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HP Spectre x360 13 (Late 2019) review: A perfect convertible ultraportable notebook

By Kenny Yeo - 5 Apr 2020

Performance & conclusion

Performance

To evaluate the HP Spectre x360 13, we will be comparing its results from our benchmarks against other new and portable ultraportable notebooks such as the recently reviewed ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7, as well as the Acer Swift 5 and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

The unit that we are testing is one of the higher-end configurations and it comes with a Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB of memory, and a 1TB SSD.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 and Surface Pro 7 are arguably the Spectre x360 13’s closest rivals as they feature similar specifications, top-notch build, and have convertible form factors that enable them to be used as traditional notebooks or tablets. Here are their configurations and how they stack up.

Specifications comparison
Model Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Acer Swift 5 ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434 Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 HP Spectre x360
Processor Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-10510U Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-1065G7
Memory 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB
Storage 512GB SSD 1TB SSD 1TB SSD 512GB SSD 1TB
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX250 NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Price S$2,688 S$2,398 S$2,098 S$2,898 S$2,899

 

Benchmark results

Overall, the HP Spectre x360 13’s performance can be summed up as decent. General computing performance is quite good as evidenced by its scores on PCMark 10, Cinebench, and WebXPRT 3.

Graphics performance, on the other hand, can be said to be slightly below average. Its 3DMark scores were a bit of a mixed bag as it scored poorly on the least intensive Cloud Gate run but then it clawed back and performed strongly on the more intensive Sky Diver and Fire Strike runs. On Tomb Raider, it achieved the lowest frame rates and was as much as 15% slower than the XPS 13 2-in-1 and Surface Pro 7, both of which are also powered by Intel Iris Plus integrated GPUs.

 

Battery life

Battery life is one aspect that the HP Spectre x360 13 excels in. It lasted the longest in both Modern Office and Gaming workloads. On the Modern Office workload, which tests general computing tasks like web browsing and spreadsheets, the Spectre x360 13 lasted an incredible 579 minutes – that’s 9 hours and 39 minutes. More impressively, that’s 232 minutes (nearly 4 hours) longer than its closest rival. On the Gaming workload, it was the only notebook to run for three hours – the other notebooks couldn’t even manage two hours. Needless to say, it was the most power-efficient notebook of the bunch. And, thanks to its compact dimensions, it also scored the highest on our Portability Index.

 

One of the best ultraportables

It may be pricey, but that's the price to pay to get one of the best ultraportable notebooks in the market today.

All things considered, the HP Spectre x360 13 is easily one of the best ultraportable notebooks you can buy today.

For a start, build quality is excellent and it has a convertible design so that it can be used as a traditional clamshell notebook or a tablet. Granted, the Spectre x360 13 can’t compete with the Surface Pro 7 as a tablet but I’ll argue that it’s more versatile and definitely more pleasant to type on.

Its performance is quite decent too. Though graphics performance is lacklustre, it makes up for it with its long battery life, which I think people will value over the ability to run games a tad faster. After all, it's an ultraportable, and you're supposed to be getting work done with it. It also has a good selection of ports and it supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard.

It works well enough in tablet mode but it's still slightly compromised compared to a Surface Pro 7.

Now, if you are thinking that all of this has to come at a price, you’d be right. The Spectre x360 13 is one of the pricier notebooks available at the moment. Prices start at S$2,399 and for that, you’ll get a Core i5-1035G4 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. That’s good enough for most people, but more demanding users will want to opt for the pricier model (the one I tested) that costs S$2,899 and comes with a Core i7-1065G7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. It’s a lot of money for a notebook but it’s the same Dell charges for a similarly specced Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

That makes it considerably pricier than the ASUS ZenBook UX434 and Acer Swift 5, but that’s the price to pay for the extra features (convertible form factor, Thunderbolt 3 support) and refinement. And to be fair, that’s comparable with its closest rivals such as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7. So in other words, the Spectre x360 13 is pricey but not unreasonably so.

To end, if you are in the market for a high-end ultraportable portable notebook, the HP Spectre x360 13 does a lot of things right, making it a wonderful place to start your search.

9.0
  • Design 9.5
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Value 8
  • Mobility 9.5
The Good
Compact, stylish design
Versatile form factor
Long battery life
USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports
Nice keyboard
Camera kill switch
The Bad
Thicker than predecessor
Tiny trackpad
Below average graphics performance