For anyone looking for great laptop deals, we’ve spotted a truly tempting proposition. For a limited time only, you can buy the HP Pavilion x360 Convertible Laptop direct from HP for just $530. At a considerable saving of $150, it makes embracing the 2-in-1 laptop world more affordable. We can’t guarantee how long this HP Pavilion x360 deal will stick around for, so read on while we take you through why it’s worth buying.
Of course, the key selling point here is that it has a 14-inch touchscreen that can be moved into four different modes. Being able to be more tactile with your work or enjoyment as needed is a huge selling point compared to a conventional laptop screen. It’s simple to find the right angle for how you plan on using it. That means you can place it in a presentation mode for ensuring others can see what’s on screen, move it to a tent mode for watching streaming content, or even use it as a tablet. To aid its streaming potential, it also has HP Dual Speakers with audio by B&O so you’re guaranteed of great sound quality.
The HP Pavilion x360 convertible laptop is expertly designed to ensure you get the best of both worlds. If you can never decide on if you need a laptop or tablet, you can seamlessly switch between the two with this HP Pavilion x360 deal, which gives you the benefits of Windows 11 Home in either format.
Normally priced at $700, the HP Pavilion x360 is down to just $530 for a limited time only when you buy direct from HP.
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We’re in the heart of the shopping holiday now, and gaming laptop Black Friday deals are here in droves. This HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop is $260 off right now, . We can’t guarantee this offer will stick around for long, as the best Black Friday deals on consumer tech are selling out fast. This is one of the best Black Friday laptop deals we’ve seen from HP so far. If you have a tablet and a laptop on your Black Friday list, this deal will save you cash and get two birds with one stone.
Today’s Best HP Spectre x360 Laptop Black Friday Deal
Laptop and tablet in one
Light and portable — only 2.8 pounds
HD 1080p screen
Powerful CPU and GPU
Grab the HP Spectre x360 for only $841, $260 off the usual price of $1,101!
Convertible laptops are fantastic for artists, movie buffs, and mobile gamers. The ability to switch between a tablet and a laptop, with the full benefits of both, unlocks a ton of new uses. For example, artists who work in programs like Blender and Photoshop can flip into tablet mode and use a stylus for finetuning the smallest details. When they’re done, they can flip back and send their files to coworkers without having to type a full email on a cumbersome touchscreen keyboard. The Spectre x360’s 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics card certainly provide the power an artist needs.
The dedicated streamer will love the ability to flip the Spectre into a V shape so it can stand on its own. It’s like bringing a portable TV with you everywhere. The 13.3-inch screen makes the whole device compact without giving you a claustrophobic view of your favorite shows. The screen supports resolutions up to 1080p, so anything short of 4K will look fantastic.
Of course, we can’t forget gamers. The previously mentioned Intel i5 processor and Iris Xe graphics card are enough to support moderate games, and 8GB of RAM will let you run one somewhat demanding game at a time without slowing you down. Having a tablet and a laptop in one package lets you play traditional games and mobile games on the same device.
The Spectre x360 comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an HP laptop. You get a 720p webcam built in, USB and Thunderbolt ports, a fast-charging battery, and a fingerprint reader. Right now you can get the whole package for only $841, $260 off the retail price of $1,101. Act fast before it disappears!
Should you shop this HP Spectre x360 Black Friday deal or wait until Cyber Monday?
Any offer you see on Black Friday should be grabbed as soon as possible. Microchips are in short supply this year, so a lot of fantastic consumer electronics deals have already sold out. To be honest, shopping on Black Friday itself is almost too late to the party at this point. Retailers started their Black Friday deals way back in October for fear of running out of stock before the official Black Friday date. If you wait until Cyber Monday, this whole product may be gone, let this deal.
If the deal is still around, it will likely be the same as it is today. Most Cyber Monday deals are the same as their Black Friday counterparts but rebranded for the new shopping holiday. We don’t usually see new fantastic deals pop up specifically for Cyber Monday. In any case, if you do buy the Spectre x360 today and it gets a surprise price drop over the weekend, nothing is stopping you from canceling your order and repurchasing the better deal.
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.
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Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy Book Pro 360, a convertible 2-in-1 representing its most serious effort to produce a competitive Windows 10 laptop. HP has been a leading player in that market for years, and it’s perfected the convertible 2-in-1 with strong efforts like the late 2020 Spectre x360 15. HP’s strength is illustrated by its having machines on our best 2-in-1s and best laptops lists.
Can Samsung’s upstart entry take on such an established player?
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360
HP Spectre x360 15
13.97 inches x 8.98 inches x 0.47 inches
14.17 inches x 8.91 inches by 0.79 inches
11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 or 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H
Both the Samsung Galaxy Pro Book 360 and HP Spectre x360 15 are large convertible 2-in-1s, meaning their displays flip all the way around to morph into four different formats — clamshell, tent, media, and tablet. Both make for large tablets, but the Samsung is significantly thinner than the HP, at 0.47 inches versus 0.79 inches. It’s also quite a bit lighter at 3.02 pounds versus 4.23 pounds. You’ll notice the difference if you flip into tablet mode and use Samsung’s S-Pen or HP’s active pen for Windows 10 inking.
There’s a reason why the Galaxy Pro Book 360 is so much lighter beyond its being thinner. It’s constructed of a mix of aluminum alloy and plastic, with the bottom panel notably being plastic. The Spectre x360 15 is constructed entirely of machined aluminum, and as such, it’s more rigid and feels more durable than the Samsung. The HP has absolutely no twisting, bending, or flexing anywhere on the machine, while the Galaxy Book Pro 360 demonstrated some keyboard flex, some bending in the lid, and some creaking along the sides. The Samsung doesn’t feel cheap, but it’s not as solid as the HP.
Aesthetically, the Spectre x360 15 is by far the more extravagant design, with gem-cut edges and chiseled corners that give it an elegant and very different look. It’s available in two colors, Poseidon Blue and Ash Silver (which looks more brownish in real life). The Galaxy Book Pro 360 is a more conservatively designed laptop by comparison and has nice lines and a quality aesthetic. You can choose from Mystic Bronze or Mystic Navy color schemes. If you want your laptop to stand out, then the HP is your choice, but if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, the Samsung makes for a better offering.
For touch typists, both laptops deliver. The Samsung’s keyboard has less travel than the HP, at 1mm versus 1.5mm, but both offer scissor switches with a springy feel and comfortable bottoming action. The Spectre line has always had excellent keyboards, and the Spectre x360 15 probably wins out here thanks to the greater travel that provides more feedback during quick typing, but both keyboards are excellent. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 offers a better touchpad, though, thanks to its significantly larger size compared to the Spectre x360 15’s smaller wide version. Both support Microsoft’s Precision touchpad protocol and so both are precise and responsive, but the Samsung wins out thanks to its greater real estate.
The Spectre x360 15 has more diverse connectivity, with two USB-C ports. Models with 11th-gen Intel U-series CPUs support Thunderbolt 4 on both USB-C ports, while those with 10th-gen H-series CPUs support Thunderbolt 3 on just one port. There’s also a USB-A port, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a micro SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Galaxy Pro Book 360 offers three USB-C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 4, a micro SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. If you want to connect legacy devices without using dongles, then the HP is the better option. Both laptops support Wi-Fi 6 with Bluetooth 5.1.
