HP Spectre x360 16 review: A flipping delight

The HP Spectre x360 16 stuns with a dazzling OLED touch panel

HP Spectre x360 16
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

HP’s giant take on its Spectre x360 delivers a dazzling, 16-inch OLED display in a stylish convertible, but it’s too cumbersome to nail its 2-in-1 aspect — and its lack of a 12th Gen Intel CPU shows.

Pros

  • +

    Stunning 16-inch OLED touchscreen

  • +

    Comfortable keyboard

  • +

    Ample battery life

  • +

    Great audio

Cons

  • -

    Poor performance

  • -

    Lacks 12th Gen Intel

  • -

    Too heavy for tablet mode

  • -

    Occasional loud fans

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HP Spectre x360 16 Specs

Price: $1,249.99 starting price, £1,499.99 as tested
CPU: Intel Core i7-11390H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 / Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 16-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED touch display
Size: 14.09 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 4.1 pounds

 The HP Spectre x360 16 aims to continue the success of its lineup of sleek and powerful 2-in-1 laptops — this time in a bigger, bolder way. We’ve adored the elegant form factors of the Spectre x360 14 and the Spectre x360 13.5, but with the x360 16, HP was like, “Hey, what’s stopping us from giving users the big-screen treatment?” And the results are glorious.

Packing a 16-inch, OLED touchscreen on a convertible device, HP extends the beauty of its Spectre lineup to those who need their content to pop. From hungry-for-entertainment viewers to multimedia content editors, the Spectre x360 16 will satisfy their cravings for a giant, crisp display that’s flexible enough to be viewed in all manner of positions.

Fortunately, it isn’t just the panel that delights. With ample battery life for a 16-inch laptop, clear audio (thanks to Bang & Olufsen), a comfortable keyboard, and premium-feeling touchpad that’s all packed into an attractively thin chassis, the x360 16 is a flipping delight.

But it’s the “flipping” that doesn’t suit the 16-inch form factor. Sometimes, a tablet can be too big, and without an included stylus (in this model), HP’s “big boy” is, more often than not, best just staying a laptop. Along with occasional loud fans and the missed opportunity of packing a 12th Gen Intel CPU, it still has a few setbacks. 

HP Spectre x360 16 price and configurations

The HP Spectre x360 16 we received is priced at £1,899 (around $2,000 in the U.S.), but is currently discounted to £1,499 on HP’s listing page (opens in new tab). It comes with an Intel Core i7-11390H CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 with 4GB of video memory, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. 

(Image credit: Future)

Prices start at £1,399 in the U.K. (strangely, for what appears to be the exact same model (opens in new tab)), but can be upgraded to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, which bumps the price up to £1,999 (discounted to £1,699). In the U.S., prices start from $1,249 with an IPS display 3,072 x 1,920) and Intel Iris Xe graphics, but go up to over $2,000 for the model we’re reviewing.

There’s no doubt that this is a pricey laptop, but comparing it to other 16-inch laptops like the Asus ROG Flow X16 (from $2,000, £2,799 with RTX 3070) and the Huawei MateBook X Pro (£1,799) shows that it isn’t as costly, especially with those discounts. However, these laptops boast the latest Intel and AMD CPUs, while the Spectre x360 16 is stuck with an 11th Gen Intel processor.

As shown on HP’s U.S. page, a new update is coming, sporting a 12th Gen Intel i7 processor, and that’s priced from $1,800 ($1,459 with a discount). That sounds a lot more modern, and for below $1,500, you’re getting the same 16-inch OLED touch display. You may want to wait for that. 

HP Spectre x360 16 design

When it comes to sleek, premium-looking laptops, the Dell XPS 13 Plus or 14-inch MacBook Pro are the cream of the crop. Personally, I think the HP Spectre x360 lineup takes the cake with a design that radiates luxury. 

(Image credit: Future)

The Spectre x360 16 comes in a cool Nocturne Blue with elegant cerulean hues outlining (and defining) the laptop. There’s also a Nightfall Black aluminum chassis with “pale brass” trims around the edges of the deck, lid, touchpad and hinges (but let’s be real; those outlines are an alluring gold). I adore the Nightfall color option, which offers the slightest hint of a dark-violet hue as a step up from your classic black.

Throw in the gem-cut edges on the base and lid, a stylish HP logo emblazoned at the centre, and the smooth-feeling rounded edges at the top ends of the notebook, and you have yourself quite the stunner. And that’s not even mentioning the thin-bezel display around that eye-catching screen.

