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Surface Pro 6 vs. HP Spectre x2: Which should you buy?

HP's top-of-the-line Spectre x2 and Microsoft's latest Surface Pro 6 can both fill the same versatile role, but you're only looking to buy one of them. The Surface Pro 6 has stronger internals and a battery that can last you all day, but its accessories aren't included. If you want to save money on a bundle and don't mind the weaker battery, the HP Spectre x2 is right for you.

Surface Pro 6 vs. HP Spectre x2 tech specs

Surface Pro 6HP Spectre x2
Processor8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel Core i7-8650U
7th Gen
Intel Core i7-7560U
RAM8, 16 GB8 GB
StorageSolid-state drive
128, 256, 512 GB
1 TB
Solid-state drive
256 GB
Display size12.3 inches
Touch
12.3 inches
Touch
Display resolution2,736 x 1,824
3:2 aspect ratio
3,000 x 2,000
3:2 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
PortsUSB-A 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
3.5 mm audio
Surface Connect
MicroSD card reader
Two USB-C 3.1
microSD card reader
3.5 mm audio
BiometricsIR camera for Windows HelloIR camera for Windows Hello
SecurityTPM 2.0 chipNone
BatteryUp to 13.5 hoursUp to 8 hours
Dimensions11.5 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.33 inches
(292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)
11.57 inches x 8.15 inches x 0.3 inches
(293.88 mm x 207 mm x 7.62 mm)
WeightFrom 1.71 pounds (775 g)From 1.68 pounds (767 g)

Design and features

It's clear that HP took some design cues from the Surface Pro line — it's a tablet with a detachable keyboard, kickstand, and pen support — but there are some differences. The Spectre x2's kickstand, instead of a solid piece like on the Pro 6, has more of a bordered U-shape design. It extends out 165 degrees just like the Pro 6, but here it has a gold finish that offsets the dark ash color nicely. The Spectre x2 only has the one color option, whereas the Pro 6 is available in standard platinum or black.

The lack of USB-C ports on the Surface Pro 6 is a sore point for many people, though you still get a USB-A for your older peripherals, as well as Surface Connect and Mini DisplayPort. The Spectre x2 looks to the future with its two USB-C 3.0 ports, and it has a microSD card reader like the Pro 6. If you have newer peripherals, the Spectre x2 likely makes the most sense, but you'll no doubt need a dongle or adapter at some point no matter which device you choose.

The keyboard on both devices attaches magnetically to the bottom of the tablet, and both have comfortable keyboards and sizeable touchpads (the x2 is not using Precision drivers). The Spectre x2 keyboard is finished in a soft-touch material that gives it a more classic look, while the Pro 6 Type Covers come with the Alcantara fabric finish for a more comfortable experience. In either case, you shouldn't have any issues with typing or pointing.

For extra features, you're getting an IR camera on both that allow for quick logins through Windows Hello, front-firing speakers, and pen support. Prices differ quite a bit for introductory models — there's actually only one configuration available from HP — but note that the Spectre x2 has a keyboard and active pen included in this price, whereas Microsoft charges more for similar accessories, usually costing together about an extra $200.

Display

The Pro 6 and Spectre x2 both have 12.3-inch touch displays with 3:2 aspect ratio, allowing them to be easily used as tablets without keyboard attached. Both have about the same amount of bezel which makes it easy to hold onto, and you get the camera located above the display. For higher resolu,tion you'll want to stick with the Spectre x2 at 3000x2000, though the Pro 6 isn't far behind with its 2736x1824 resolution.

If you're into inking, know that both devices support active pens. HP's option comes included with the device and features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support. The Pro 6 Surface Pen has the same pressure sensitivity and also features tilt support, though it's sold separately for about $100. It also comes in four different colors so that you can match your device. Whether you go with the Pro 6 or Spectre x2, you're getting a beautiful display that works well in notebook or tablet mode.

Performance

Performance is where these two devices really pull apart. The Spectre x2 is using a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7560U CPU with two cores, while the Pro 6 has 8th Gen quad-core i5 and i7 options available for way more power. Iris Plus Graphics 640 in the Spectre x2, though, should perform a bit better than the UHD Graphics 620 found in the Pro 6. These aren't discrete chips so you're not going to get amazing gaming performance, but they are up to some medium tasks.

The Spectre x2's RAM is capped at 8 GB and its SSD maxes out at 256 GB, which pales next to the 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD options found in the Pro 6. Finally, battery life in the Spectre x2 leaves something to be desired. You can realistically get about six hours of regular usage out of a charge, while the Pro 6 should be able to make it through a workday without needing to plug in.

Grab the Surface Pro 6 for better performance and battery life

The Pro 6 is newer than the Spectre x2, and that means 8th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, as well as more options for RAM and storage. It's going to cost considerably more than HP's device, especially with Type Cover and Surface Pen included, but it's one fine device.

The Spectre x2 has USB-C ports and includes pen and keyboard

The Spectre x2 might not have a cheaper introductory price, but a similarly spec'd Pro 6 is going to cost quite a bit more. Here you get two USB-C ports and a touch display with slightly higher resolution, and a keyboard and pen are included in the price you see at checkout. If you don't mind the lesser performance, you can take advantage of a great bundle that ultimately costs less.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.