As alluded to above, you can configure the Spectre x360 15 with either an 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 or a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10750H. The Galaxy Book Pro 360, on the other hand, is available with only a Core i7-1165G7. We tested the H-series version of the HP and found it to provide good creativity performance for a 2-in-1 to go with outstanding productivity performance. The Samsung was plenty fast at productivity tasks while being unable to keep up with the HP in CPU-intensive creative apps. We didn’t test the HP using some of our more recent benchmarks, such as Cinebench R23, but there’s no doubt that if you need more power in your 2-in-1, the Spectre x360 15 is going to meet your needs better.
The same holds in GPU options. The Galaxy Book Pro 360 is available with just integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. That’s fine for productivity work and playing games at low resolutions and settings, but it’s not a gaming laptop by any means and the GPU won’t help out in creative apps like Adobe Premiere Pro that can make use of faster graphics. The Spectre x360 15 is available with several GPU options, including Intel Iris Xe and the low-end Nvidia GeForce MX330 discrete GPU on U-series configurations and the much faster Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti on the H-series. The latter, in particular, works well with creative apps and can do some light gaming in a pinch, making the Spectre x360 15 the more powerful graphics machine.
Both 2-in-1s are fine for productivity and media consumption, and the 2-in-1 format is great for both. The HP, though, offers a lot more power and can replace many 15-inch clamshell machines.
Once again, HP offers more options than Samsung. The Spectre x360 15 can be purchased with either a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS display or a 4K OLED panel. We reviewed the latter, and it’s spectacular, with excellent brightness, wide and accurate colors, and the usual OLED inky blacks thanks to unparalleled contrast. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is available with just one display, a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) OLED display that’s also bright, colorful, and offers great contrast. Black text pops on both displays, and both will work for creative pros who demand a lot of accurate colors.
Both 2-in-1s are great for consuming media, especially video, as long as it’s just Full HD. But the Spectre X360 15 displays are much sharper thanks to their 4K resolution, and the OLED version is particularly great for binging Netflix. Full HD might be okay on smaller displays, but Samsung did the Galaxy Book Pro 360 a disservice by limiting the resolution on the largest model.
Neither laptop is particularly easy to carry around thanks to its larger chassis. There’s no doubt, though, that the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is easier to carry than the Spectre x360 15, given its thin frame and lower weight.
We tested the H-series version of the HP, which is certainly not going to achieve the same battery life as the U-series CPU in the Samsung. Add in the Spectre x360 15’s 4K display, and it’s easy to see why the Galaxy Book Pro 360 achieved significantly longer battery life. Again, we didn’t perform all the same battery benchmarks on the Spectre, but in our web browsing and video tests, the Galaxy Book Pro lasted twice as long as the HP. Specifically, the Spectre x360 15 managed just six hours browsing the web and just under eight hours playing our test video. The Samsung, on the other hand, made it to 13 hours and 17.5 hours, respectively.
Clearly, the Galaxy Book Pro 360 is the machine to pick if long battery life is your objective. That is, if you can live with the lower resolution.
The Spectre x360 15’s pure power gives it the win
The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 starts at $1,300 for the Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and Full HD OLED display. You can spend as much as $1,500 for a 1TB SSD, meaning the Samsung is a premium laptop for sure.
The HP Spectre x360 15 starts at around $1,400 for a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, the 4K OLED display, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. It goes as high as $1,850 for the Core i7-10750H, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, the 4K OLED display, and a GTX 1650 Ti GPU. The HP is also firmly in premium laptop territory.
We’re giving the win to the Spectre x360 15. It’s more solidly built, looks better, offers higher resolution display options, and can be configured with significantly more powerful components. That makes it the more well-rounded 15-inch convertible 2-in-1.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve reviewed exactly 125 laptops for Digital Trends, and out of all those computers, the HP Spectre x360 14 isn’t just one of my favorites — it’s my favorite laptop, period. There’s a reason it made its way to our best 2-in-1s list, not to mention it’s one of the best laptops for writers.
That last achievement should serve as a hint as to why I like this laptop so much. I’m a writer, and while I use other, more powerful machines when I need them, my writing laptop has its own extremely specific requirements. The Spectre x360 14, which I’ve used for about six months now, meets those requirements and then some.
It’s the Goldilocks of laptops
As laptops have gotten smaller thanks to tiny bezels, 13-inch laptops have tipped over into being too small. The Spectre x360 13, for example, is an excellent machine with a lovely OLED display available and a very small chassis. But for me, that just makes the palm rest and touchpad too small. The Dell XPS 13 is better thanks to its 16:10 aspect ratio that makes for a taller display and more space below the keyboard, but it’s too small for me as well.
That’s where the Spectre x360 14 comes in. It has a 13.5-inch display in the even taller 3:2 aspect ratio, which gives tons of space for a larger touchpad and more palm rest real estate. And yet, thanks to its small bezels, it remains a relatively small laptop. The Microsoft Surface Book 3 13 also has a 13.5-inch 3:2 display, but its bezels are wider and its form makes for a larger chassis.
At the same time, 15-inch laptops are too large to comfortably carry around. Again, tiny bezels have made for smaller machines, like the Dell XPS 15, but I still find them unwieldy for when I want to move around the house or relocate to another environment entirely. As a writer, I don’t like to be stuck in one place. A change of scenery, even somewhere else within my house, helps get the creative juices flowing. And here, the Spectre x360 14 is just large enough to be comfortable to use but small enough to be comfortable carrying around.
Everyone has different preferences, but for me, the Spectre x360 14 is the Goldilocks of laptops. It’s just the right size.
It has an excellent keyboard
For the longest time, HP’s Spectre keyboard has been my favorite. It offers plenty of travel, great spacing and a comfortable key size, and a switch mechanism that manages to be both light and precise with a crisp clickiness. Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its latest MacBooks is also excellent, but in the Windows 10 world, I’d rather type on a Spectre than any other laptop.
The Spectre x360 14, of course, uses the same keyboard and I love it. Coupled with the size and the generous palm rests, it’s the laptop that I enjoy writing on the most. You really can’t minimize the importance of a good keyboard to a writer — it rivals the display as the most important component. We writers don’t want slow machines, but for our primary task, putting words down on a page, it’s the keyboard and not the performance that keeps us humming along.
The display is a dream
I’ve been using the Spectre x360 14 with its optional 4K OLED display. While this is a bright and colorful — and color-accurate — display that photo and video editors would love, that’s not what draws me to it. Rather, it’s the unworldly contrast ratio (374,200:1, compared to the XPS 13 4K’s also good 1,360:1) that makes it particularly special.
Contrast matters to a writer because it determines how black the text looks on a white background. I like text that pops, and the Spectre x360 14’s display puts out some of the best text you’ll find.
The 3000 x 2000 resolution, while not my preferred 4K, also makes for very sharp text. That’s just as important as the contrast because I’ve always found pixels distracting when I’m writing. I like text that’s as close to a quality printed page as possible, and again, the Spectre x360 14’s display delivers.
