Best HP Laptops Windows Central 2019

HP's best overall laptop right now is the HP Spectre x360 13t. It has a unique gem-cut design, all-day battery life, powerful hardware options, and a knockout touch display with inking capabilities that can be converted into tent, stand, and tablet modes.

Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13t

HP's Spectre x360 13t is a premium convertible Ultrabook that costs less than a lot of similar devices. And yet, it brings a unique gem-cut design with angled corners, it has all-day battery life, and strong performance from up to an Intel Core i7-8565U processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). An active pen is also included for use with the 13.3-inch touch display in either FHD or 4K.

Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1, and a microSD card reader for easy connectivity, and there's a fingerprint reader coupled with an IR camera for extra security through Windows Hello. The convertible build means you can use the laptop in tent, stand, or tablet mode, and the edge-to-edge keyboard makes typing a breeze. The touchpad is quite large, though it is stuck with Synaptics drivers instead of Precision drivers.

If you're in the market for convertible Ultrabook with a premium build and powerful hardware inside, the Spectre x360 is one of your best bets overall, even when shopping outside of HP's stellar lineup.

Pros

  • Unique gem-cut chassis
  • All-day battery life
  • Active pen included
  • Competitive price
  • Beautiful display options

Cons

  • No Precision touchpad drivers
  • Thick top and bottom bezel

Best Overall

HP Spectre x360 13t

Best HP laptop for most people

The Spectre x360 13t demonstrates HP can do jaw-dropping hardware and design. Good performance, excellent features, elegant aesthetics, plus a great price make this one of the best values around.

Best 15-Inch: HP Spectre x360 15t

If you love the look and feature set of the HP Spectre x360 13t but you need more screen real estate and increased performance, you'll no doubt want to consider the Spectre x360 15t. It has the same gem-cut design, but its 4K touch display is 15.6-inches and still has full inking capabilities.

Rather than U-series Intel CPUs and integrated graphics, get an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU for superb performance, and get up to a 2TB PCIe SSD and 16GB of RAM to round things out. The 84Wh battery provides all-day battery life, and ports include two Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.1, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The keyboard is stellar and the touchpad large, though it's also using Synaptics drivers rather than Precision.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous 15.6-inch 4K touch display
  • Premium gem-cut design
  • Intel H-series CPU
  • Dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU
  • Generous port selection

Cons:

  • Still using Synaptics touchpad drivers
  • Thick top and bottom bezel

Best 15-Inch

HP Spectre x360 15t

Bigger and more powerful

Love the look of the Spectre x360 13t but need a dedicated GPU and more screen space? Definitely check out the Spectre x360 15t, with 15.6-inch 4K display and NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti dedicated graphics.

Best 2-in-1: HP Spectre Folio 13t

HP's Spectre Folio 13t is one of the coolest laptops we've seen, with its real leather chassis, LTE capabilities, touch IPS display with inking, exceptional battery life, and strong performance. Why a leather chassis? It provides a hinge system that allows the display to snap out and fold down to a tent mode that nevertheless leaves the touchpad uncovered, or a full tablet mode that's ideal for inking.

The backlit keyboard is outstanding and if you type a lot you should have no issues. Despite the 0.6-inch thickness there's a lot built into the chassis. Along the top is a quad speaker system with above-average audio, making this a great device for movie watching, especially if you opt for the 4K display option. An IR camera above the screen adds some security, and optional LTE is there for those who want to stay connected everywhere. The battery lasts a full workday and more, and you can get up to an Intel Core i7-8500Y CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD for great performance. The only downsides here are the port selection — USB-C 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, and 3.5mm audio might make it tough to connect older accessories without dongles — and the small touchpad that is still using Synaptics drivers.

Pros:

  • Premium leather construction
  • LTE connectivity
  • Excellent performance and battery life
  • Beautiful IPS display with inking
  • Excellent keyboard

Cons:

  • Not a lot of ports
  • Touchpad is small and uses Synaptics drivers

Best 2-in-1

HP Spectre Folio 13t

Real leather chassis

Undeniably one of the most unique laptops on the market with its real leather chassis, the Spectre Folio 13t is ideal for anyone on the move who needs a versatile machine with all-day battery life and strong performance.

Best Gaming: HP OMEN 15t

The OMEN 15t is designed from the start for gamers, bringing stylish design and performance to the table. It has an aggressive design that allows for future upgrades to RAM, SSD, and HDD, and the 15.6-inch display has a slim bezel and is available in either FHD (144Hz refresh rate) or 4K.

