nits).
HP Spectre x 360 14: Keyboard, touchpad and stylus
It's a familiar feeling tapping away at the Chiclet-style keys on the Spectre x360 14. This is the same keyboard found on previous Spectre and Envy notebooks except with a few tricks up its sleeve.
Those come in the way of multimedia buttons that let you quickly toggle certain functions. I found myself regularly using the mute and webcam shutter keys during video conferences, and the aforementioned fingerprint scanner key to log in to the system.
This "all-in-one keyboard" puts the power key in the top-right corner of the deck. It avoids the infuriating key placement I've written about previously by being positioned to the left of the "delete" key. I prefer dedicated power buttons located away from the keyboard as they're easier to locate but at least I didn't inadvertently put the Spectre x360 to sleep each time I needed to correct a typo from front to back.
As for the typing experience, it's rather good. The keys, though shallow, are snappy and bouncy. While I frequently bottomed out, the keyboard was comfortable enough to where I didn't feel the need to use that precious USB Type-A port to connect my mechanical gaming keyboard. And those with larger hands will appreciate the keys' large size and generous spacing.
The low key travel combined with a snappy mechanism allowed me to type at 112 words per minute with a 96% accuracy on the 10fastfingers.com typing test; both results beat my 109-wpm at 95% accuracy averages.
Now, this is a proper touchpad. Expanded by 16.6% compared to those on previous Spectre models, the large 4.5 x 2.8-inch surface can easily accommodate all five fingers. The smooth, buttery glass touchpad responded swiftly to my swipes, taps and Windows 10 gestures, which included three-finger swipes to switch between windows and the handy pinch-to-zoom.
HP throws in the Rechargeable 2.0 MPP Tilt Pen with your purchase of the laptop. It's pretty standard stuff here; the pen has two reprogrammable buttons, it supports tilt for line variation, and gets 30 hours of battery life after which you can recharge it via a hidden USB-C port on the side.
HP Spectre x360 14: Audio
Good things happen when luxury brand Bang & Olufsen meets a quad-speaker setup.
HP's B&O-tuned top and bottom-firing speakers delivered a sonic punch when I listened to LEISURE's "Lonely Nights," a funky alternative-pop song. There was a nice depth to the drum hits and a clear sizzle to each tap of the hi-hat. The vocals were crisp but overshadowed, and some of the treble tones of the electric guitar were peaky.
The plentiful trebles in The White Stripes' "Icky Thump" were sharp but at least this Spectre doesn't suffer from the same hissing static I've noticed in previous models. The vocals in this lively rock song were clear and present but the speakers struggled to juggle the cacophony of electric tunes being strummed from every angle.
HP Spectre x360 14: Performance
Armed with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Spectre x360 14 handled my dizzying workload without argument. Firing up dozens of Chrome tabs didn't induce exhaustion; the Spectre kept running along like a well-trained marathoner. Graphics and text blinked onto the page the moment I pressed Enter, even when two 1080p YouTube videos and a pair of Twitch streams were running in the background.
Scoring a 5,004 on the Geekbench 5.0 benchmark test, the Spectre x360 14 lagged behind the XPS 13 2-in-1 (5,639, Core i7-1165G7) and Yoga 9i (5,440, Core i7-1185G7) but fared much better against the Galaxy Book Flex 15 (4,144, Core i7-1065G7) and the category average (4,178).
The Spectre needed 17 minutes and 2 seconds to convert a 4K video into 1080p resolution, a decent result though slower than the XPS 13 2-in-1 (15:52) and the Yoga 9i (14:24). The Spectre landed right around the category average (17:13) and finished several minutes before the Galaxy Book Flex 15 (22:18).
Needing only 30 seconds to duplicate 25GB of multimedia files, the 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD in the Spectre x360 14 transfers data at an expeditious 764 megabytes per second. That is quicker than the Yoga 9i (692.2 MBps, 512GB SSD), the XPS 13 2-in-1 (503.1 MBps) and the category average (581.1 MBps).
HP Spectre x360 14: Graphics
Decent gaming performance from integrated graphics? Yes, this is the strange new world we live in.
