HP Spectre x360 14 review: the best Windows 2-in-1

I’ve used a heck of a variety of laptops up to now 12 months, and a few of them are fairly good. MacBooks have nailed the “premium” feel and look for years, and I’ll by no means waste a chance to gush concerning the construct high quality of Dell’s XPS line.

However I’ve by no means touched a client laptop computer as beautiful because the Spectre x360 14. The brand new Spectre’s sturdy black physique, lustrous accents, and boldly sharp edges would make it a standout amongst convertible laptops throughout the board, even when it didn’t have a slew of different wonderful qualities — which, from its 3:2 display and packaged stylus to its stellar efficiency and battery life, it completely does.

With a beginning MSRP of $1,299.99 ($1,589.99 as examined) the Spectre x360 is well my new favourite 2-in-1 laptop computer. Right this moment’s market is stuffed with succesful convertibles that look good, work effectively, and do sure issues rather well. However whereas the Spectre x360 14 isn’t an ideal laptop computer, it tops the pack in nearly each space. It’s a trendy chassis, premium panel choices, stylus assist, a strong processor, and incredible battery in a single. It’s proof you could have all of it — for a value.

The HP Spectre line is second to none in terms of design, and this newest mannequin is not any exception. Like its 13-inch predecessor, the Spectre x360 14 is made from CNC-machined aluminum. Additionally like its siblings, you will get the 14 in “dusk black,” “Poseidon blue,” or “pure silver.” Check out some footage earlier than deciding on your coloration as a result of they every have fairly totally different vibes. The dusk black choice has a complicated, svelte aesthetic that appears tailored for a boardroom. Poseidon blue is friendlier and doubtless the one I’d go for myself.

The accents, although, are what make the Spectre stand out from the legions of different black laptops on the market. Lustrous trim borders the lid, the touchpad, and the deck. The hinges share its coloration, as does the HP emblem on its lid. It’s daring with out being obnoxious. The 2 rear corners are diamond-shaped, and considered one of them homes a Thunderbolt 4 port on its flat edge. (On the perimeters reside an audio jack, a USB-A, a microSD slot, and an extra Thunderbolt 4, which is an honest choice — gone is the trapdoor that lined the USB-A port on the 13-inch mannequin.) And the sides are all beveled, making the pocket book seem thinner than it really is (it’s 0.67 inches thick). Cautious craftsmanship is obvious right here — I’m not exaggerating after I say this Spectre looks like paintings.

The HP Spectre x360 14 sits open on top of a piano. The screen displays a blue and white background.

Take it in.

And, because the “x360” moniker implies, the Spectre is a 2-in-1. At 2.95 kilos, it’s a bit heavy to make use of as a pill for lengthy durations, but it surely’s clean and straightforward to fold and the hinges are fairly sturdy. Not like with many convertibles, there’s barely any wobble while you use the touchscreen. The show can be stylus-compatible; the Spectre ships with HP’s MPP2.0 pen, which attaches magnetically to the facet of the chassis.

Regardless of its design similarities, this Spectre seems noticeably totally different from its ancestors, and that’s due to the display. The brand new mannequin has a 3:2 show, which is 13 % taller than the 16:9 panel on final 12 months’s gadget. (It’s stored the identical 90 % screen-to-body ratio.)

Microsoft’s Surface devices have been utilizing the three:2 side ratio for years, and I’m glad that the Spectre line is finally making the switch. For those who’re used to utilizing a 16:9 show (which many fashionable Home windows laptops have) and also you give a 3:2 a shot, you’ll see what I imply. You’ve got considerably extra vertical house, which implies much less scrolling up and down and fewer zooming out to suit the whole lot you need to see. It makes multitasking considerably simpler with out including a lot dimension to the chassis.

This 3:2 panel can are available in just a few totally different varieties. My check unit has an FHD choice that HP says ought to attain 400 nits of brightness. I measured it a number of occasions, but it surely solely reached 285 in my testing — which is dimmer than I’d hope to see from a tool at this value level. I’ve reached out to HP to see what’s up and can replace this overview if it seems to be a bug. (In fact, 285 nits remains to be greater than sufficient for indoor workplace work.)

The HP Spectre x360 keyboard angled to the right, seen from above.

The OLED panel is licensed for “low blue mild.”

Along with the FHD show, you possibly can go for a 3000 x 2000 OLED panel (HP didn’t present a brightness estimate for this one; LaptopMag measured it at 339 nits) or a 1,000-nit choice with HP’s Certain View Mirror know-how, which makes the display troublesome to learn from the perimeters. It will largely be a profit for enterprise customers.

