HP Spectre Folio 13 vs. HP Spectre x360: Which should you buy?

HP Spectre x360
HP Spectre x360 (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're all about style and prefer some unique design elements on a laptop, the HP Spectre Folio 13 has it all with genuine leather used in place of a metal rear. It's a unique, albeit more expensive premium PC while the Spectre x360 is your best bet if you want a 2-in-1 that gets almost everything right.

HP Spectre Folio 13 vs. Spectre x360 specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 HP Spectre Folio 13HP Spectre x360
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8200Y
Intel Core i7-8500Y
Intel Core i5-8265U
Intel Core i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
Storage256GB NVMe
512GB NVMe
256GB NVMe
512GB NVMe
Display resolution1920 x 1080
3840 x 2160 (4K)
1920 x 1080
1920 x 1080 w/ Sure View Privacy Screen
3840 x 2160 (4K)
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 615Intel UHD Graphics 620
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3
1x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1
3.5mm audio
LTE (Cat 9, 16)
2x Thunderbolt 3
2x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2
USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 2Micro SD card
3.5mm audio
BiometricsIR camera for Windows HelloIR camera for Windows Hello
BatteryUp to 18 hoursUp to 22.5 hours
Dimensions11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292 x 201 x 8.5 mm)
12.16 x 8.58 x 0.57 inches (309 x 142 x 14.5 mm)
Weight3.28 pounds (1.45 kg)2.92 pounds (1.3 kg)

Two attractive HP notebooks

Talking about design is difficult with both notebooks in mind as they're similar in a few ways but differ greatly in others. The HP Spectre Folio 13 is HP's unique take on the traditional laptop design as a whole. Instead of the usual all-metal chassis, the company opted for the use of genuine leather, which makes up the rear and lid of the laptop, as well as replacing the hinge.

Like any 2-in-1, the Spectre Folio can be used as a laptop with the display pointed towards you at an angle or flat down as a tablet. It's a crazy design and is unlike any other laptop out there — you will likely turn heads in the coffee shop while browsing through documents.

The keyboard is built into the leather and feels much like Microsoft's own Type Covers do with Surface PCs. It's a solid-looking laptop as a whole and one that will appeal to those who prefer genuine leather in their life.

HP Spectre x360

HP made the Spectre x360 look more like a traditional 2-in-1 laptop. There are no fancy, unique materials and everything looks as it should, but it's certainly not a boring notebook. The gem-style design is simply stunning with a gorgeous use of premium-looking colors and minute details.

This attention to detail is incredible, like the cut corner where one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports is located. When charging the laptop the cable will be positioned away from the device to free up the right-hand side for a mouse to be used, instead of using a port on the side of the laptop which can interfer with available space. Clever.

Design really is subjective, depending on personal preferences, but the x360 looks super clean and premium.

More choice with the traditional 2-in-1

HP offers the Spectre Folio 13 in two versions on the company's store, one starting with an Intel Core i5 processor and a more expensive model with a beefier Intel Core i7. Interestingly, only the Intel Core i7 model comes with LTE connectivity. The more affordable Intel Core i5 Spectre Folio 13 only comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth unless you configure it as an option, and only the more affordable model can be configured.

You can configure the more affordable model to include LTE and faster processors but you'll be paying out more than what's included with the LTE Spectre Folio 13. It's worth simply choosing it if you want LTE, unless you really need 16GB of RAM and more storage then you'll need to pay out more and load all the options.

That's the drawback of the Spectre Folio: you can either lock down the more expensive LTE model so you can't change anything, or configure the more affordable Spectre Folio 13 with an Intel Core i7, more RAM, more storage, 4K display, and LTE, but at a vastly higher price.

HP Spectre x360

The Spectre x360 can be kitted out with a whole host of optional upgrades, including Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of speedy flash storage, but no LTE. There are some really cool extras like the optional 1080p display with Sure View Privacy Screen that prevents onlookers from seeing what's shown on-screen.

Not only does the Spectre x360 start at a more easily digestible price, but it also allows you more room to configure the laptop to your exact liking without all the confusion.

HP Spectre Folio 13 offers true portability

You can't match LTE in terms of portability, since you can use your notebook quite literally anywhere so long as you have a reliable connection. The HP Spectre x360 does not come with the option for LTE, making the Spectre Folio ideal for those who frequently work in the field and need something that looks unique.

More choice with the Spectre x360

HP allows you to configure the Spectre x360 to your liking, whether you want to throw in a 4K display, 2TB NVMe flash storage, or a more powerful Intel Core i7 processor. Prices start below the cost of the Spectre Folio 13 too without sacrificing on performance.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.