Is the HP Spectre x360 the right convertible laptop for me?
Update 17 January 2017: There's a wholly updated HP Spectre x360 with Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors, so we've wholly updated this article!
There are a few things the HP Spectre x360 does really well: it's stylish, powerful, and versatile. But is it right for you? We run down the features of the 13t and 15t models that could make the difference between you picking one up and you looking in another direction.
The HP Spectre x360 truly looks like it costs a fortune. The 13.3-inch model's slim, aluminum body is available in silver metal color, which hides scratches and smudges. The 15.6-inch Spectre x360 is available in dark ash silver that is accented with copper along the edges. Either color option is very fetching on the slim body.
When the 13t is sitting closed, it's only 0.54 inches (13.7mm) thick — the 15t is 0.7 inches (17.78mm) thick. Don't let the size fool you; the durable body is crafted with the same process that's used in the aerospace industry. This is no flimsy plastic chassis.
Versatility and strong body do not necessarily mean a lot of weight. The 15t weighs 4.42 pounds (2 kilograms), and the 13t weighs 2.85 pounds (1.29 kilograms). Yes, this might seem a bit heavy for a tablet, but don't forget this is first and foremost a notebook, and a 15-inch one at that.
Overall, the Spectre x360's design is sleek and attractive while remaining functional. If you want a laptop that turns heads, this is it.
Want a device that can be as versatile as you are? Fold the screen all the way back to enter tablet mode for compact web browsing, fold the keyboard back to act as a stand for watching movies, or set it up as a tent for maximum stability. The geared hinge system is firm enough to hold each configuration in place, yet moves smoothly when you apply pressure. Like the rest of the laptop, the hinges on the HP Spectre x360 are built to last for a long time. There is, of course, the standard notebook mode for when you need to put your head down and get work done with the keyboard.
If you're thinking about security, you'll be happy to know there is now a built-in IR camera above the display that is fully compatible with Windows Hello. All you have to do is open the lid, smile at your laptop, and you'll be logged in.
For ports, the 13t has two USB Type-C ports and one USB 3.1 port, whereas the 15t has an HDMI, a Thunderbolt 3, one USB 3.1, and one USB Type-C. If you don't mind having a limited amount of ports — the current trend among many laptops — the Spectre x360 will be fine.
All things considered when it comes to function, if you're in the market for a convertible laptop, the HP Spectre x360 should be near the top of your list. If you want a notebook that doesn't change shape, you might want to look elsewhere.
Both 13t and 15t Spectre x360 models have one display option available. Grab either a 13.3-inch 1080p WLED touch display, or a 15.6-inch 4K WLED touch display. Both models have significantly reduced bezel for that edge-to-edge look, but if you want the absolute least bezel, Dell's XPS display is still the best in that regard.
Despite the 13t being capped at 1080p, it's still a great option that Daniel Rubino calls "one of the nicest displays" he's seen so far. Plus a 1080p display uses less power than a 4K one, so you'll get longer battery life out of it than you would with a more-dense display.
Hardware configurations range to give you what you want. In the 13t, choose from 8GB or 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and choose from a 256GB, 512GB or 1TB M.2 SSD. For processors, you can get either a 7th-generation Intel Core i5-7200U with a clock speed up to 3.1GHz, or a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz.
All 13t models come with Intel HD Graphics 620, which is good for some light gaming. The 15t has been upped to a capable NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, but if you're looking for a dedicated gaming laptop, you'd do better to look elsewhere.
No matter your workload, you'll be able to put together a laptop with the hardware that suits your needs. Throw in a battery that realistically lasts somewhere around eight hours at high usage, and you have a powerful, versatile tool at your disposal.
Should you buy it?
- Great convertible design
- Beautiful display
- Lots of laptop for the price
We Don't Like
- Less customization options than last-gen models
If you're looking for a convertible laptop that looks and feels like it cost a lot of money, this is it. In his review, Daniel Rubino calls it "the new best 13-inch laptop." Best part? No one has to know that the price is actually pretty low considering what you're getting.
Configurations start at about $900 for a 13.3-inch laptop with a 7th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. HP's customization menus make upgrading individual parts easy, so you won't feel like you're spending money in the wrong place.
HP currently has one 15t model available for pre-order, and it will make your wallet about $1500 lighter. It has an Intel Core i7-7500U processor, an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 4K touch display.