The HP Specter x360 was a hit during its debut in 2015 and we loved the 2016 model even more. He is back this year, likes a lot of what we like, but adds a sleek design and a super clean 4K touchscreen. In addition to the UHD display, the latest HP Specter x360 13 (from $ 1,199, tested $ 1,599) includes USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, lots of fast SSD storage and a new chic color scheme. Given upgrades to what was already our first choice for high-end convertible laptops, the 2017 model is an easy choice Choice of the editors.
Spirit in the bowl
The new Specter x360 13 keeps the slim shape of its predecessor and has the stylish aesthetics of the non-convertible HP Specter 13. On our test unit, this means a very modern anodized aluminum housing with a gray steel and copper color scheme. Copper cuts the edges of the system and serves as an accent in many places. HP uses the same design approach with the 15-inch Specter x360 $ 1,579.00 at Amazon, which we tested earlier this year, and it looks very strong in both cases. HP offers two cheaper x360 models ($ 1,199 and $ 1,349) that use silver edges on the edges instead.
Really superportabel, the Specter x360 13 is really thin and light. The same was true for the first iteration and it was only diluted from there. The 2015 model measured 0.63 by 12.79 by 8.6 inches (HWD) and weighed 3.26 pounds, the 2016 model was 0.5 by 12 by 8.6 inches and 2.8 pounds, and the version this year is slightly lighter at 0.5 by 12 by 8.5 inches and 2.8 pounds. This matches the Lenovo Yoga 910 $ 1,199.99 at Lenovo (0.56 at 12.72 at 8.84 inches, 3.01 pounds) and at the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 $ 999.99 at Dell (0.54 by 11.98 by 7.8 inches, 2.7 pounds), and that means you can barely register in your suitcase, your shoulder bag or your backpack. All in all, the new design and sleek profile colors create a killer look.
Convertibility is where the Specter x360 separates from Specter 13. Thanks to its hinge, the laptop can be fully converted to a Windows 10 tablet. Some systems are a bit too big, big or unmanageable to use as in tablet mode (the $ 799 Samsung Spin $ 679.99 at Amazon comes to mind), but because the x360 is so thin and small, it feels sure to stay that way. This facilitates the transport of a hand, allows to quickly show a drawing to a colleague of the district or to transfer it to a colleague to better visualize certain data. You can also put it in Tent or Display mode to show the screen on a desk or table to a group gathered, although the 13-inch screen is a bit small to see if you are too far away.
I took the Specter x360 on several trips and can say that it is very suitable for air travel. Between weight and thickness, it’s easy to put carry-on luggage or a bag under the seat, and convertibility is perfect for a flight. My favorite method is to lower the keyboard on the drawer with the screen facing me, because I can see it in a good angle without it coming up against the back of me. If you think you can cope without convertibility, there are even thinner and lighter options like the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (UX490UA) $ 1,568.00 at Amazon and the Microsoft Surface Laptop, but I think the Specter shape change (and beautifully constructed) useful for traveling.
The keyboard cuts a fairly low profile, so it does not feel awkward when you hold the back of the laptop in tablet mode. Despite the finesse of the construction, the keys are pleasant to type, making more movement possible than, for example, the keyboard of the Razer Blade Stealth, which feels a little superficial. The keyboard provides a satisfactory return, like last year’s model, but the new color scheme avoids the previous gray-on-gray font, making it difficult to read in some cases. The keys also have a backlight with white lighting and you can turn on or off the lights as needed.
The touchpad follows very well and although it is not too big because of the limited space, it is nice and wide and still feels spacious. The Bang and Olufsen loudspeakers offer great volume and sound quality, especially given the size of the laptop. It’s not a home theater, of course, but you can comfortably play video or music and hear it from the other side of the room, with little or no distortion at maximum volume.
