HP Spectre X360 Review

2015 is a very successful year for  HP. They gave us many surprises this year. And surely, HP Spectre X360 is one of them. It has everything a Lenovo Yoga or a MacBook lack.

Spectre X360 180

Basically, HP Spectre X360 is a thin, 13 inch convertible laptop having a full sized keyboard, large touchpad, a full HD touchscreen along with Intel’s latest 5th generation broadwell CPU. Though the laptop has the HP logo on it and they had the most contribution, it was partially designed  by the engineers from the Windows team. We can say, the outcome is really good, as the Spectre is a gorgeous looking laptop with top notch build materials, fast performance, long battery life and what not! Anyway, if this laptop has one weakness, it is the big size. Besides that, with a $900 base price, this laptop probably has one of the best price/performance ratio among the 2015 release.

Pros

Aluminum body

Stylish design

Nice display viewing angle

360 degree hinges

Excellent display

Decent performance

Reasonable price

Long battery life

Cons

Relatively heavy

Large for a tablet

Exposed keyboard while using as tablet

Inadequate ventilation system

Uncomfortable touchpad

Specifications

Brand: HP

Model: Spectre X360

Processor: Intel Core i5 5200U 2.2 GHz

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500

Memory: 8GB DDR3L SDRAM

SSD: 256GB

HDD: none

Optical Drive: none

Display Type: Full HD IPS touchscreen display

Screen Size: 13.3 inch

Screen Resolution: (1920×1080)

Audio: 2x Bottom mounted speakers

Keyboard: Island style backlit keyboard

Navigation: 5.5 x 2.5inch touchpad

Webcam: TrueVision Full HD VWA cam

Video Ports: 1x HDMI and 1x Mini Display Port 1.2

Audio Ports: Combo headphone/microphone jack

Total USB Ports: 3

USB 2.0 Ports: 0

USB 3.0 Ports: 3

Media Ports: SD card slot

Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11ac

Network: none

Bluetooth: 4.0

Ethernet: none

Battery: 3 cell 56 Wh lithium-ion battery

Battery Life: 11 hours

Width: 12.8 inch / 32.5 cm

Depth: 8.6 inch / 21.8 cm

Height: 0.6 inch / 1.5 cm

Weight: 3.2 pounds / 1.45 kg

Operating System: Windows 8.1 (64Bit)

Warranty: 1 year Limited

Base Price: $899.99 on Amazon

Build and Design

The build of the Spectre is as solid as you can imagine. HP made it more like a laptop than a tablet. And, honestly, it is a good thing. Compared to other tablet it is little heavier and slightly thicker, but, as a laptop, the Spectre is incredibly thin. Moreover, the brushed aluminum casing gives it an extra strong feel.

Spectre X360 lid

The lid has a clean, minimalist look and the base is smooth, and cool to the touch. Opening the screen lid on the x360 and moving it into the variety of multimode positions is a likewise enjoyable experience. The 360 hinge is geared and it provides the perfect balance of resistance and freedom. Because of the folding design, instead of below the display the  power button and the Windows button of the Spectre are on the edge.

Spectre X360 tablet

Now, if you look at the bottom, the base plate of the Spectre is secured by eight T5 Torx screws. Needless to say, these screws made the accessibility a little bit harder.

Keyboard

Clearly, HP focused more on delivering a great typing experience with this laptop. The Spectre X360 features a island style full sized keyboard with LED backlighting. Unlike other premium Ultrabooks, the keyboard has good spacing and all the keys are perfectly shaped. Though the keys give a plastic feel, they provide good feedback and have nice travel spacing (1.35mm). Though the backlight is sufficiently bright for typing in a dark environment, It would be better if we could adjust the brightness of the backlight.

Spectre X360 keyboard backlight

Touchpad

With 5.5 x 2.5 inch size, so far, the Spectre X360 has the largest and widest touchpad among Ultrabooks. it is protected with smooth, glossy glass. The size and built of the pad is good, however, the responsiveness of the touchpad is kind of odd. But do not worry too much, it can perform every single windows 8/8.1 gestures.

Spectre X360 keys

Connectivity

Though it is not that much versatile, the Spectre X360 features adequate connectivity options.

On the left side, there is a USB 3.0 port, an SD Card slot, the power button along with a jack for the power plug and exhaust ventilation system.

Spectre X360 ports 2

While on the right, there are two more USB 3.0 ports, a headphone port, a full-sized HDMI port and a mini Display Port.