Let’s not forget the 3:2 aspect ratio, which shows off a lot more vertical content than the usual 16:9 panel. I see more of my writing at once, which greatly enhances my productivity. I can multitask with two apps side-by-side — usually, two web browsers, one for WordPress and another for research — and have more vertical real estate to work with.
The performance and reliability are beyond good enough
I mentioned that performance isn’t key for me in my writing laptop, but that doesn’t mean I’ll settle for a poorly performing machine. The Spectre x360 14 is plenty fast enough for my writing tasks, and in those few occasions where it’s the only machine I have and I need a little extra power, I can use HP’s Command Center utility to put the laptop in performance mode.
The Spectre x360 14 boots quickly, opens apps without delay, and keeps me productive when I’m using multiple web browsers for writing and researching. I can keep my other apps open as well without penalty, such as Microsoft Teams and To-Do, and never skip a beat. It’s not the fastest laptop in its class, but it’s plenty fast for me.
The 2-in-1 has also been reliable over the six months I’ve used it. I have not run into a single issue — the Spectre x360 14 goes to sleep when it should, wakes up when I want it to, and hasn’t suffered a single glitch. I can’t say that for every laptop I’ve used.
And that’s not all
There are other reasons why I love the Spectre x360 14 that have less to do with my primary task of writing. It has an elegant aesthetic and a smart, functional design, and while I don’t use it often as a tablet, I do appreciate its media mode for Netflix binging — which looks awesome thanks to the OLED display. It also has surprisingly good battery life given its power-hungry display, letting me put down words for hours without running out of power.
I’ve reviewed enough laptops to know what I like, and what I like best is the Spectre x360 14. If you’re a writer, or really anyone who can benefit from a great keyboard, awesome display, and just the right size, I strongly recommend this laptop over the many others I’ve used. There’s a reason why I gave it a 10/10 score and an Editor’s Choice award in my review. It really is that good.
“The HP Envy x360 15 with its AMD Ryzen 7 5700U is a high-powered 2-in-1 held back by a disappointing display.”
Excellent productivity performance
Solid build quality
Conservative good looks
Excellent keyboard and touchpad
Poor performance in Adobe applications
Battery life hampered by small battery capacity
Display doesn’t offer wide enough colors
Fast performance for content creation can get very expensive. That’s especially true on laptops.
HP’s Envy x360 15, powered by AMD Ryzen, is an antidote to that problem. The overall design has been tweaked, and HP now positions the 15-inch 2-in-1 — like other Envy machines, including the Envy 14 and the Envy 15 — as a machine made especially for creators.
I reviewed a $1,000 configuration equipped with the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display in the increasingly obsolete 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s an attractive price for a powerful laptop — on paper. Does the Envy x360 15 actually live up to its promise of being a creator’s dream machine?
Like other recent Envy machines, the Envy x360 15 was designed with a minimalist aesthetic. Most likely, that’s to differentiate from HP’s Spectre line, which uses a gem-cut chassis and colored chrome edges to make a strong fashion statement. The Envy x360 15 is much simpler, with a uniform Nightfall Black color that, to my eyes, looks brown in certain lighting, rounded edges, and no other accents to any of the chamfered edges. The only splash of color is the gold HP logo on the lid. Like the Envy 14, Envy 15, and Lenovo’s Yoga line, it’s an attractive laptop that won’t announce itself in a crowd.
Also, like the rest of the Envy line, the Envy x360 15 is made of stamped aluminum, another distinguishing feature from the CNC machined aluminum used in the Spectres. Even so, the Envy x360 15 feels robust, with no bending in the lid and just a little keyboard flex. It’s not as solid as the Spectre x360 15 or, say, the Dell XPS 15, but it still feels like a premium laptop. The lid is rather stiff, requiring two hands to open, but it holds the display in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes.
In terms of its size, the Envy x360 15 benefits from an 88.7% screen-to-body ratio, meaning its bezels are reasonably small around all edges. The chin’s a little large, but that’s to be expected with a 360-degree convertible. It’s not quite as chiseled as the Spectre x360 15 with its 90% screen-to-body ratio, but it’s close enough.
It’s only slightly wider and taller than its more premium sibling, and it’s 0.72 inches thick and weighs 4.11 pounds — quite a bit thinner and lighter than the Spectre’s 0.76 inches and 4.81 pounds. Some of that weight difference is due to the battery capacity, where the Envy x360 15 has just 51 watt-hours compared to the Spectre’s 84 watt-hours. By comparison, the Dell XPS 15 is also 0.71 inches thick and weighs 4.5 pounds with its 97 watt-hour battery. The Envy x360 15 is a reasonably sized 15-inch 2-in-1, but it will still be cumbersome in tablet mode.
There’s plenty of connectivity, with a USB-A 3.1 port, full-size HDMI 2.0 port, USB-C 3.1 port, and audio jack along the left-hand side, and another USB-A 3.1 port and a full-size SD card reader along the right-hand side. Unfortunately, there’s no Thunderbolt 4 support given the AMD chipset, limiting flexibility and performance. Wireless connectivity is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 via an Intel AX 200 radio.
AMD’s latest Ryzen CPUs have been top performers in CPU-intensive tasks, and I was looking forward to putting the Ryzen 7 5700U through its paces. I expected solid CPU performance and GPU performance in line with Intel’s Iris Xe, and that’s pretty much what I got. Note that HP’s Command Center utility that offers different performance settings didn’t have much impact on the Envy x360 15 (as compared to the Spectre x360 14, which was much faster in “Performance” mode), and so I’m not mentioning those settings in this review.
Starting with Geekbench 5, the Envy x360 15 scored second-highest in the multi-core test among our comparison group in the table below. Only the MacBook Pro 13 with Apple’s M1 ARM CPU was faster, and none of the Intel-based laptops were even close. As usual, things were a bit different in the single-core test, where Intel’s chips performed better than all but the Ryzen 7 5800U and the Apple M1.
In the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, the Envy x360 15 came in second again, this time behind the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED running a Ryzen 7 5800U. That’s thanks to a high score in the Content Creation portion of the test, where only Intel 45-watt H-series CPUs have scored better. The Ryzen 7 5700U beat out the entire field of U-series Tiger Lake laptops.
In our more real-world Handbrake test that converts a 420MB video to H.265, the Envy x360 15 was the fastest machine, even beating out the ZenBook 13 OLED with its faster Ryzen 7 chip. It was twice as fast as the HP Spectre x360 14 and almost 80 seconds faster than the Dell XPS 13. And in Cinebench 23, the Envy x360 15 was the fastest laptop we’ve tested, period — including H-series laptops. Simply put, if you’re running a content creation application that relies on the CPU, the Envy x360 15 is a great machine to have at your disposal.
The same can’t be said for the PugetBench benchmark that uses Premiere Pro to run through a series of demanding video editing tasks. Here, the Envy x360 15 managed a score of just 185. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 with a Core i7-1165G7 and Intel Iris Xe graphics scored 241, while the HP Envy 14 with a Core i5-1135G7 and Nvidia GeForce 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU scored a much higher 432.
Clearly, Intel and Adobe have worked together to optimize Premiere Pro for Intel chips, and the test absolutely benefits from a faster GPU. The latter is likely true for any application that can use the GPU to accelerate processes.
