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2-in-1 notebook mega shootout: Acer vs. ASUS vs. HP vs. Lenovo

By Kenny Yeo - 23 Jul 2017

HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 is an accomplished Ultrabook that also transforms into a tablet.

HP proved that it was serious about its consumer business earlier last year when it introduced the new Spectre notebook. It is a super thin Ultrabook that is just 10.4mm thick and weighs just 1.11kg. It also has a lovely rose gold hinge and eschews standard USB Type-A ports for three USB Type-C ports.

The new updated Spectre x360 convertible notebook clearly draws its inspiration from the super sleek Spectre. There’s no gold hinge here, but it is fantastically sleek, measuring 13.9mm thick and weighing 1.29kg. It is also considerably more compact than other 13-inch convertible notebooks mainly because of its thin bezels, which are just 3.4mm on the sides.

The Spectre x360 is only 13.9mm thick.

The hinge doesn’t look fancy, but it allows for the keyboard to be fold back against the display. But more importantly it is well weighted, so neither the keyboard nor display doesn’t flail about hopelessly when you are trying to use it as a tablet. Most convertible notebooks don’t feel natural when used as a tablet, but the Spectre x360 fairs quite well in this regard because it is so thin. It still feels quite odd to have the keyboard behind the display, but at least it doesn’t feel completely clumsy.

The keyboard can be folded away, turning the Spectre x360 into a tablet.

The display is 13.3-inch large, which is a tad larger than the earlier two detachable notebooks we featured. However, display resolution is a mere Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). That’s a tad disappointing by today’s standards, but at least it still looks reasonably sharp. Colors are pleasantly reproduced, but lacked punch and could do with more vibrancy.

On the inside, the Spectre x360 gets Intel’s latest seventh generation Kaby Core processors. The Spectre comes with either the Intel Core i5-7200U (2.5GHz, 3MB L3 cache) or the powerful Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz, 4MB L3 cache). Ours came with the more powerful Core i7 processor and also 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD. Graphics processing is handled by the Core i7 processor’s integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU

All three of the Spectre x360's USB Type-C ports support Thunderbolt 3.

The Spectre x360 supports wireless 802.11ac (up to 867Mbps) and also Bluetooth 4.2. As for ports, it has a single USB 3.0 port and two USB Type-C ports that also supports Thunderbolt 3. These USB Type-C ports can therefore be used for data, video and even charging. Unfortunately, there is no SD card or even microSD card reader here. But even so, we feel that amongst all the notebooks, the Spectre x360 offers the most comprehensive selection of ports. 

The Spectre x360 has the best keyboard of the bunch.

The keyboard on the Spectre x360 is one of the best we have seen in a notebook. It is well-sized, has backlights, and is exceptionally well-judged in terms of its feel. It doesn’t feel limp or sloppy. Instead, it is firm and has a slightly higher actuation force, which makes it great for typing. The glass trackpad is accurate and responsive, but a little small for our liking. It is sufficiently wide, but a little too narrow, and that makes scrolling through long pages cumbersome.

The Spectre x360 is one of the most well-rounded convertible notebooks that we have encountered. It is a solid notebook with great specifications and a wonderful keyboard. And thanks to its design and slim dimensions, it doesn’t feel unwieldy in tablet form. It isn’t perfect, however, the display isn’t the sharpest, and the lack of an SD and microSD card reader might dissuade photography enthusiasts, and the trackpad is a tad small, but even so, it is certainly one of the front-running contenders in this shootout.