Hp spectre 2016

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HP Spectre x360 review: the best Windows laptop of 2016

Building a great, premium laptop is surprisingly hard. Despite the fact that every company, from Apple to Dell to Lenovo and everyone in between, pulls from the same basic parts bin — Intel processors; high-quality IPS displays; aluminum chassis; large, glass trackpads; USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 — putting all of those parts together in a competent, no-compromise laptop is a sadly rare feat.


That’s what makes HP’s latest Spectre x360 so interesting. It has the same basic spec sheet as countless other laptops, and from a distance, even looks similar to many others. But in a year that’s been full of laptop disappointments, the Spectre x360’s cohesive design and lack of compromises has been a breath of fresh air.


The Spectre x360 is a 13-inch convertible laptop that sits at the top of HP’s consumer range and starts at $1,049. It hits all the right marks for a great laptop: it’s thin, it’s light, it’s powerful, and it has great battery life. It has a full touchscreen, a great keyboard, a spacious and responsive trackpad, and both traditional USB Type-A and forward-looking USB Type-C ports. On top of all that, it looks great.


In the weeks I’ve been using and testing the Spectre x360, I’ve struggled to find any deal-breakers with it; it’s really that good.

The new Spectre x360 looks at lot like the Spectre x360 that came out last year. (If you’re shopping for the new model, be careful: it can be very hard to distinguish it from the old one and a lot of retailers are still pushing last year’s edition. The new version can be identified by its seventh-generation Core processors.) But there are a few key differences that make this year’s computer a lot more desirable. For starters, it’s thinner, measuring 13.8mm at its thickest point. It’s lighter, at 2.85 pounds versus last year’s 3.2 pounds. And most importantly, it’s nearly 20mm narrower than last year’s computer, while still maintaining a spacious 13.3-inch display.

HP achieved this by using the same trick Dell has used to great success with its XPS line: the bezels to the left and right of the display have shrunk considerably. That lets the Spectre x360 have a smaller overall footprint — this is closer in size to a 12-inch computer than a 13-inch model — yet still maintain the larger screen. And importantly, unlike the Dell XPS or Lenovo Yoga 910, the Spectre x360’s webcam is right where you’d expect it to be: centered directly above the screen. It even has an IR camera that supports Windows Hello, so you can just look at the computer to unlock it, which worked consistently and reliably for me.

The display below the camera is a 1080p IPS touchscreen. It has wide viewing angles and vibrant colors. Unlike last year’s model, there isn’t an option for a higher-resolution display this year, but at this size I don’t consider that a loss and wouldn’t want to make the compromises for performance and battery life more pixels would require anyway.

The Spectre x360’s body is entirely aluminum and feels as premium as the competition. It doesn’t have the head-turning color scheme or crazy hinge of the Spectre 13, but its beauty is in its subtleties. The details around the speaker grille above the keyboard are particularly nice, as is the small branding on the hinge that’s only visible when the computer is in one of its tablet modes. Last year’s model had a sharp edge, which made it uncomfortable to type on for long periods of time; this model has a rounded edge that doesn’t dig into my wrists nearly as much.

Along the right edge are two USB Type-C ports with full Thunderbolt 3 support. Either port can be used to charge the computer or output to a Thunderbolt peripheral or display. The Spectre x360 is one of the few laptops with USB-C that implements it as it should be used: for power, peripherals, and external displays. (The others being the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Razer’s Blade line.) I used the x360 with a Thunderbolt 2 display (via an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, ironically) that also had an external drive and set of external speakers plugged into it and the x360 could see and utilize everything. You’ll need an adapter if you want to plug into an HDMI or DisplayPort display, but should you have a newer USB-C monitor, you won’t.

Though the Spectre has the two forward-looking USB-C ports that will get most of your use (it is how you charge the computer, after all), it still retains a standard USB port and headphone jack on the left side of the computer, so unlike the new MacBook Pro, you won’t need adapters for your existing USB peripherals or to charge your phone. The one thing that didn’t make the cut is a full-size SD card slot, and while I miss its convenience, the USB port means I can plug in my existing SD card reader or camera without an adapter.

The left edge is also home to the x360’s power button, and this might be HP’s only design misstep. It works fine, but it can be easy to press when picking the computer up and a couple of times I turned off the screen unintentionally.

It should be noted that the Spectre x360 is not the lightest, thinnest, or most head-turning computer you can get. But it’s an exceptionally well-executed design that doesn’t have any major flaws or drawbacks. Its sub-15mm thickness makes it easy to slip into the narrowest of bags, and its sub-3lb weight is easy on my shoulder. HP didn’t make any compromises to hit those marks, which can’t be said for most other laptops in this premium class.