Our evaluation unit features a 13.3-inch 4K display with touch-sensitive features, while both the $ 1,199 and $ 1,349 versions include full-HD 1080p touch screens. The picture on the 4K screen is very sharp with rich colors. The resolution is not necessary on a screen of this size, but it is a difference of brightness quite important compared to a 1080p screen of comparable size. The resolution adds to the costs, but the extra clarity is obvious and you can enjoy 4K content in native resolution. You also have extra space to view and edit Full HD videos with room for toolbars and edit windows. The 4K resolution ensures that some menus and their text seem rather small, you may want to inflate the scales so you do not have to go through each task.
You do not get a lot of connectivity options given the size of the X360, but the essentials are covered. The left panel contains the power button, a USB 2.0 port and the headphone jack, while on the right side the volume knob and two USB-C ports are placed, each with Thunderbolt 3 and suitable for charging the computer portable. There are no basic video ports such as HDMI or DisplayPort, but with adapters for USB-C ports, you can connect any screen you want. Another USB 3.0 port would have been useful to connect an additional device, but again, an adapter in the USB-C port should cover you. At the same time, all USB 3.0 ports are appreciated, considering some of the latest super thin notebooks that restrict you to USB-C, like the latest Apple MacBook $ 1,599.00 at the Apple Store.
For storage, there is a 512 GB SSD on board, which means very fast start-up and loading times. All three models are equipped with SSD drives: our test unit and version $ 1,349 offer a capacity of 512 GB, while the cheapest model, $ 1,199, has 256 GB. The same goes for the memory: The two most expensive versions contain 16 GB of RAM, while the entry unit provides 8 GB. For wireless connectivity, the Specter x360 uses dual band 802.11ac wifi and Bluetooth 4.2. HP offers a one-year warranty of up to three years, depending on the configuration.
Despite its small size, the x360 is fairly fast. The 2.7 GHz Core i7-7500U processor, SSD and 16 GB of memory enable fast loading times across the board. The PCMark 8 Work Conventional test shows a slightly lower score than comparable competition, especially because the 4K screen is more demanding than most others. This reflects some loss of power in actual use, but it is quite negligible in daily work. Multimedia scores support these claims and show fast times that compare favorably with competition. Because the processor (and extentsion, the integrated graphics card) is the same as last year Spectrum x360 13, the performance numbers are almost identical, except where the 4K screen adds an extra limitation.
Given the lack of separate graphics, the x360 13 does not have much 3D power or game splits. You can come with low resolution or low resolution games in low resolution, but even playing in HD with modern titles is out of reach. It is not unique – almost all ultra-portable or 2-in-1-packs built in, because the focus is on slim, lightweight form versus game prowess. The expensive Microsoft Surface Book $ 1,899.00 at Amazon is an exception here, but you’ll have to pay a nice penny for the discrete graphical version.
The battery of the Specter x360 lasted 8 hours and 18 minutes in our reduction test. Most laptops in this category do better: the previous x360 lasted 14 hours, the XPS 13 2-in-1 was 11:46, while the Yoga 910 reached an incredible 21:28. The error is square at the 4K screen (remember that you can operate this system with an HD screen), so it is a matter of personal preference or a screen with high resolution or a battery with a long life more suitable is important. With this kind of battery life, it has passed the aforementioned plane journeys while playing downloaded Netflix videos, but you will almost have to fall out if you cross an ocean to the sea. others in the United States.
Sharper than ever
The HP Specter x360 13 $ 1577.95 at Amazon fulfills its mission very well and comes together as a smooth convertible laptop, versatile, easy to travel that works beautifully. The 4K screen looks excellent, making it very attractive, even if it has some drawbacks. You will attract attention with the stylish design of the Specter X360 13 and there are few machines with which I prefer to travel the entire package. Save for a reduced battery life, the 2017 Specter x360 improves its predecessor, making it our choice for high-end convertible laptops. If you want to spend less on a fast, well-designed convertible laptop with a long battery life, the Lenovo Yoga 910 is our best midrange choice, but opt for a 4K screen that brings the price of the x360 closer to Specter 13.