Cinbench R23 (single/multi)
3DMark Time Spy
HP Envy x360 15 (Ryzen 7 5700U)
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED (Ryzen 7 5800U
Lenovo Yoga 9i (Core i7-10750H)
HP Spectre x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7)
HP Envy 15 (Core i7-10750H)
MacBook Pro 13 (M1)
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7)
The Ryzen CPUs are also limited in gaming thanks to integrated Radeon Graphics that are about as quick in the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark as Intel Iris Xe. I also ran Fortnite, where the Envy x360 15 managed 25 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and high graphics, and 16 fps with epic graphics selected. That’s within a few fps of Tiger Lake laptops with Intel Iris Xe graphics, meaning the Envy x360 15 isn’t really meant for gaming.
Along with performance, an excellent display with wide and accurate colors would be on any content creator’s wish list. The Envy x360 15, therefore, should offer up just that if it wants to target creative types.
Unfortunately, the 2-in-1’s IPS Full HD display — which I think is too low a resolution for 15-inch displays — falls short. It was the same with the Envy 14 (although that machine benefitted from a 16:10 aspect ratio), which in many other ways was an excellent creator’s workstation. Like that laptop, the Envy x360 15’s display suffered from colors that are plenty wide for premium productivity laptops at 71% of AdobeRGB and 95% of sRGB, but too narrow for anyone doing serious photo or video editing.
The HP Envy 15 with its OLED display, another laptop that HP touts for creatives, hit 97% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, and Dell’s XPS 15 with its 4K display hits 100% of both gamuts. The Envy x360 did well in color accuracy at 1.06 (where 1.0 or less is considered excellent), compared to the Envy 15 at 0.73 and the XPS 15 at 0.65.
The Envy x360 15’s display also wasn’t very bright, hitting just 270 nits and well under our preferred threshold of 300 nits. The Envy 15 managed 404 nits and the XPS 15 came in at 442 nits. Contrast also wasn’t a strength for the Envy x360 15, which hit 900:1 (under our premium threshold of 1,000:1), where the Envy 15’s OLED panel was at a ridiculous 404,410:1 and the XPS 15 was at 1480:1 (excellent for an IPS display).
The bottom line is that while the Envy x360 15’s display would be fine for productivity users, serious content creators will bemoan the lack of colors. I found the display to be fine for writing this review, albeit the brightness was still too low, but if I were doing any serious work in Photoshop or Premiere Pro, then I would have been disappointed.
The audio was plenty loud with no distortion, and mids and highs were pleasant. However, there was minimal bass, and although it looks like there are speakers on each side of the keyboard, there are just two downward-firing speakers. You’ll want headphones or Bluetooth speakers for music or long Netflix binge sessions.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Envy x360 15 inherited the excellent keyboard from its Spectre siblings, offering up great spacing, large and attractive keycaps, and plenty of travel. The switches offer a nice bounce and a comfortable bottoming action, affording plenty of precision for fast typists. It’s my favorite keyboard behind Apple’s Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBooks. Only Dell’s XPS line comes close. One downside to the laptop’s design as that the power button is on the keyboard, meaning you have to open the lid to power it on.
The touchpad is 19% larger than the last version, taking up just about all the space available on the keyboard deck. That’s a welcome upgrade, and the Microsoft Precision touchpad was responsive and reliable with the full gamut of Windows 10 multitouch gestures. The touch display also supports MPP 2.0 pen protocol with 4,096 pressure sensitivity and tilt levels. A pen didn’t come bundled with my review unit, and so I didn’t get a chance to test it.
Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader that’s embedded in the keyboard where the right control button normally goes. That’s a problem for any application that hard codes the right control button, but I found the reader to be fast and accurate.
Finally, you’ll find buttons on the keyboard to mute the microphone and physically shutter the webcam. Those are welcome privacy additions, and it’s easy to see when the webcam is covered thanks to an obvious pattern that’s visible even in poor lighting.
HP only packed 51 watt-hours of battery life, which isn’t enough for such a powerful CPU and a large display (even if it is running at just Full HD). As mentioned earlier, the Spectre x360 15 enjoys 83 watt-hours of battery life and even the Spectre x360 14 has 67 watt-hours. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of longevity.
As it turns out, battery life was a mixed bag. In our web browsing test, which runs through a series of popular websites, the Envy x360 15 lasted for 11.25 hours, a solid score that’s slightly better than average. The Envy 14 was stronger at 12.6 hours, while the XPS 15 4K only managed seven hours. The Envy 15 went for under seven hours, due mainly to its power-hungry OLED display. In our video test that loops a Full HD Avengers trailer, the Envy x360 15 made it to 13.5 hours, which around average and not as long as I would have expected — laptops typically do much better in the video test compared to the web browsing test. The Envy 15 lasted for just 7.9 hours, the XPS 15 for 7.4 hours, and the Envy 14 for 14.4 hours.
Switching to PCMark 10, I ran the Gaming test, and the Envy x360 15 died out after 1.5 hours, which is at the low end of the laptops we’ve tested. Push the Ryzen 7 hard and it sucks down battery life. The Envy 14 was also guilty in this test, lasting two minutes less. In the PCMark 10 Application test, the best indication of productivity battery life, the Envy x360 15 lasted for 12.5 hours, which is the third-longest result in our database. Only the LG Gram 16 (17.8 hours) and the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (14.8 hours) lasted longer. The Envy 14 would not complete this test.
All in all, the Envy x360 15 is a strong performer when it comes to productivity battery life. It will get you through a full day’s work and then some. It’s not as strong streaming media, and if you push the CPU and GPU, then you’ll want your power brick nearby. But overall, I was impressed that HP managed to squeeze decent battery life out of such a small battery — although one might add that if HP were to be a little less stingy, the Envy x360 15 could be a real world-beater in terms of longevity.
The Envy x360 15 is an attractive, well-built, and very powerful laptop for $1,000. With its 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, it’s a real value. But unfortunately, HP didn’t choose a display that lives up to the laptop’s alleged focus on creators. It was the same with the Envy 14 — a great laptop for creative types in all but that one very important aspect.
Choose the Envy x360 15 as a fast (if you’re not worried about the GPU) 2-in-1 with a great keyboard, touchpad, and pen support for all your productivity needs. Just don’t expect too much if excellent colors are on your wish list.
Are there any alternatives?
The Spectre x360 15 is a better alternative if you’re looking to run Adobe apps. Its 45-watt CPU and discrete GPU win the day in this scenario. And you’ll want to choose the OLED display with its excellent colors if you’re a creative type. But it’s also quite a bit more expensive.
The Dell XPS 15 is the best clamshell alternative, with even better build quality, a vastly superior display, and better performance in Adobe apps. As with the Spectre, expect to pay quite a bit more.
Finally, you could choose the Envy 15, which again is more expensive but will provide excellent performance and another awesome OLED display. It’s not as fast in CPU-intensive apps, but its fast GPU will help it burn through processes that can take advantage of it.
How long will it last?
The Envy x360 15 is solidly built and sports modern components (except for the lack of Thunderbolt 4 support). It will last you years of productive service. Too bad the warranty is only the industry-standard one year.
