It’s rare that a laptop I’ve tested made me feel underdressed while using it. Actually, I take that back. I’ve never felt underdressed while using a laptop until I started using the HP Spectre ($600 at Amazon) x360.
Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but HP’s premium two-in-one did make me feel like I should be suited up while I worked or, at the very least, that I should tuck in my shirt. Wrapped in metal with gem-cut edges (as opposed to the all-leather Spectre Folio), the 13.3-inch convertible weighs less than 3 pounds (1.3 kg) and is only 14.5 mm thick, so it barely registers that it’s in your bag.
Aside from looking good, the design also improves usability and performance is on par with its competition like the Lenovo Yoga C930, Samsung Notebook 9 Pro and LG Gram 14 2-in-1. It did beat them all in our battery life test, though, running for more than 13 hours.
However, being a premium laptop, it’s somewhat pricey starting at $1,150 and my review configuration is $1,350. That price does include a padded leather sleeve and an active pen for drawing and writing on the screen. In the UK prices for the 13-inch x360 start at £1,200, while in Australia it starts at AU$2,500. But if you need long battery life and want it in a small, lightweight two-in-one design and can appreciate a stylish and functional design, the HP Spectre x360 hits all of those (and you don’t need to wear a suit to use it).
HP Spectre x360 13-ap0013dx
|HP Spectre x360 13-ap0013dx|
|Price as reviewed||$1,350|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touch display|
|CPU||1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz|
|Graphics||128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Networking||802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Design with a purpose
Though the angular gem-cut edges help it stand out from other premium ultraportables, the design isn’t entirely just for looks. The cutaway corners on the back edge are where you’ll find the power button and one of its two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The way they’re angled allows you to charge the x360 with its compact braided USB-C cable power adapter while keeping the cord out of the way. And the power button’s position on the left corner makes it easy to find without looking and easy to avoid accidentally pressing in tablet mode. The button is also accessible regardless of how the display is positioned.
On the right side, along with a microSD card slot, headphone/mic combo jack and a second Thunderbolt 3 port, you’ll find a kill switch for the webcam so you don’t need a Post-it note to keep your camera private. It does not, however, cut your mics. You’ll have to do that separately in Windows 10’s microphone privacy settings. For additional privacy and security, there’s a fingerprint reader and an IR webcam for facial recognition sign-ins with Windows Hello (although it seemed to be disabled on my x360).
As for the display, HP offers three options starting with what I tested, a low-power, 1,920×1,080-resolution panel. There’s also a 1,920×1,080 display with HP’s Sure View technology that, at the press of a button, whites out the screen obscuring what’s on it for anyone not sitting directly in front of it. But, if you simply must have the most pixels for your 13.3-inch display, HP will sell you a 4K UHD touchscreen (3,840×2,160).
The low-power full-HD display delivers good color and contrast, though it’s not particularly bright. Working outside will likely have you frequently trying to increase the brightness in vain, but it’s great for battery life judging by our test results. If you work in a crowded office or your desk is regularly an airplane seat tray, I recommend getting the Sure View display. Personally, I’d skip the 4K in favor of longer battery life and privacy, but it’s nice to have options, too.
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