By way of different specs, the bottom mannequin pairs the 400-nit display with a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of reminiscence, and 256GB of storage (plus 16GB of Intel Optane). Then, there are just a few upgrades you possibly can go for. My check unit, priced at $1,589.99, retains the bottom mannequin’s display however has a heftier processor (the quad-core Core i7-1165G7) and double its RAM and storage. I feel this mannequin is an efficient choice for most individuals — it will get you a prime processor and a great quantity of storage with out too stratospheric of a price ticket. If you wish to get fancier, you will get the OLED display and 1TB of storage (plus 32GB of Intel Optane) for $1,699, or the Certain View display and 2TB of storage for $1,959.99.

In fact, laptops aren’t only for , however you’re not compromising on efficiency to get this construct high quality. The Spectre is verified by way of Intel’s Evo platform, which signifies that it provides a lot of Intel-selected advantages together with Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, all-day battery life, fast boot time, quick charging, and dependable efficiency. In my testing, it greater than surpassed these requirements.

The back left corner of HP Spectre x360 14 up close.

There’s a single USB 3.2 Sort-A port on the left.

The back right corner of the HP Spectre x360 14, up close.

On the correct: two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, one audio jack, one microSD card slot.

The system dealt with my heavy workload of Chrome tabs, downloads, and streams speedily with no points. Battery life was wonderful; I averaged 10 hours of steady use with the display round 200 nits of brightness. Which means in case your each day duties are just like mine, the Spectre ought to make it by way of your workday with no drawback. (You’ll seemingly get much less in case you go for the OLED panel.) The processor additionally contains Intel’s Iris Xe built-in graphics. Whilst you wouldn’t need to use these for critical gaming, they’re able to operating lighter fare.

Elsewhere, I’ve nearly no complaints. The backlit keyboard is snappy with a stable click on — it’s simply considered one of my favorites. The audio system sound good, with very audible bass and percussion. There’s a fingerprint sensor to the left of the arrow keys and a Home windows Hey digital camera, neither of which gave me any hassle.

Aside from the dimness, there are solely two issues about this laptop computer that I’m not in love with. They’re each minor; the truth that I’m even mentioning both of them on this overview is a testomony to how wonderful this gadget is.

The primary is the touchpad. It’s fairly clean and roomy (16.6 % bigger than that of final 12 months’s Spectre x360 13) and handles scrolling and gestures simply nice. But it surely’s noticeably stiffer than a number of the greatest touchpads in the marketplace. The press required to bodily click on is agency sufficient that I ended up doing it with my thumb more often than not. On the likes of the Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook, clicking with a finger is far much less of a chore. Once I first clicked with the built-in buttons, I additionally needed to overcome some preliminary resistance to hit the actuation level (put plainly, each click on felt like two clicks). This concern resolved itself throughout my second day of testing, but it surely’s nonetheless a hiccup I usually solely see with cheaper gadgets.

The HP Spectre x360 angled to the right, seen from above, with the lid half closed.

My complaints are minor — that is nearly good.

Secondly, bloatware. There are a variety of junk packages preloaded onto the Spectre and several other pinned to the taskbar. Dropbox, ExpressVPN, McAfee, and Netflix are all on right here, and I bought all types of notifications from them. That is an oddity at this value level, and seeing low cost McAfee alerts popping up on the Spectre is like seeing actually ugly bumper stickers on a Ferrari. This software program doesn’t take too lengthy to uninstall, however I’m disenchanted to see it nonetheless.

However these are actually the one two complaints I’ve, and neither of them ought to cease you from shopping for this laptop computer. It’s lovely to have a look at and a dream to make use of. I discovered myself utilizing it in my free time as a substitute of my private gadget (which just about by no means occurs with overview items — I actually like my merchandise).

After we’re evaluating a convertible laptop computer on the Spectre’s value level, the large query is the way it compares to the gold customary of Home windows convertibles, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. The XPS has just a few benefits: it’s a bit thinner and lighter, its touchpad is much less stiff, and it has a extra modest look that some customers may choose.

However for me, the ball recreation is shut however clear. The Spectre x360’s meticulous craftsmanship, elegant aesthetic, and three:2 display put it excessive. It additionally edges out the XPS in just a few key areas: the keyboard is extra snug, the battery life is best, and Dell’s closest-priced configuration to this unit solely has half its storage. The Spectre’s smaller facilities that the XPS lacks — just like the bundled stylus, the USB-A port, the blue coloration, and the OLED choice — are icing on the cake.

For those who’re in search of a premium Home windows convertible with a cultured aesthetic, that makes the Spectre a no brainer buy. That is HP at its greatest; it’s a luxurious laptop computer in just about each space. I can’t think about that it received’t be the following laptop computer I purchase.

Pictures by Monica Chin / The Verge

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