Should you buy it?
Yes. But as with the Envy 14, buy it for its productivity prowess, not if you need a lot of colors for your creative work.
Oh HP Spectre x360 13, you’re such an overachiever. While others in your class just phone it in year-after-year, you’re always trying to improve yourself.
This year, you’ve really gone over the top. Besides a major body redesign with sculpted “diamond-cut” angles, you’re also packing Intel’s latest Whiskey Lake CPU and a 1-watt panel that just slays in the battery department. We won’t even bring up all the other goodness that you’ve pioneered: pen support, convertible design, biometric cameras, and awesome bang for the buck.
So while others are content with a new color swath or LED change, the Spectre x360 13 (2019 model) still manages to impress. Of course no laptop is flawless, but this new model still managers to improve upon the really nice one it replaces.
HP Spectre x360 13 specs
HP always puts top-shelf components in its Spectre laptops, and the x360 13 is no different. Our model, priced at $1449 via HP.com, is configured with the following:
CPU: 8th gen Intel “Whiskey Lake” Core i7-8565U
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
SSD: WD 256GB PC SN720 NVMe SSD
Screen: 13.3-inch low-voltage 1920x1080p IPS touch screen with pen support
Networking: WiFi 5 / 802.11ac
Of the specs shown here, the one that deserves a special call is the display. As the second laptop we’ve seen to sport Intel’s “1-watt panel” LPDT technology, the screen promises a major increase battery life. We won’t spoil the whole story (see our battery life section if you want to skip head), but it doesn’t disappoint.
The laptop is 12.1 inches wide about 8.6 inches deep. Its 0.57-inch girth sounds thick, but it’s actually comparable to that of other laptops in its class. For weight, our scale put it 2 pounds, 14 ounces, which is a few ounces heavier than Dell’s XPS 13 9380.
HP Spectre x360 13 Ports
The HP Spectre x360 13 sports two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right side, plus a microSD port and analog headset port. You probably can’t see it, but there’s also a tiny slide switch to let you disable the webcam.
The right side of the Spectre x360 13 is sparser, but it offers two very important things. The first is the USB Type A. Yes, the beloved square USB you’ve known for so long actually fits on this thin laptop, saving you from dongle hell.
The other feature that’s just stupidly clever is the relocation of the power button to the cut-out corner. Raise your hand if you’ve picked up your laptop and accidentally pressed its side-mounted power button, putting it into sleep mode or worse. We also find that side-mounted power buttons force a lot of head-tilting to find that button when you need it. The corner location fixes both of those issues.
It’s no surprise that the Spectre x360 13 uses a standard USB-C Power Delivery charger, but the charger’s design shows HP has been listening. The original USB-C brick HP used as recently as two years ago was literally a small brick as boring as what you’d get with an $11 hard drive enclosure. The company moved to a more modern shape with the last generation. With the Spectre x360 13 reviewed here, we see yet another evolution, with curved sides so you can wrap the 65-watt cloth-braided cable around the body for storage. (HP uses the same AC charger design on its thin, light, and leather-wrapped Spectre Folio.)
Keyboard, trackpad and amenities
The keyboard sizing and trackpad are mostly unchanged from the two previous designs. Key travel is plentiful and the overall resistance is fine, perhaps slightly stiffer than in previous models. There are also full-size home, end, and page-up and -down buttons on the right side. We realize some people appreciate these keys, but we always find our fat fingers hitting them by accident.
The trackpad is made by Synaptics (which we prefer), but its wide aspect ratio is controversial because you could activate it by accident. Also of issue to some is how it’s centered. There is no actual standard for how to center a trackpad, but the Spectre x360 13 puts it right at the U key. Other laptops from Dell, Acer, and Apple tend to be over slightly to the left, oriented at the Y key. The wide aspect ratio and right-aligned trackpad means a good amount of your palm is over the trackpad. We found the palm rejection to work fine, but we know from experience it won’t work for all.
The last two features we should give a shout out to are the biometric IR camera and fingerprint reader. We dig that HP moved the latter from the side of the laptop to the keyboard deck. It just makes a ton more sense and is easier to find. We also like that HP continues to support Windows Hello using an IR camera, which some PC makers are oddly ditching.
HP Spectre x360 13 Performance
None of this matters without performance. Our first test is Maxon’s CPU test Cinebench R15. The test measures multi-core performance while rendering a 3D model. We actually tested the Spectre x360 13 using the laptop’s default setting and a new “performance” profile HP uses to help tweak the laptop for higher performance (hence the name).
The good news is that the laptop’s default performance is fair considering its size and convertible design. We’ve found that convertible laptops tend to be slower than traditional clamshell designs. Much of it comes from the fact that you may actually hold it close to your body as a tablet, so the manufacturers are less willing to make the bodies excessively warm.
The bad news? The performance in “performance” mode in Cinebench R15 is actually worse. In fact, it gives the Spectre x360 13 enough of a haircut that its newer and slightly faster Whiskey Lake CPU actually performs more like a previous-gen Kaby Lake R-based convertible. Huh?
Because a 3D test that uses all available cores is not realistic for most people’s work, we also run Cinebench using a single CPU core to simulate much lighter workloads. Most applications, even new ones, typically use just a single core, so this may actually be of more value to most people.
The good news is the Whiskey Lake Core i7 in the Spectre x360 13 places it at the top of the convertible heap. But again, we see that odd backpedal when the laptop is set to “performance” mode.
If you’re ready to remove the Spectre x360 13 from your buy list because of those results, the next chart should make you feel better. We also run PCMark 8’s Work 2.0 Conventional test, which simulates performance on mainstream office applications. Unexpectedly, we saw the Spectre x360 x13 suddenly move to first place, and its Performance mode produce a small performance bump. That Dell XPS 13 9380, which uses the same CPU and has been trouncing all? It’s a mid-packer.
There are benchmarks and there is real-life usage, where your mileage can vary. What this seems to show is variation due to how HP tunes the laptop for “performance.”
Our last CPU test uses the free Handbrake encoder to convert a 30GB file using the Android Tablet preset. The encoder is CPU-heavy, and the more cores, the higher the performance. It also takes a long time to complete, so it tends to reveal any laptops that can’t take the heat and throttle performance as a result.
We again tested the Spectre x360 13 in performance mode and default mode. The results are actually quite good, with performance mode showing a decent uptick that’s really just a hair behind the results for two clamshell laptops with the same CPU.
If you’re interested in where it stands on CPU performance compared to older models, you can look at the 7th-gen-based “Kaby Lake” Spectre x360 13, as well as the 8th-gen-based “Kaby Lake R” Spectre x360 13 in our chart.
You get decent performance from the Whiskey Lake Core i7 in the newest Spectre x360 13 no matter what, but it’s probably not worth moving from the previous generation model. If, however, you are rolling an older 7th-gen Kaby Lake Spectre x360 13 with its dual-core CPU, and you care about encoding or multi-threaded performance, this 2019 model is a very big upgrade.
HP Spectre x360 13 Battery Life Performance
We know folks like to get torqued up about CPU performance in their ultralight laptop categories. Realistically, however, when all you do is run Office and the Chrome browser 95 percent of the time, it’s not that big of a deal.
