During Microsoft's annual Build conference last week, the company gave out thousands of HP Spectre x360 Ultrabooks to attendees. Granted, the more than $2k price tag that it takes to attend Build subsidizes the 'give away', but the tradition is always one of the fondest moments of the day one keynote.
Mark Guim and I have been using the Spectre for a few days now. His laptop is loaded with the default Windows 8.1, while mine is sporting Windows 10 build 10074.
Truth be told, neither of us are fans of HP's laptops. However, the Spectre is different. It is built with some assistance from Microsoft's engineers, and it shows. In fact, I find it hard to put down as you will find out in our detailed, 13-minute video review.
HP Spectre x360 Specs
|Operating System||Windows 8.1.1|
|CPU||5th gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 5500|
|Display resolution||Full HD (1920x1080) or QHD (2560x1440) IPS Touch|
|Internal storage||128, 256, or 512 GB mSATA SSD|
|RAM||4 or 8 GB|
|Ports||3 USB 3.0; 1 HDMI; 1 Mini DisplayPort; 1 headphone/microphone combo|
|SD card slot||Yes (microSDXC compatible)|
|Dimensions||12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 in|
|Battery||56 Wh Li-On (10.5 to 12.5 hours, depending on config)|
|Front camera||HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam w/ integrated dual digital microphones|
|Wireless||802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth® 4.0 combo|
In terms of specifications, the Spectre x360 runs the gamut and it often depends on where you buy it. The Microsoft Store is selling the Intel Core i7 version with 512 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM and an HD display. The one given out at Build is a custom Core i5 version with just 128 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM and an HD display.
Head to the HP website they offer more configurations. Smart move. Maxed out, you can grab the Spectre x360 with a fifth-generation Intel Core i7, 512 GB SSD, 8 GB of RAM, and a jaw-dropping QHD Display with adaptive pixels. That setup sets you back $1,399, but, to be honest, that is a fair price for a maxed out Ultrabook in 2015.
Don't like the four pre-fab configurations? HP lets you put together a custom version. Here you can get the Build variant with a lower-clocked Core i5 and 8 GB of RAM. You can also upgrade the display from a 1920x1080 WLED backlit IPS display to a 2560x1440 one for just an extra hundred bucks. Both are touchscreens.
Heavy but substantial
The HP Spectre x360 comes in at 3.2 pounds (1.45 kg). Make no mistakes, by comparison to current Ultrabooks it is not light. However, it is not heavy either. Just heavier. That is an important distinction.
Moreover, that weight is worth it.
For one, you get a considerable 56 Wh Li-on battery. HP rates the device between ten and a half and twelve and a half hours, depending on configuration. By all accounts (and other reviews), HP is actually not lying here as the Spectre is well optimised for extended battery life.
You also have a single machine cut CNC aluminium body. Translation: entirely metal, with no creeks.
Yes, folks, this is the Lumia 920 of laptops.
Finally, the big selling point for the Spectre x360 is the fact that the display can flip to convert into a tablet. Granted, it is a 3.2-pound tablet. Personally, I find this mode less compelling than the tent one, however, if you think of the Spectre x360 as a laptop that can also flip around, then it is not so bad.
Lenovo has been doing this flipping thing with its Yoga Pro laptops for quite some time already. HP brings some unique stuff to the table like the hinge with "three spiral gears for synchronized and precise movement". This design lets the Spectre x360 stay as thin in tablet mode as it is when closed.
We'll focus more on the HP Spectre x360 in the coming days. For now, colour us surprised – and impressed – with what we have seen so far. Dell and Lenovo are not the only kids on the block with significant laptops on the market now, as the HP Spectre x360 is certainly worth more coverage.
Do you have a Spectre x360? Share your thoughts about it in comments!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, 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 for some reason, watches. 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.