(Image credit: Future)

The x360 16, obviously, has more space to play with, meaning it doesn’t look as clean-cut as its smaller siblings like the x360 14. That doesn’t take away from its style though, as its subtle accents of high-quality design can be seen and felt throughout the laptop.

I wouldn’t say its display is quite “edge-to-edge” like the x360 14 or Dell’s XPS 13 lineup, but it's still thin enough to wow onlookers — especially when it seamlessly transforms into tablet and tent modes. The 360-degree hinge is sturdy as it is sleek, and I had no problems bending it to any angle I needed — no nail-biting wobbling in sight.

(Image credit: Future)

As thin and portable as the x360 16 looks, it isn’t the 2-in-1 laptop that can be manipulated to your needs as easily. That’s due to its size and weight. It sports dimensions of 14.09 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches and weight 4.1 pounds. Compared to the Huawei MateBook X Pro (12.2 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches, 2.9 pounds), the x360 16 isn’t a notebook that can be simply thrown into a laptop bag. It has an edge over the Asus ROG Flow X16 (14 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches, 4.63 pounds), but I’d prefer to have this laptop as a device I’d mainly use at home, whether that be working on a desk or streaming content on a kitchen counter while I cook.

All in all, however, HP crafted a striking 16-inch laptop that will turn heads, even if its 2-in-1 design is a little too cumbersome. 

HP Spectre x360 16 ports

HP packed quite a few ports into the Spectre x360 16, and despite being 0.7 inches thin, there’s a high-speed, drop-jaw USB-A port fitted into the side. While some ports, like the 3.5mm headphone jack and Thunderbolt 4 port are seemingly placed strangely at the cut corners of the laptop, it surprisingly all looks great when plugged in. 

(Image credit: Future)

On the left, there’s a SuperSpeed USB Type-A port with 10Gbps transfer speeds, an HDMI 2.0b slot, and (thankfully) a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack at the corner.

The other side boasts two Thunderbolt 4 ports with USB4 Type-C connectivity (that means 40Gbps transfer speeds, Power Delivery, and DisplayPort 1.4 support), a slot for the power adapter, and even a microSD card reader.

Plus, you’re getting Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, although Wi-Fi 6E would have been a better option. I would have also liked to have seen a Gigabit Ethernet port for fast, wired internet connectivity.

There’s plenty to work with, but if you’re after even more ports, check out the best docking stations to expand your connectivity needs. 

HP Spectre x360 16 display

You can’t go wrong with a 16-inch, UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. I’m glad it’s a touch screen, too, as the bright, vivid colors and crisp details of the Spectre x360 16’s OLED panel made me reach out a tap on everything I viewed. 

(Image credit: Future)

From watching YouTube videos to scrolling through websites, the 91% screen-to-body ratio on the “edge-to-edge” glass display made everything on screen emit clear, super-smooth images. Add the anti-reflection Corning Gorilla Glass, and there’s little chance of anyone squinting to see small text or dark content. That way-too-dark House of the Dragon episode (if you know, you know) pushes the limits of how much you can see, but that’s not the fault of the x360 16.

When watching Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’ bonkers animation in full swing during the final blowout between a Chrome-stuffed David and Night City “boogeyman” Adam Smasher, the first small detail I kept replaying was when David satisfyingly squished Faraday with his gravity-powered mech suit. The pool of blood spilling out of the severed leg in the air showed off the x360 16’s red-rendering prowess as the subtle, ruby-esque hues caught my eye, even on Faraday’s bold, red suit.

(Image credit: Future)

David going full cyber-psycho when using the Sandevistan to “delta” out of there really showed off the OLED panel’s capabilities. The spectrum of blue and green spilled through the display with the smooth after-images of David (and then, frighteningly, Adam Smasher) beautifully shown off.

HP’s claimed 100% DCI-P3 color-gamut coverage and 400 nits of brightness are evident in what I watched, and the display is even easy on the eyes with the Low Blue Light support. HP even includes a Display Control for users to switch between different modes based on the content they’re viewing, from web-optimized sRGB to Adobe RGB when editing images in Photoshop or other applications. Plus, there’s an Auto Color option that will do the work for you.

Top marks on the display, HP. 

HP Spectre x360 16 audio

Audio is another highlight on the Spectre x360 16, thanks to support from Bang & Olufsen. Loud, booming, and crisp, the quad-speakers are a step up from the usual stereo speakers manufacturers throw in just to have sound.