Everyone cares about battery life. For our test we loop a 4K video short with the laptop set to airplane mode and a set of earbuds in place. The screen brightness for all of our tests is set to a fairly bright 250 to 260 nits. That’s about what you might set it to when working in an office setting.
As you can see the results are amazing. In fact, don’t call it the Spectre x360 13, call it the Spectacular x360 13. The laptop clocked in at just over 16 hours of battery life for video playback. For comparison, the previous Spectre x360 13 already hit a fairly phenomenal 12 hours of run time. HP claims up to 22 hours of video run time, but that’s at lower brightness settings.
Because the battery is the same capacity as the last model’s and the CPU is mostly unchanged, much of the credit may go to Intel’s “1-watt” Low Power Display Technology.
In the end, it’s hard not gush about the overachieving HP Spectre x360 13. It’s essentially everything we loved about about the previous Spectre x360 13, at a surprisingly reasonable price.
Want to avoid #donglelife? It has USB Type A. Want external graphics? It has Thunderbolt 3. Both IR camera and biometric Windows Hello support? Yup. Add in crazy-longer battery life and generally better performance (clearly there’s still tuning to be done), and you get yet another easy winner in what has long been our pick for best convertible laptop around.
That’s not even mentioning the value. A similarly configured Dell XPS 13 9380 will cost you about $1,400. In Apple land, a MacBook Air with the same amount of RAM and storage will cost the same but net you a far less powerful dual-core, low power, Core i5 chip. And neither the Dell nor Apple have touch or pen support at that price.
So yes, you little overachiever, you get an A.
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The HP Elite x2 G4 convertible is not the safe, plodding corporate machine you might expect. With a maximum display brightness of 1,000 nits, you read that right, a thousand nits, it literally outshines the Surface Pro 6’s mere 500 nits. And there’s another, the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6, that blazes just as bright.
The Elite x2 G4 convertible comes with a choice of 12.3-inch or 13-inch panels. It features Intel’s 8th gen Core i7-8665U CPU with 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.
Now about that panel. HP actually offers three, including a 12.3-inch with 1920×1280 resolution, and a 13-inch with 3,000×2,000 resolution. A third 13-inch display, with 1,920×1,280 resolution, is the one that can hit up to 1,000 nits for use in broad daylight.
HP’s 1,000-nit panel is also available on the EliteBook x360 1040 G6. This 14-inch laptop features multiple screen options ranging from FHD+ to 4K, with one screen hitting that magical 1,000 number.
Inside the EliteBook x360 1040 G6 is Intel’s 8th-gen Core i7-8565U “Whiskey Lake” CPU, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and up to 2TB-capacity SSDs.
The other eye-opening feature of the EliteBook x360 1040 G6 is its battery runtime. HP claims the laptop can run for up to 24 hours on a single charge–and that’s using a standard-issue 56WHr battery. HP achieves it is by using a 1-watt screen and pretty stripped-down specs of a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
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The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 is HP’s latest attempt to create the ultimate premium Chromebook. Aimed at corporate users who want something nicer than the typical plastic-clad, affordably priced models for students and consumers, the x360 14 G1 is faster, more immersive, and longer-lasting on battery than nearly every other Chromebook out there.
But this luxury convertible has some downsides. The Chromebook x360 14 G1 is big, heavy, and has a very audible fan. The display and storage offerings are surprisingly limited. The tablet and tent modes don’t offer as much versatility as they should. Worst of all, this convertible’s price officially starts at $1,397 on HP’s site. The only other company that’s gutsy enough to sell a Chromebook this expensive is Google itself.
HP might have lost its nerve, though, because we’ve more recently seen the Chromebook x360 14 G1 discounted heavily—to $796.29 at this writing. That brings the sale price within range of its 2016-era predecessor, the HP Chromebook 13, which struck a good balance between premium specs and Chromebook affordability. At this lower price, the x360 14 G1 could be a viable option for a Chromebook power user—especially if your company is paying for it. For most Chromebook users, however, it’s overkill.
Solid design with a great keyboard
If not for the Chrome logo on the front cover, it would be easy to mistake the Chromebook x360 14 G1 for one of HP’s Spectre or Pavilion Windows laptops. With its all-aluminum wedge design, chrome-plated hinges and giant screen, the specs more closely resemble those of a high-end PC than your typical Chromebook. Here are the details:
Ports: Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (5Gbps, Power Delivery + DisplayPort), One USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbps), 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD, headphone/microphone combo,
Audio: Bang & Olufsen dual speakers
Dimensions: 12.81 x 8.93 x 0.63 inches
Weight: Starting at 3.7 pounds
As you can see from that list, HP has loaded it up with the kind of high-end PC parts you’d expect to see in a Windows 10 Pro machine, not a Chromebook. My review unit had an 8th-gen, quad-core Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, and you can upgrade to a eye-popping 1.9GHz Core i7 for an extra $794. Two thousand dollars is overkill for a notebook that can’t run desktop apps, but if you max out the x360 14 G1 you’ll have one of the fastest laptops around, Chromebook or otherwise.
One thing you can’t max out, however, is the storage. HP has opted for a a skimpy and penny-pinching 64GB eMMC drive for all configurations, with no customization options. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher for a machine that’s being positioned as a high-end laptop. Even the Pixelbook offers 128GB in its base model.
We have very few complaints about the exterior design, however, which is elegant as well as sturdy. The shiny chrome-plated hinges communicate quality, as does the chrome-plated rim around the giant trackpad. That trackpad was nicely responsive, heeding my taps and touches without hesitation, though it was a bit too clicky for my tastes. HP also certifies the Chromebook x360 14 G1 to meet MIL-STD 810G specs for drops, vibrations, shock, temperature extremes, dust, altitude, and humidity.
The backlit keyboard is particularly pleasant, with soft, springy keys that are even quieter than the ones on the Pixelbook. Switching between my MacBook (with its problematic Butterfly keyboard) and the x360 14 G1 was a night-and-day experience. If it weren’t so heavy, the x360 14 G1 would easily become my traveling Chromebook of choice for the keyboard alone.
The Chromebook x360 14 G1 runs into a snag when it tries to be a convertible. A Chromebook in tablet mode should offer some functionality or convenience benefits, and the x360 G1 doesn’t really offer either.
For starters, its size and weight make it unwieldy if you want to use it anywhere but on a desk. The tapered-wedge design of the chassis, which makes an elegant-looking laptop, creates a problem when you flip it around: The screen can’t lie flush against the back, so it never feels like it’s properly positioned. Coupled with the overall thickness, it’s consistently less comfortable to use as a tablet than a Pixelbook or a Samsung Chromebook Plus is.
Some of the tablet issues are out of HP’s hands. Tablet mode is still very much a work in progress for Chrome OS, though it’s improved a lot since it debuted in Chrome 70. Transitions are faster, navigation is clearer, and the optimized Android app selection is stronger. It still feels like a step down from any true tablet such as the Surface or iPad Pro, however.
HP also touts the ability to use the x360 G1 in “tent mode,” meaning you can open it partway and stand it up on a table. It’s definitely sturdy enough to get work done in this mode. However, because the x360 14 G1 doesn’t have pen support, there isn’t a ton you can do with it in tent mode other than watch movies at a slightly more comfortable angle. It might have been better if HP had just left the ‘360’ part out of its name and focused on the Chromebook part.
