HP's Spectre-branded laptops are known for their premium designs and high-end specs, and with the latest Spectre X360, the company is looking to take it up a notch. We reviewed the HP Spectre x360 convertible 13-aw0205TU model that boasts the latest 10th generation Intel processor and some design and feature upgrades that should sit very well with users.
Design and display
The HP Spectre 360 shows great promise right from the word go. To begin with, it is super thin and weighs just around 1.3 kg. Its gem-cut diagonal edges, coupled with a dark ash finish and rose-gold acccent, give it a premium look and feel. As mentioned earlier, HP has made several changes to the Spectre series with this laptop. One of those is making the bezels around the screen super thin, greatly reducing the laptop's footprint without compromising the 13.3-inch display. The almost-border-less monitor is also a treat to the eye.
The laptop has two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-A port (with drop-jaw mechanism), a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio jack. If you have privacy concerns, you can disable the laptop's tiny webcam — placed on the top bezel — with a kill switch on the laptop's right hand side. As for the webcam itself, the 2.2-millimetre lens is nothing to write home about, although it is Windows Hello-compatible and you can use it to log in via face recognition. HP has also moved the speakers to the bottom. although it in no way muffles or lowers the sound quality.
HP offers Spectre in two variants — 4K OLED and the Full HD (FHD) (1080p) display. We reviewed the latter model. The 13.3-inch touch screen is one of the best things about the laptop. It's bright and vibrant and the colours really pop out. Without a shred of doubt, it will make your Netflix binge sessions all the more engaging. I re-watched 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' and the shire never looked this enchanting. The screen is sharp with great detailing and the in-plane switching (IPS) panel offers wide viewing angles. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass NBT. The touch on the screen is prompt and responsive. The laptop comes equipped with a stylus with which you can let those creative juices flow, and, the stylus will keep up with you.
I really liked the keyboard on this laptop. The keys are large and well-spaced despite the laptop's compact size which helps in speed typing. The trackpad, equipped with Windows Precision drivers, gets enough space and is smooth and accurate. On its right sits the fingerprint scanner that gives you another avenue to log in from.
As the name suggests, the HP Spectre x360 has a flexible 360-degree hinge that connects the screen to the keyboard. You can use this to transform the laptop into a tablet or just sit it in tent mode while watching movies from afar. A minor irritant was how the accidental key press ruins your sketching sessions in the tablet mode.
The new Spectre is powered by Intel's latest 10th- generation i7 quad-core processors. Coupled with the 16GB RAM, they give Spectre x360 a powerful performance which allows it to run regular applications without breaking a sweat. You may open multiple tabs on Google Chrome, run videos in the background, and edit a document, simultaneously, and the laptop will switch between these tasks effortlessly without compromising with the work quality. It also boasts Intel Iris Plus which means better graphics for your viewing, gaming, and artistic endeavours, although running high-end games or in ultra-graphic mode is a lost cause. You can also alter the laptop's overall performance as per need from HP's Command Centre that lets you choose from four pre-set profiles. The laptop comes with 512 GB of SSD storage and 32 GB of Intel's Optane storage.
On the other hand, because of its compact size and high-end specs, HP Spectre x360 does tend to heat too much too soon.
For a performer of such extent, HP Spectre x360 has a more than decent battery life. Under normal usage (surfing, bingeing, et al), it would easily go on for around nine hours on battery. And although you can't go by without charging for a day, it does offer fast charging (full charge in a little over an hour) as a solution.
The Spectre x360 is a nifty upgrade of its already top-quality predecessors. With its premium look and build, latest specs, effortless performance, and a sharp display, it is easily among the best 2-in-1 laptops available in the market today. The little things it takes care of — camera kill switch, mic mute button, Windows Precision drivers for trackpad — only make it more endearing. For its size, it is a performer. On the other hand, it is quite expensive and will cost you upwards of Rs 1,50,000. The system is also prone to overheating. But if you can live with these issues, with the Spectre x360 you've got a winner that's top-quality on the outside as well as inside.