The Spectre x360 keyboard is full-size, despite the computer’s shrunken frame, with a familiar and comfortable layout that doesn’t have any weirdly placed arrow keys or miniature shift keys as found on the Yoga 910. It’s snappy and responsive and rather pleasant to type on, if a bit noisy. There’s even a column of page navigation buttons on the far right that I found useful on numerous occasions. My two gripes with the keyboard are small: the backlighting could be more uniform, and the light, low-contrast color of the keycaps can make it hard to read the keys in bright environments.

Like the keyboard, the spacious trackpad on the x360 is remarkably without fault. It’s smooth, glassy, and huge, making it easy to use for multi-finger gestures. It also has better palm rejection than last year’s version, and it didn’t capture nearly as many stray clicks as before. It is not a Microsoft Precision Trackpad, but that’s only a real concern if you want to use the latest and greatest trackpad features baked into Windows 10. As it stands right now, the x360’s trackpad is excellent.

The Spectre has four speakers — two above the keyboard and two underneath the chassis. They are loud and full, and I found them to be very good for conference calling. I like the sound of the new MacBook Pro’s speakers better for music and entertainment, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the HP’s Bang & Olufsen system is very good.

You can get the Spectre x360 with Intel’s latest, seventh-generation Core processors, in either i5 or i7 flavors. And these are "true" Core i chips, not the lower-power renamed Core M processors other ultra-light laptops use. The $1,299 model I’ve been testing has a dual-core Core i7 chip with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. It is by no means a gaming machine or video-editing powerhouse, but it’s more than fast enough for most people’s tasks. It handled my photo-editing needs in Lightroom and Photoshop without skipping a beat, and could easily multitask between browser windows full of tabs, email, Twitter, Office, and other desktop applications. Those specs are very good for this price point, even if the latest processors from Intel don’t offer huge performance gains over last year’s chips.

I did hear the Spectre x360’s fans spin up when it was working hard, and they seemed to always kick into gear every time I plugged it in. They aren’t as loud as the Spectre 13’s and I didn’t find them to be a nuisance, but the x360 isn’t a silent marauder like a fanless computer.

Battery life is the last major piece to the premium laptop puzzle, and the Spectre x360 stands out as a stamina champ among its Windows 10 peers and even keeps pace with MacBook Pros. On our standard browser-based rundown test, it lasted over 14 hours in Chrome and just under 15.5 hours in Microsoft's Edge. In everyday use, I could get through a full 8 to 10 hour workday without having to plug in, even while juggling Slack, dozens of tabs in Chrome, Photoshop, and other apps that generally do damage to battery life. Battery life eventually just became something I didn’t have to worry about — even if I was at 50 percent or less (when I usually start to get anxious or panicky with Windows laptops), I had the confidence that the Spectre would keep trucking for at least a few more hours.

You might have noticed that throughout this review I haven’t referred to the fact that the Spectre x360 has a hinge that lets you flip the display around to use the device as a tablet. That’s because I don’t think that’s the big selling point here — it’s nice to have feature, but most people will just use this as a laptop, and the x360 is an excellent laptop. The good thing is that HP didn’t compromise the standard laptop experience to enable the x360’s gymnastics. The screen can wobble a little when you touch it in laptop mode, but there isn’t a touchscreen laptop I’ve used that doesn’t succumb to this at least a little.

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

That lack of compromise is the overall theme with the HP Spectre x360. It’s a thin and light computer that doesn’t skimp on power or battery life, nor does it pigeonhole you into a limited port selection or require you to learn a new keyboard layout or deal with a lousy trackpad. It’s the closest thing to a perfect laptop I’ve used in a long time and it’s better than all of the other options in its class.

Moreover, the Spectre x360 has an excellent value. It’s certainly a premium laptop — anything priced above $1,000 falls into this camp — but even the entry-level model that comes with a Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD is well-specced enough for most people. Dell’s XPS 13 will cost you $1,299 for a touchscreen model with less storage, while Apple’s MacBook Pro starts at $1,499 for last year’s processor. Lenovo’s Yoga 910 starts at a similar price and spec level as the HP, but has other compromises that make it less desirable.

The Spectre x360 is one of those rare laptops that takes all of the same parts as everyone else and combines them together into something greater than their sum. Perhaps it’s time that Dell, Lenovo, and even Apple started to take note.

Edited by Dieter Bohn.
Photography by James Bareham.

Sours: https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/12/13914962/hp-spectre-x360-review-2016-laptop

HP Spectre x360 review (2016): Smaller, with more compromises

Here at Engadget, we don't have the time to review every new laptop, but we wanted to make time for HP's redesigned Spectre x360 convertible. After all, when the original came out a year and a half ago, we quickly named it one of our favorite Windows machines. So now that it's finally gotten a full makeover, we need to see if the improvements are enough to help HP keep its spot on our short list.