Spectre X360 ports 1

Sadly, the Spectre doesn’t have conventional USB 2.0 ports anymore.

Display

The Spectre may have one or two lacking, but the screen is not one of them. The display of the X360 is perfect for a 13 inch premium Ultrabook. It is an IPS touch-enabled display with Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. It delivers excellent color accuracy, great contrast, and amazing viewing angles combined with bright and uniformly distributed backlighting. As I watched HD music videos on it, I was able to notice every single detail. Even the very small one!

Spectre X360

Beside the warm color and IPS technology, the display also supports a 10 point touch feature. The touch screen is quite good and responsive. However, if you’re used to a super sensitive Samsung Galaxy or Nokia Lumia phone, this will feel a little less sensitive.

Spectre X360 screen

Overall, it is a good display with IPS screen, full HD resolution and 10 points touch. But if you want something more, there is a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) model available on the most expensive configuration.

Audio

The Spectre features 2x small speakers and they are mounted on the bottom of the laptop. Most premium Ultrabooks of HP features BEATS speakers. However, they left the Spectre behind and gave it two non brand speakers. But don’t worry about it too much. These non brand speakers are powerful enough and provides good sound quality. I listened to the music on it for around 15 minutes and the sound quality was really impressive. But sadly, these little non brand speakers can’t deliver any bass. So, if you are a diehard music fan, you will have to rely on external speaker or headphone.

Performance

As I mentioned previously, the Spectre X360 was co-developed by HP and Microsoft together. So, regardless of specs, it delivers extraordinary performance while running windows 8.1. Now, if you look at the specs, the laptop has a fifth generation core i5 processor, 8 GB of ram, 256 GB of solid state drive along with Intel HD 5500 GPU.

The 15 watt Broadwell CPU is considerably faster than the previous generation Intel processors can handle almost all latest software really well. You can perform 1080p video streaming, casual 1080p video editing and export, MS Office, software coding for school and casual gaming easily.

8 GB of DDR3 memory and 256 GB SSD space are also adequate for almost every task, including casual gaming.

If the Spectre has only one drawback, it’s the integrated Intel graphics. While the Intel HD Graphics 5500 is enough for general computing, streaming HD video, and connecting to multiple monitors or projectors, this integrated GPU isn’t enough for visually intense traditional PC games or high end graphic works. Though you will be able to play almost all online RPG on medium graphics setting, without worrying about the performance.

Heat and Noise

Nowadays, laptop designs are all about size, outlook, balancing fan noise, shell thermals, and performance. But sadly, you can’t have it all, especially in a thin laptop. And in the case of Spectre X360, HP decided to let performance fall off rather than subject you to sear temperature. It remains cool to the touch even after hours of continuous use. The heat generated by the Intel Core i5 processor and graphics is vented out of the exhaust on the left side of the notebook and you won’t notice the heat as long as you keep your body away from that vent.

Spectre X360 bottom

When I tested, the highest temperature I could get from the laptop was 47 degrees Celsius on the hottest point on the bottom. While, the keyboard and palm rests stayed under 30 degrees (basically room temperature). Moreover, the fan won’t make loud noise, regardless of the load.

Battery Life

The battery of the Spectre is really impressive. It features a big 3 cell 56 Whr battery. When I tested the durability of the battery, by browsing the internet (with 5+ tabs open), listening to the music with windows media player, watching daredevil on Netflix and playing world of tanks with medium settings the laptop lasted almost 10 hours (9 hours 41 minutes to be exact). Considering the specs and IPS touchscreen, it was more than I expected.

Customization

The Spectre starts at just $899. For that price, you get an Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD with a 1080p IPS touch display. The version I reviewed, which I think will be the mainstream seller, has the same i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD and costs just $999. Moreover, there are 2 expensive versions out there featuring Core i7 processor and one of them sports a QHD (2560×1440) IPS touch display. If you are interested, there are priced respectively $1149 and $1399.

Spectre X360 models

Wrap Up

While not as light, or convenient, in tablet mode as the Lenovo Yoga or as premium as MacBook, with long battery life, good performance, amazing touch screen and an attractive design, in many ways, the Spectre is more sensible than either one.

If you really need a slim Windows laptop with a touchscreen, a device that’s mostly a laptop and can even serve as a tablet if needed,! This is one of the best choice for you. With the Spectre X360, you will have a slim, attractive convertible with plenty of muscle, plenty of ports, a great looking touchscreen, and a super solid frame. It is literally a phenomenal device. I would gladly purchase this thing on my own without any doubt!

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