Inside, get up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD coupled with a 512GB PCIe SSD. That's some serious performance when you max things out, and there are plenty of alternative configurations available to match your budget and power needs. Ports include HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, and three USB-A 3.1, making it easy to connect external monitors and gaming accessories. If you plan on heavy gaming, the OMEN 15t is your best bet when it comes to HP laptops.

Pros:

  • User upgradeable
  • NVIDIA RTX GPUs
  • FHD 144Hz or 4K display options
  • Plenty of ports
  • 9th Gen Intel CPUs

Cons:

  • Average battery life
  • Heavy chassis

Best Gaming

HP OMEN 15t

Superb performance

If you need an HP laptop to handle modern AAA games, the OMEN 15t should be your first pick. Choose from 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs, NVIDIA RTX GPUs, and get up to a 4K display to make your games look amazing.

Best Value: HP Pavilion 15t

HP's premium laptops already offer some of the best value around, but the Pavilion 15t takes things to a whole other budget level. Models start at about $430 and include an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD, and a 15.6-inch display with 1366x768 resolution, though we recommend upgrading to 8GB of RAM and a 1920x1080 IPS display for a total of about $570.

That's still a great deal, and you can further upgrade for an SSD and a touch display. No matter what internal hardware you choose, it comes in a chassis that's just 0.89 inches thick and weighs in at 4.69 pounds. Ports include USB-C 3.1, two USB-A 3.1, HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm audio, and RJ45 Ethernet. There's also an SD card reader and an optical drive to round things out.

Pros:

  • A lot of laptop for the price
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU
  • Lots of ports and an optical drive
  • FHD touch display option
  • Thin chassis

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Stock HDD storage is slow

Best Value

HP Pavilion 15t

Low starting price with plenty of available upgrades

This laptop starts at just $430, but comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU. If you have a few more dollars to spend, upgrade the display and RAM for a better experience.

Best Business: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5

For those who need a laptop with a primary focus on the business world, HP's EliteBook x360 1040 G5 should be the perfect choice. It has a durable and lightweight aluminum chassis with an overall professional look, and it's available with a ton of configuration options and extra security features to help protect sensitive information. The 14-inch touch display is available with up to a 4K resolution and includes Sure View privacy options to keep others from spying over your shoulder, plus it's inking compatible which is especially useful for jotting down notes in a meeting or sketching plans. Despite the touch functionality, a matte finish cuts down on glare.

The keyboard is ideal for long days of typing, the large touchpad uses Microsoft's Precision drivers, and an IR camera and fingerprint reader add quick and secure Windows 10 logins. Speakers are excellent, especially for a business laptop, there is optional LTE connectivity, and the battery lasts 8–10 hours on a single charge. Inside get up to an Intel Core i7-8650U vPro CPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. The only thing missing from this outstanding convertible is a dedicated GPU.

Pros:

  • Lightweight aluminum chassis
  • Optional LTE available
  • Great port selection
  • Tons of configuration options
  • Beautiful 4K touch display available

Cons:

  • Gets expensive fast
  • No dedicated GPU

Best Business

HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5

Gorgeous 14-inch convertible with a focus on business

Those looking for a business partner should seriously consider the EliteBook x360 1040 G5. It's pricey, but it has the features and performance to tackle everything you throw at it day in and day out.

Bottom line

Although HP has a lot of great laptops to choose from, the Spectre x360 13t makes the most sense for a lot of people due to its versatile convertible build, premium construction, powerful hardware, beautiful touch display, and competitive price. You can use it like a tablet if you want to sit back and enjoy a movie or TV show, and switch it around to a notebook when it comes time to handle productivity tasks.

It has the right ports, including Thunderbolt 3 and USB-A, to handle your modern and legacy devices, and there are plenty of configuration options available from HP to ensure you get exactly as much laptop as you need. The 4K display is outstanding but you can save some money with the FHD model, 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs are available, and you can get up to a 2TB PCIe SSD for a lot of fast storage.

Desktop Option

HP OMEN Obelisk

Serious gaming

If you're looking to stretch your dollar a little further, and portability isn't an issue, the OMEN Obelisk offers quite a bit for gamers. You've also got OMEN's signature styling which really hammers home the Obelisk namesake. $200 off for the back to school season is a sweet deal!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

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