First look at the HP Spectre x2 (2017): Your perfect alternative to the new Surface Pro

Earlier this week, before Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Pro, HP also had a few announcements including their revamped Spectre x2 for 2017. Going back to 2015, the Spectre x2 is HP's proper take on the popular 2-in-1 category, and like Microsoft, they make significant strides in between releases.

Last week, Windows Central got to see the Spectre x2 in person, and it's a beautiful device. Moreover, if the new Microsoft Surface Pro's price is not in your budget, or that missing USB Type-C port is bugging you, the Spectre x2 may be your cure.

HP made a lot of substantial changes with the Spectre x2 for 2017 including bumping the processor to either Core i5 or Core i7 and adding Intel HD Iris Plus graphics (optional).

The display also goes from a measly Full HD (1080 x 1920) to a monstrous 3000 x 2000 one with a preferred 3:2 aspect ratio (instead of 16:9). In fact, that's a higher display resolution than the new Surface Pro, which is "only" 2736 x 1824 (267ppi).

HP Spectre x2 (2017)

HP Spectre x2 (2017) Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display12.3-inch IPS
10 point multi-touch
Gorilla Glass 4
Display Resolution3000x2000 (293 PPI)
Aspect Ratio: 3:2
SoftwareWindows 10
ProcessorSeventh Gen Intel Core i5
Seventh Gen Intel Core i7
StorageUp to 1TB Solid State Drive (PCIe SSD)
MemoryUp to 16GB RAM
1866Mhz LPDDR3
GraphicsIntel HD graphics 620
Core i7: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Front CameraFull HD
Windows Hello face-authentication
SpeakersFront-facing stereo speakers tuned by Band & Olufsen
PortsTwo USB Type-C (power, display, data)
USB-C to USB-A dongle adaptor included
Headset jack
microSDXC card reader
SensorsAmbient light sensor
NetworkWi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology
PenHP Active Pen (N-trig pen)
BatteryUp to 8 hours
HP Fast Charge thru USB-C
Weight2.51lbs/1.14kg (with keyboard)

Additionally, HP is using two USB Type-C ports, with either being used for power, display, or data. Unfortunately, neither are specced for Thunderbolt 3, so an external GPU (eGPU) will not be possible. HP does include its popular Fast Charge ability, however, giving you a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. The company is also tossing in a USB-C to USB-A converter dongle in the box for your legacy needs.

The keyboard features an impressive 1.5mm of travel (versus 1.3mm of Surface Pro) and has an all metal deck, something that many users prefer. The bottom too is also not cloth anymore due to – ironically – concerns over staining and long-term wear. Instead, it's a rubbery, durable plastic.

Other features include a new Ash Silver color scheme and copper colored kickstand. That kickstand is stainless steel and can now articulate to 165-degrees like the new Surface Pro.

The included HP Active Pen is based on N-Trig, which also means you should be able to use the new Surface Pen with this device as well.

Finally, this wouldn't be a Spectre without HP's facial-recognition front-facing camera for Windows Hello authentication.

Overall, the Spectre x2 looks to be an impressive device. The only drawback appears to be battery life as a Core i7 with Iris Plus graphics, two fans, and that 3000x2000 display will only net about eight hours of usage versus the claimed 13.5 hours of Surface Pro. The trackpad is also not Precision. We'll, of course, put that to the test later in June when the Spectre x2 becomes available starting at about $1,000.

See Spectre x2 at

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.