Dim and dull display
No matter which mode you use it in, however, the 14-inch, 1920×1080 LCD looks all too much like it belongs on a Chromebook. It isn’t nearly as crisp and vibrant as the Quad HD LCD in the Pixelbook or the 1440 x 900-pixel display in the 13-inch MacBook Air, even though both of those laptops cost hundreds of dollars less than the x360 G1’s original list price. Despite the display’s BrightView branding, it’s actually quite dim, maxing out at around 220 nits. Even with the slider all the way to the right, the x360 G1 always seemed muted.
One pleasant side effect of a less-than-stellar screen, however, is battery life. The x360 14 G1 lasted more than 13 hours in benchmarking tests and had absolutely no trouble getting through a day or two of work. Longevity is definitely the biggest bright spot of the x360 14 G1: It kept pace with the Pixelbook, which is no slouch itself, and basically lapped my 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Speed to spare
One problem the Chromebook x360 14 G1 doesn’t have is speed. In every benchmark I ran, the x360 14 G1 came out on top, in most cases by a significant margin. Let’s start with the Cr-XPRT performance benchmark, which measure the things you’re most likely to use our Chromebooks to do—namely web browsing and video playback—to generate an overall score. Here, the x360 14 G1 easily topped other Core i5 machines and more than doubled the result of the Celeron-based Lenovo 500e.
And finally, the all-important Speedometer test, which gauges responsiveness of web apps by simulating common tasks. The x360 14 G1 led the pack by more than 50 points. All in all, there was no close competitor to the x360 14 G1 in any of the tests I ran, and you’d have to look at an actual PC to find something comparable.
With all that power, however, comes fans—loud fans that whir early and often at the slightest CPU load. While the Google Pixelbook doesn’t make a peep, the Chromebook x360 24 G1’s fans are loud enough for both of them, spinning in short bursts and revving up even during even light browsing. It’s as distracting as any PC or Mac notebook I’ve used, especially when it quickly spun and stopped at startup, only to spin again when I opened an app. It was better when using it as a laptop—presumably due to heat distribution through the bottom vent—but the fans still were triggered by inexplicable actions, like pressing play on a YouTube video.
Should you buy an HP Chromebook x360 14 G1?
There’s no denying the Chromebook x360 14 G1’s tremendous speed. What is up for debate is whether you actually need it. No matter what type of work you do, you’ll be using web and mobile apps to do it, which kind of defeats the purpose of a quad-core processor. My two-year-old Pixelbook with a 7th-gen Core i5 is plenty powerful for my purposes. While demanding enterprise clients may be happy with the speed and battery life, the storage and display, not so much.
Even if someone in HP’s target audience catches the Chromebook x360 14 G1 during one of the numerous deals on hp.com, or opts for the cheaper 2.3GHz Pentium 4415U processor, I still think the money would be better spent elsewhere. The weight, size, and general display issues all make this machine less versatile than other Chromebooks are, removing one of the main reasons why people gravitate toward them.
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Today we’re taking a peek at HP’s latest in a wide variety of Chromebooks. Given the 7(!) Chromebooks currently in production with HP, with at least one more on the way soon, how might one decide which is best? First, the newest: HP Chromebook x360 14c, with a 14-inch display, fingerprint reader, HP Rechargeable Pen, and up to 10:45 hours of battery life. How does this 14-inch machine stand up to the others that’ve been released by HP in the recent past?
HP Chromebook x360 series
The HP Chromebook x360 14c is one of HP’s fully convertable devices, meaning you can use it as a notebook or fold it all the way back to use it as a tablet. It has a Full HD touchscreen and it’ll cost you around $550 USD.
But what’s this? HP also has an HP Chromebook x360 14a and Chromebook x360 14b. Each is relatively similar at first glance – they all have a 14-inch display panel, but each version has features to match their price.
The HP Chromebook x360 14a costs around $370 and has most of the extravagance stripped away. It still has a 14-inch FHD touchscreen that flips all the way back, but with basic speakers, 12:15 hours of battery, and no fingerprint reader and a fairly basic processor.
The mid-point between the 14a and 14c is the 14b, but the 14b is a lot closer to the 14a than it is to the 14c. You’re getting a better speaker system with “audio by B&O” and up to 12:30 hours of battery life with a price at around $380 USD.
Why does the 14c cost so much more?
The HP Chromebook x360 14c works with a significantly more powerful processor than its predecessors (with an Intel Pentium Gold 6405U) and the display it works with is significantly more premium than the rest of the x360 14 lineup. The panel we’ve got here has micro-edge tech, is WLED-backlit, ready to roll with multitouch capabilities, and is covered with a pane of Corning Gorilla Glass NBT.
It’s still just 1920 x 1080 pixels, but it’s just about as nice a panel at this size on a Chromebook as you’re going to get. This device has a fingerprint reader, 45 W USB Type-C power adapter, and fast charge. This device can charge from 0% to 90% in approximately 90 minutes.
There’s a microSD card reader in the side of this Chromebook along with a headphone/microphone combo port, 2x USB Type-C with “SuperSpeed” 5Gbps signaling rate (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.2) as well as a single SuperSpeed USB Type-A port.
And there’s a webcam privacy switch so you don’t have to do the whole “put a piece of tape over the camera” thing we’ve been doing for most notebooks for the past decade.
A Chromebook for around $550 USD is a hard sell, but HP’s efforts with the Chromebook x360 14c appear go the distance – at least as far as raw specifications and features suggest. We’ll have to see if it all stands up to its claims in our own tests once this device hits the SlashGear review bench – stay tuned.
Full disclosure: I’m predisposed to liking anything that’s copper-colored. Show me a laptop that’s trimmed in said shiny-but-velvety hue, such as HP’s Spectre x360 15t touch, and it’ll take a pretty major flaw for me to dislike it. Show me a laptop with copper highlighting and a 15-inch, touch-enabled 4K UHD OLED display, and it’s going to have to insult my mother before I’ll have anything bad to say about it.
I’m also a huge fan of thoughtful design, and this laptop comes darn close to being flawless in that department. Then there’s the display, which is gorgeous. But first, a quick note on pricing:
Our eval unit (model 15-df0043dx) is officially available from Best Buy for $1,700. However, if you want to buy directly from HP.com, you can purchase what appears to be exactly the same model for $1,790Remove non-product link. HP stated that prices from online retailers (including HP.com) may vary from time to time, so we encourage you to check out both sources—who knows, the OEM source may drop lower!
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.
Why the AMOLED display is special
We had to try the AMOLED version of the Spectre x360 15 (we’ve already tested a 2019 non-OLED version), because it offers a still-rare visual experience on a laptop. The thing about OLED, or AMOLED (the same thing—AM stands for Active Matrix, which is simply the way the pixels are wired), is its near-perfect black. As self-emitters, OLED pixels emit no light when they’re shut off, hence the nice black. LCD’s, on the other hand, are imperfect shutters that leak light when they’re off, unless you turn off the backlight. Under most working circumstances, on a PC, the backlight will remain lit.
