HP's Spectre lineup has long been the company's showcase for premium features that eventually work their way down to the rest of the company's portfolio. As 2018 winds down, the company is taking things a step further with its latest updates to the Spectre x360 13 and 15, which have both been redesigned and pumped up with bold claims of vastly improved battery life, power, and added security features.
The most obvious change from the prior Spectre x360 is the new design, which now features angled corners on the rear of both versions. Those aren't just for looks, either: HP has tucked a USB-C port into the right corner and a power button on the left. The purpose? Preventing unwanted bumps to the power button while allowing the USB-C power cable to extend from the rear of the laptop, keeping it out of the way and making cable management a little easier.
HP also claims that the dual chamfer edges also make the lid easier to lift no matter which side you're opening it from. The design detail even filters down to the speaker holes, which HP claims have been drilled in a specific pattern meant to boost "acoustic transparency." This generation also includes a stylish new color: called "poseidon blue" with brass accents, adding to the dark ash silver available on previous models.
The 2018 Spectre x360s now include a kill switch for the webcam, which works to cut power to your camera when you need a bit of privacy – potentially a more elegant solution than privacy sliders or simply placing a piece of tape over the camera. For added privacy, you can optionally equip each Spectre x360 with HP's Sure View, which will keep those sitting next to you in public spaces from snooping your screen.
As for specs, HP has packed in Intel's 8th Generation Core processors, and you'll be able to equip the larger model with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with max Q for added graphical oomph. On the 13-inch model, you'll now have the option to add 4G LTE connectivity, and HP is claiming the device can reach up to around 22 hours of battery life. The 15-inch model, meanwhile, is estimated to hit up to around 17 hours of battery life. Both also can hit up to 1-gigabit download speeds of Wi-Fi.
|HP Spectre x360 13 (2018)||HP Spectre x360 15 (2018)|
Intel Core i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8565U
|RAM||8 GB, 16GB||16 GB|
|Storage||M.2 Solid-state drive
|M.2 Solid-state drive
|Display size||13.3 inches
1920x1080 w/ Sure View
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti w/ Max Q|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 3
2x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2
1x USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 2
Micro SD card
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
|1x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2
1x Thunderbolt 3
1x USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 2
1 HDMI 2.0
Micro SD card
1x 3.5mm jack
|Wireless connectivity||Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11b/g/n/ac Gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 Combo
Optional 4G LTE
|Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11b/g/n/ac Gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 Combo|
|Biometrics||IR camera for Windows Hello||IR camera for Windows Hello|
Privacy camera kill switch
Privacy camera kill switch
|Battery||Up to 22.5 hours||Up to 17.5 hours|
|Dimensions||12.16 inches x 8.58 inches x 0.57 inches||14.22 inches x 9.84 inches x 0.76 inches|
|Weight||2.92 pounds||4.79 pounds|
The new HP SPectre x360 13 is expected to launch in November starting at $1,150. The Spectre x360 15 is also expected to launch in November, starting at a steeper $1,350. Both laptops are expected to hit retail shelves at Best Buy starting in December.
HP Spectre 2018 impressions
If there is a prime example of how an ailing PC company can revitalize and come back, it's HP and its Spectre series of laptops, which is now going on its fourth year.
The x360 series now with a larger 15-inch option in addition to the original 13.3-inch one has been refreshed again for late 2018. Like its predecessors, HP is not content on milking the same design for just a CPU swap but instead has made some significant changes to design.
The good news is unlike the late-2017 version, which seemed to be many changes for the sake of change, this year's refresh has a reason for them – and I like the new approach.
The most obvious shift is the new gem-cut design. Going from a rounded chassis (2015) to edges (2017) to even more edges (2018) the gem-cut brings functionality as well as design flair. The cut corners where the power button and Type-C port sits results in fewer accidental button presses and a Type-C cable to operate without interfering with your mouse hand. Previously, companies had two options: ports on the back or the side.
HP went with something in between for ports, and it's genius for mouse users or those who don't want things shooting parallel to the laptop. Even the venting is slightly angled downward because of it. Plus, yeah, it looks cool.
Toss in things like a physical button to click off that web camera at the BIOS level, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A, and optional Gigabit 4G LTE with the rest of the Spectre x360's abilities and you arguably the best-priced premium Ultrabook around that doesn't skimp out on features.
The Spectre x360 13-inch is the Ultrabook to beat, again. I don't see how Dell or Lenovo match it for overall value and features, but it'll be fun to see.
On the other end is the HP Spectre x360 15-inch - while there is no LTE option in the 15-inch the ability to have NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti graphics in a convertible laptop is enticing. The audio in this 15-inch is also outstanding with quad-speakers that you can feel resonate throughout the chassis. The HP Spectre x360 15 is the laptop for media fiends, video producers, and those who want a sleek, premium 2-in-1 convertible.
It's worth noting the Spectre x360 15 also has a full number pad, which is something that some of you adore in large laptops for productivity.
We'll have more on the new Spectre x360's later in November and likely full reviews if you want them. Let us know in comments what you think – did HP strike the right balance between design and features?