As an example, the audio matched the quality on screen when watching Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. The haunting build-up of David’s gravitational powers are a treat, and the melancholic background tune of “I Really Want to Stay At Your House” by Rosa Walton beautifully mixes in with the explosive mayhem happening. 

(Image credit: Future)

Turning to more four-on-the-floor House tunes, I cranked up the volume on Fred Again’s “Jungle” and was engulfed with the need to bop along with the beat. The vocalist’s repetitive lyrics were harmonious with the initial four-beat tempo, ramping up to a blast of heavy thumps alongside a resounding techno tune balancing out the clash of different mixes.

While great for both music and shows, there’s also a handy 3.5mm jack so you can keep the sound to yourself. 

HP Spectre x360 16 keyboard and touchpad

Like the Chiclet-style keyboard found on other Spectre laptops, the x360 16’s keyboard is simplicity at its finest; it’s easy to type on and comfortable to use.

The “all-in-one” keyboard offers a bunch of features at your fingertips, including the mute and webcam shutter keys along with the fingerprint scanner key that replaces the right-side “Ctrl” key (not something I ever use, anyway). With the 1.5mm key travel distance and silent, satisfying actuation point, it’s a joy to type away on. Keys are bouncy and snappy. 

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks to the small key travel distance, I achieved 75 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which beats my average of 70 wpm (pathetic, I know). Any keyboard that makes me type faster is a win in my book.

(Image credit: Future)

As for the touchpad, it’s premium to the touch with each click feeling satisfyingly solid while being easy to glide my finger on. It also supports multi-touch gesture that allows me to whizz through apps with three or four fingers. 

HP Spectre x360 16 performance

It’s tricky to test the performance of this HP Spectre x360 16 as it comes with Intel’s 11th Gen i7-11390H. I say this because HP is about to release a 12th Gen Intel CPU model with an i7-12700H chip or an i7-1260P processor. That’s not to say the 11th Gen CPU can’t hold its own, but the 12th Gen CPU chips are making waves for their improved efficiency and performance. While you’ll see the results for this model, which are just fine, keep in mind that the 12th Gen CPU models are bound to offer greater scores.

Regardless, the Spectre x360 16 we reviewed showed no signs of slowing no matter how much I threw at it in my daily working day. That means easily loading up 50 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos — no sweat. However, the numbers show a slightly different story. 

(Image credit: Future)

On the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, the Spectre x360 16 reached a measly multi-core score of 3,559, which couldn’t keep up with the premium laptop average (5,956). The Huawei MateBook X Pro (11,142, Intel Core i7-1260P) showed off the 12th Gen Intel CPU’s might, while the Asus ROG Flow X16 (9,570, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS) even gave the Spectre a run for its money. It couldn’t hold a candle to the MacBook Pro 14 (12,477, M1 Pro) either.

The Spectre x360 took a disappointing 18 minutes and 31 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark (when the fans were a loud as ever), which couldn’t even beat the category average (13:27). When compared to the Flow X16 (5:48), MateBook X Pro (8:33), and MacBook Pro 14 (4:51), it didn’t stand a chance. 

With the 512GB SSD in our review unit, the x360 16 clocked in at 1,339 megabytes-per-second transfer rate. On average, premium laptops clock in at 825 MBps, so the x360 16 did a great job. The MateBook X Pro achieved a stellar 1,960 MBps, so it still fals behind. To put that into perspective, the MacBook Pro 14 held a blistering speed of  5,321.5 MBps.
 

HP Spectre x360 16 graphics

Somewhat surprisingly, HP fitted an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 with 4GB of video memory onto the Spectre x360 16. For a laptop that’s not known for its gaming capabilities, this is an impressive addition, but an RTX 3050 still won’t let you play the latest AAA games at their highest settings. 

(Image credit: Future)

That said, I did boot up Cyberpunk 2077 on low settings, and it could manage just below 50 frames per second. However, it’s more suited to games like Disco Elysium, where it managed a reliable 70 fps for easy breezy point-and-click antics.

Turning to the 3DMark benchmark, the Spectre x360 16 scored a poor 3,559, which is far away from the 9,020 category average. That’s worse than the MateBook X Pro (4,617) as well, which has Intel Iris Xe graphics. Still, you won’t find many other Spectre laptops with an RTX packed inside. Plus, gaming on this screen (especially in Disco Elysium) is a treat. 