What’s the thing with black? When you start from that zero brightness, you don’t need as many nits to create high contrast (the difference between the lightest and darkest points). Also, real black gives you a sense of lushness that you don’t get with the dark grays of LCD.
All that’s just a fancy lead-in to telling you that the 500 or so nits’ peak brightness that this display can generate is plenty for normal conditions and even bright environments, such as the great outdoors.
The color is quite accurate as well, better than I’ve seen on consumer OLED TVs, because it’s a real three sub-pixel (red, green, and blue) RGB display rather than the WRGB (white, red, green, and blue sub-pixels) found in the former. HP claims this laptop’s display achieves 100 percent of DCI P3 color space, which simply means it can reproduce a lot of different colors—far more than most displays. The white point (the point in the color matrix where white should occur) is very close to perfect.
The fact that the display is 4K UHD (3840×2160) means there are no discernible pixels from a normal viewing distance (or much closer), and text is crisp as can be. Our review unit came with the display running zoomed to 225%, which means you’re halving the effective capacity for text, etc. But at the native resolution, only those with super-keen eyesight would be comfortable with how small everything appears.
Put succinctly, this is one fantastic display, with rich, saturated and accurate color. OLEDs have a somewhat limited lifespan compared to LCDs, with brightness dropping somewhat over time. But all things being equal, unless you leave it on 24/7 for a couple of years, that won’t be an issue. If you have the money, you won’t be sorry choosing this AMOLED display.
Design and specs
I’ve already related my favorite aspect of the Spectre x360 15t touch (15-df0043dx) I tested, but if the “Dark Ash Silver” chassis with “Copper Luxe” accents (HP’s color monikers) shown in the photo up top aren’t your thing, then there’s always the “Poseidon Blue” with “Pale Brass.”
If you don’t really care about color, the Spectre x360 15t Touch boasts many other design flourishes, starting with a CNC-cut-aluminum, mitered and faceted chassis. It’s angular. You might describe that as sharp, or if you like rounded corners you might find the whole thing bizarre and ugly. Taste is like that.
My favorite minor embellishment is the placement of the power button and USB port on the mitred back corners of the keyboard deck. They’re easy to get to without being obvious, and it’s very convenient to have the USB cable extending at an angle that tends to keep whatever’s attached to it out of harm’s way. Similarly, HP told me the power button was placed in the corner to avoid incidental contact. However, when removing the power cable, guess where I placed my forefinger for leverage? Yup.
As the name indicates, the Spectre x360 is a convertible, with a display that rotates a full, yes, 360 degrees. In that orientation, it’s essentially a large tablet—a very large and heavy tablet, measuring 14.22 x 9.84 x 0.76 inches, and weighing in at right around 4.8 pounds. That might seem like a daunting size for something hand-held, but if you nestle it up under your arm clipboard-style, it’s actually quite doable for short periods of time. You can also fold it into an upright tent position, or anything in between.
At the heart of our Spectre x360 15t touch is an Intel i7-8565U CPU fed by 16GB of DDR4-2400 DRAM. Our test unit arrived with the top-of-the-line 1TB combo Optane/NAND SSD storage option. On the other end of the spectrum is a 256GB SSD sans Optane, for which you’ll pay $290 less. In addition to the integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics for mainstream use, there’s a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 for light gaming, CAD and the like.
The port selection consists of a full-sized HDMI port, power adapter port, and audio headset jack on the left. In addition to a legacy USB-A port, you get two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Type-C’s (including the nice angled one). The Type-C ports support Thunderbolt too, so you may enjoy superfast external storage and docking options, as well as external display and 10-gigabit ethernet options.
A unique feature we wouldn’t mind seeing on more laptops is the webcam kill switch. While a few other machines have sliding covers for the camera, the switch on the Spectre x360 15t touch actually removes the device from the circuit so it can’t be hacked back to life. I don’t care if people stare at me, but if privacy’s a concern this is a big plus, as is the fingerprint reader on the keyboard deck.
McAfee LiveSafe was really the only “value-added” software on board. There are a few HP-branded apps that largely duplicate the functionality of the Windows integrated apps and drivers, plus the usual advertising shortcuts in the start menu. A relatively garbage-less first boot experience.
The Spectre x360 15t touch’s Bang & Olufsen speakers are clear and crisp, though a tad lacking in bottom end. I was hoping for a bit more of the latter, because two of the laptop’s four speakers fire downward. Regardless, it’s far nicer sounding that the average laptop, and I never felt in dire need of a headset at any time. I don’t say that often about a laptop.
The overall Spectre x360 experience is top-notch, from the classy container to the rounded non-standard (non-ugly) 135-watt power supply. Even the boot logo is stylish. You pay a lot for the Spectre x360 15t touch, but you certainly won’t suffer buyer’s remorse because something ugly popped out.
Keyboard and Touchpad
I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to keyboards, as most writers are, and I have zero issues with the Spectre x360’s. There’s an extraordinary amount of travel (1.6 mm) for a modern laptop (are you listening, Apple?), the rebound is decent, and there are no major stupidities where the layout is concerned. Good to go.
The touchpad is responsive and flexes nicely in the corners for hard clicks. It also supports tap-to-click and multi-gestures. HP includes a stylus for when you’ve fully rotated the display to tablet mode, or whatever your favorite orientation may be when you’re feeling artistic.
Then of course, there’s the touchscreen, which was nicely responsive as well. Such is not always the case with touchpads or screens with my somewhat calloused fingertips.
I never at any time felt like I was waiting for the the Spectre x360 15t touch during normal use, which is pretty much the baseline for computing satisfaction in my book. The combo Optane/NAND SSD’s superfast random access makes an OS feel snappy, though it’s not actually that great a sustained writer.
If you feel the need for statistics, the 15t touch scored 3,180 in PCMark 8’s Work conventional test, which is quite good, though slower than the LG Gram 14T990 with the same CPU and memory. The discrepancy is most likely due to different thermal and throttling algorithms.
While playing the 4K UHD version of Tears of Steel in a constant loop, with the display set to 250 nits’ peak brightness (79 percent on the brightness control), the 15t touch ran for 11 hours and 24 minutes. That’s longer than most users need for a day’s work, though your mileage will vary, of course. Note that the movie doesn’t use a lot of battery-draining plain white compared to, say, a spreadsheet or plain-text document. With such white-heavy files open, but no work being done, we saw just over 10 hours.
The 15t touch didn’t exactly ace our HandBrake encode test, which imposes some prolonged stress on the CPU, but it wasn’t far behind similarly configured laptops.
Though the Spectre x360 15t touch isn’t a gaming machine, with its GeForce MX150 GPU you can enjoy the odd shooter when time allows, as shown by the 3DMark results below.
Okay, the x360 15t touch is pricey, and the looks might not float everyone’s boat. It’s also not for the thin-and-light-at-all-costs crowd. However, in my book, and I’m sure that of many others, it’s nigh-on the perfect laptop. The overall performance is great; the display is second to none; the run time is over ten hours; and it supports Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 gen 2 for super-fast peripheral expansion.
My one piece of advice might be to save a couple of bucks and go plain SSD instead of Optane, even given how fast the latter is with small files. Did I mention the copper highlighting?
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