The Intel Iris Xe graphics employed by the Spectre x360 14 reached a respectable 4,229 in the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, topping the XPS 13 2-in-1 (3,847) and Galaxy Book Flex 15 (2,215) but falling just short of the Yoga 9i (5,014) and the category average (4,488).
In real-world testing, the x360 14 struggled to play Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p), averaging 20 frames per second, or well below our 30-fps threshold. Again, it lost to the Yoga 9i (25 fps) and the average (28 nits) but topped the Galaxy Book Flex (16 fps).
HP Spectre x360 14: Battery life
When equipped with a 1920 x 1280-pixel display, the Spectre x360 14 achieved excellent battery life of 12 hours and 11 minutes on our test, which involves continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. That beats the XPS 13 2-in-1 (10:52), the Yoga 9i (11:15) and the premium laptop average (9:58). Only the Galaxy Book Flex 15 (15:44) put up a better time.
Opt for the 3K2K OLED display and, as you might expect, you'll sacrifice several hours of runtime. The upgraded panel dropped the Spectre x360 14's battery life to 7 hours and 14 minutes.
That's an OK runtime given the high-res OLED panel, but a few hours short of what we consider acceptable for an ultra-slim laptop. If you're a content creator needing the very best display while on-the-go, get the OLED. Otherwise, save some cash and get the lower-res panel.
HP Spectre x360 14: Webcam
Laptop webcams have set a low bar and the 720p camera on the Spectre x360 14 only does enough to meet it. That's to say that the images and videos taken from this laptop look poor. A selfie I snapped in my office was shrouded in tiny dots of visual noise, enough to obscure my beard into a dark abyss. My naturally rosy complexion was blanched to a sickly pale while my green eyes were more seaweed than emerald.
HP Spectre x360 14: Heat
Taxing the Spectre x360 14 with a heavy workload can cause the bottom panel to get warm, but not troublingly hot.
After playing a 15-minute, 1080p video, the underside of this convertible, near the vent, reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit. That's considerably hotter than our 95-degree comfort threshold, so consider buying a cooling pad.
Fortunately, the areas your fingers will touch remained cool with the keyboard reaching 85 degrees and the touchpad warming to only 80 degrees.
HP Spectre x360 14: Software and warranty
I'll keep harping on this until it's resolved: HP, please package your apps into a single one-stop-shop program. There are too many icons clogging my Taskbar. And by "too many" I mean 11 of them counting only those starting with "HP." Such elegant hardware needs more refined software.
That's not to say these OEM apps are bloatware. HP's Support Assistant gives you all the diagnostics you need to know about your specific system, from its battery health to the remaining warranty. Here, you'll find the latest software and drivers. Command Center, which has its own dedicated keyboard key, lets you change the cooling mode and prioritize your network to give high-priority apps the fastest bandwidth.
There are also some basic display modes, an app for assigning the stylus buttons, and some privacy settings. This laundry list of apps is accompanied by a number of third-party programs, including ExpressVPN, LastPass, and McAfee Personal Security — all of which should be left to the customer to download (or ignore).
I think I'm in love. And let me just say, this was love at first sight.
The Spectre x360 14's edgy yet sophisticated chassis drew me in while the excellent 1920 x 1280-pixel and 3K2K OLED display options told me this one was a keeper. The relationship got even better once I realized the Spectre x360 14's brilliance isn't only skin deep; equipped with an 11th Gen Intel CPU, the Spectre x360 flew through my rigorous real-world testing and our benchmarks alike. Moreover, the keyboard is clicky, the large touchpad is silky and all the latest security features are here to keep you protected and make logging in a breeze.
Is the Spectre 14 perfect? Almost, but no, it isn't. Its large size makes it unwieldy as a tablet, there are too many pre-installed apps, the hinge could be stronger, and you're stuck at 16GB of RAM. Oh, and then there is the high sticker price. But if you have the budget, and need a portable solution, those few drawbacks are easy to ignore for a device that does so much right.
If you're looking for the best 2-in-1 laptop on the market, it's the Spectre x360 14 — a head-turning laptop capable of running anything you throw at it, and looking damn good while doing it.
Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.