Like the original, this new model ($1,050-plus) has a 360-degree hinge, allowing you to use it in one of four modes, but whereas the original was designed with extensive input from Microsoft, it's unclear how much of a say Microsoft had this time around. This time, too, the x360 is thinner and lighter, with a smaller footprint. It also brings a new dual fan setup for improved cooling and an upgraded webcam that supports Windows Hello facial recognition. These improvements are all welcome, and yet somehow this new version doesn't feel as polished as its predecessor.

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Mostly comfortable typing experience
  • Long battery life
  • Convenient Windows Hello log-in
  • HP left a full-size USB port
  • Good viewing angles

Cons

  • Stubborn touchpad
  • Some shrunken keys
  • Sometimes runs hot
  • Fan can get loud
  • No more HDMI port or SD reader

Hardware

The original x360's relative heft was one of the few things I found fault with when I reviewed it. Fortunately, then, the refreshed version really is noticeably lighter. And smaller, too. First off, we're down to 2.85 pounds -- an 11 percent drop from 3.17 on the original. (The first-gen version weighed slightly more if you bought it with a full HD panel.) Meanwhile, HP reduced the thickness by 13 percent -- it's now 13.8mm, or 0.54 inches, as compared with 15.9mm (0.63 inches) on the original. For reference, the upgraded 15-inch x360, which we're not reviewing today, now measures 15.9mm thin, making it as thin the earlier 13-inch model.

As for that smaller footprint, HP pulled a page from Dell's playbook and went with a nearly bezel-less display, allowing for a smaller chassis than you'd otherwise expect on a 13.3-inch machine. As a result of using this "Micro Edge" panel, as HP calls it, the design team had to retool the keyboard, extending it from edge to edge so as to take full advantage of the available space. It mostly works out -- the backlit keys are well spaced and springy -- and having just tested the Touch Bar MacBook Pros, I have a renewed appreciation for laptops with media shortcuts built into the Function row.

That said, being a heavy user of the arrow keys, I never quite got used to the tiny "down" button. Also, because the left Ctrl and Function keys have each been shrunken down to the size of a thumbnail, I frequently hit Fn when I meant to strike Ctrl. Which happens a lot when you're a fan of keyboard shortcuts.

Gallery: HP Spectre x360 review (2016) | 24 Photos

While I mostly enjoyed the keyboard, though, I was not impressed with the touchpad. Once again, HP went with a Synaptics clickpad -- seriously, would it have killed HP to go with one of Microsoft's own Precision touchpads? As spacious as the trackpad is, it's also stubborn and unpredictable, with a high-friction surface that makes it harder to drag the cursor around than it should be. Also, it frequently rebels by registering phantom left clicks. This caused me to grab and reorder my pinned browser tabs when really I was trying to move the cursor around the desktop. I've noticed the same thing on other Windows laptops I've tested (many of which use Synaptics); it's a telltale sign of a subpar trackpad.

Throughout, the machine is made of solid aluminum, with the hinge made of stainless steel underneath. Though the silver color and unibody construction have carried over from the original, you'd never mistake this year's for the 2015 edition. For starters, HP swapped in the same new logo it introduced earlier this year on its Spectre 13.3 ultraportable; you'll see that on both the lid and the lower bezel.

There's also now a conspicuous Bang & Olufsen speaker grille stretching above the keyboard. In addition to the two speakers in there, there are two more on the bottom of the laptop, which means the total speaker count is double what it was last year. HP says the idea in separating the two speaker pairs the way it did was to ensure decent sound regardless of the usage mode.

The speakers are certainly loud -- when listening alone in my apartment, I opted to cap the volume at around 25, but probably could have gone even lower. But like so many other laptop speakers that came before it, these can sound a bit tinny, depending on your musical selections. Frank Zappa's "Son of Mr. Green Genes" and Motown songs like Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" seemed to be missing some crucial bass and drum notes. Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" sounded better, but then again, it's a tinnier track to begin with. All told, the audio here is acceptable, but it's nowhere near as good as on, say, the new MacBook Pro, which I happened to be testing at the same time as the x360.

Also new this time: The addition of USB Type-C ports -- two of them, to be exact. These ports also support Thunderbolt 3 accessories, and it's also through one of these ports that you'll charge the machine. Don't worry, though: One of the original three full-size USB connections remains, meaning you won't need a dongle to charge your phone or plug in any other peripherals you might have lying around.

Unfortunately, however, while the full-size USB port and headphone jack both live to see another day, the rest of last year's ports have all been sacrificed in the name of a slimmer design. That includes the full-size HDMI socket, the Mini DisplayPort and the full-size SD reader. This isn't a surprise, especially considering what competing laptops have to offer, but it might still be a shame, depending on your needs.