HP Spectre x360 16 battery life

When it comes to battery life, the Spectre x360 16 does an adequate job of staying alive without me reaching for the charger every couple of hours. For a 16-inch laptop boasting a bright OLED display, I found its 6-cell, 83Wh Li-ion polymer battery impressive.

My average day consists of writing and editing stories through CMS or Google Docs, scrolling through websites and multimedia, answering emails, and watching multimedia on YouTube and other streaming platforms (for work purposes, of course…). That’s fairly moderate usage, but the Spectre x360 16 could last nearly the full work day. Kicking off at 9 a.m., the laptop only went into power-saving mode just past 4 p.m. before I reached for the battery. That’s around 7 hours of constant work, which doesn’t scratch any of the longest-lasting batteries on laptops we’ve tested.

Still, that knocks the Huawei MateBook X Pro out of the park, and matches the “pretty good” battery on the Asus ROG Flow X16. Plus, the x360 16 boasts a 135W power adapter, which means very fast charging speeds. HP claims it can juice up the laptop to 50% in just 30 minutes, and it wasn’t too far off the 33 minutes I tested. I’ll take fast-charging any day over a long battery life with sluggish charging speeds.  

HP Spectre x360 16 webcam

What’s this? A webcam that I don’t want to keep shut at all times? That’s right. The Spectre x360 16 boasts a 5MP “True Vision” IR webcam that does more than just offer a clean image of yourself.

The camera captures light brilliantly without unsightly grains showering down on me, and the detail is incredibly crisp, right down to the strands of hair on my unkempt beard. But it’s the different features that it boasts that make this more than just your average webcam. 

(Image credit: Future)

There’s HP’s Advanced Lighting feature that offers different lighting frames on screen, including a ring light to brighten up your face in video calls, auto-ISO sensitivity, white balance and brightness sliders, and even an auto-focus that zooms in and centers your face so callers don’t get a sneak peek at your surrounding environment.

However, one function that annoyed the heck out of me is the notification that keeps popping up stating that I’m too close to the display. That’s not something I need to be reminded about every time I move my head. The good news is this can be turned off, but I prefer it not to be on in the first place.

We need more webcams on laptops with these capabilities. 

HP Spectre x360 16 heat

We don’t have lab numbers to give you an exact temperature of different areas across the Spectre x360 16, but after using the laptop, I can say it doesn’t get overly hot — more like lukewarm in certain places.

The warmest region was to the right of the touchpad, but everywhere else was temperate. Not even the underside, where there are grilles placed as a vent, got too hot.

One annoyance I did find were the fans. The x360 16 is an otherwise silent laptop, but from time to time, the fans would kick into gear and produce a loud noise. While it may have been my review unit, it was loud enough for me to vocally sigh every time it came on. 

HP Spectre x360 16 software and warranty

HP sure loves stuffing its apps into its laptops, but this time, there aren’t many like on previous Spectre laptops. Immediately, you’ll see HP Pallette, HP Support, and McAfee taking up room on the Windows 11 taskbar, along with a bundle of pop-up notifications alerting you about even more HP features like the Display Control or Advanced Lighting features. It’s more of an annoyance more than anything, but maybe keep the apps in just one set location, HP. 

(Image credit: Future)

Interestingly, HP also brings its Quickdrop feature, which allows you to speedily transfer files back and forth between your phone. It’s not something I used, but I can imagine it coming in handy when transferring files.

As is standard, the Spectre x360 16 ships with a one-year warranty. See how HP fared on our Tech Support Showdown special reports.  

HP Spectre x360 16: Bottom line

HP’s take on a 16-inch laptop continues to shine with a premium form factor and dazzling OLED touch screen that your eyes will ogle at no matter what you’re viewing. Its exemplary webcam, crisp audio, and comfortable keyboard and touchpad are icing on the cake, and its battery life is ample enough to keep you going (nearly) throughout the work day.

While being a 2-in-1 laptop is just an added bonus, it doesn’t suit the 16-inch form factor it comes in purely due to its weight. Still, having the capability to use the laptop however you want is welcome, especially since it makes the most out of the stunning display.

Clearly, it’s a shame this isn’t the 12th Gen Intel model; it would extend the laptop’s longevity and offer more promising processing power. The good news is there’s a 12th Gen Intel model coming soon, offering the same stunner of a display and specs as the one we reviewed. If 16-inch laptops are your jam, but you’re looking for that extra bit of butter before spending that bread, HP’s Spectre x360 16 (with an inevitably better 12th Gen Intel chip) will satisfy. 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.