One thing that hasn't changed much: the screen. We once again have a 13.3-inch, full HD panel with a 300-nit brightness rating and a color gamut that includes 72 percent of the sRGB space. The only difference this time is what isn't offered: Whereas last time there was a step-up QHD screen option, this time it's 1080p throughout, regardless of what the other specs are. An HP spokesperson declined to comment on whether the company might eventually bring back that sharper display option. While that might be a dealbreaker for people who were otherwise prepared to spend $1,500 or so on a high-end machine, the screen nonetheless offers satisfying viewing angles, with good contrast and color fidelity when you dip the screen forward.

Performance and battery life

PCMark 7PCMark 8 (Creative Accelerated)3DMark 113DMark (Sky Diver)ATTO (top reads/writes)
HP Spectre x360 (2016, 2.7GHz Core i7-7500U, Intel HD 620)5,5154,354E2,656 / P1,720 / X4443,7431.76 GB/s / 579 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 910 (2.7GHz Core i7-7500U, Intel HD 620)5,8224,108

E2,927 / P1,651 / X438

3,8691.59 GB/s / 313 MB/s
Microsoft Surface Book (2016, 2.6GHz Core i7-6600U, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M)5,4524,041E8,083 / P5,980 / X2,22811,3621.71 GB/s / 1.26 GB/s
ASUS ZenBook 3 (2.7GHz Intel Core-i7-7500U, Intel HD 620)5,4483,911E2,791 / P1,5603,0131.67 GB/s / 1.44 GB/s
HP Spectre 13 (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)5,0463,747E2,790 / P1,630 / X3753,8101.61 GB/s / 307 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 (2.3GHz Core i5-6200U, Intel Graphics 520)4,9543,499E2,610 / P1,5313,3351.6GB/s / 307 MB/s
Razer Blade Stealth (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)5,1313,445E2,788 / P1,599 / X4263,4421.5 GB/s / 307 MB/s
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)5,4033,602

E2,697/ P1,556/ X422

3,6141.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s

As I write this, I'm sitting on my couch in shorts, and the Spectre x360 is burning my thighs. I periodically have to shift the machine or even put it on a coffee table to give my legs a rest. The fans are whirring loudly enough for me to hear over my TV, though, so at least I know they're working. So much for that improved cooling setup, I guess -- all I'm doing is typing in Google Docs with a dozen open Chrome tabs. Spotify is open, but not streaming. None of this should be enough to send the machine into a tizzy.

This seemed odd to me, and indeed, I brought in a second x360 for additional testing. That one didn't get quite as hot, but it was still warm, even when all I was doing was working in a browser and Slack while streaming music. Even so, the intense heat I felt that one time is concerning. After all, that laptop was a production unit, coming off the same factory lines as any laptop you might buy. If it could happen to me, it could happen to you.

The heat and fan noise are a shame, because as loud and hot as it is, it's otherwise a strong performer. For starters, the x360 is, for now, one of the only laptops available with Intel's seventh-generation Core processors, code-named "Kaby Lake." It's also available with up to 16GB of RAM on more expensive configurations, though PCIe solid-state drives are standard across the board. The model I tested had a 2.7GHz Core i7-7500U CPU, 16 gigs of memory, integrated Intel HD 620 graphics and 512GB of storage.

In everyday use, the machine boots in a brisk seven seconds. Speaking of log-ins, the webcam here now has a 12 percent wider field of view and supports Windows Hello facial recognition. Setting this up was quick and easy, and the camera recognized me every time -- so long as I wasn't wearing glasses, anyway. To be fair, I had this same problem recently with Microsoft's Surface Book, which also supports Windows Hello. Hopefully, future iterations of the technology will take into account that even regular contacts wearers wear spectacles sometimes.

As for disk speeds, its NVMe-made PCIe solid-state drive achieved average max write speeds of 1.76 gigabytes per second, according to the ATTO benchmark. Its write rates weren't nearly as fast, but still solid at 579 MB/s.

HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2016)13:36
Surface Book with Performance Base (2016)16:15
Surface Book (Core i5, integrated graphics)13:54 / 3:20 (tablet only)
Apple MacBook Pro 2016 (13-inch, no Touch Bar)11:42
Surface Book (Core i7, discrete graphics)11:31 / 3:02 (tablet only)
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (13-inch, 2015)11:23
Apple MacBook Pro 2016 (15-inch)11:00
HP Spectre x360 15t10:17
Apple MacBook Pro 2016 (13-inch, Touch Bar)9:55
ASUS ZenBook 39:45
Apple MacBook (2016)8:45
Samsung Notebook 98:16
Microsoft Surface Pro 47:15
HP Spectre 137:07

HP rates the battery life at up to 15 hours and 15 minutes on the 13-inch model -- up from 12.5 hours last year. (The 15-inch version we're not reviewing today promises a max of 13 hours.) The company says that's thanks to both more power-efficient processors and a larger 57.8Wh battery, up from 56Wh last year.

Though I never hit that 15-hour mark, I did indeed get longer battery life than on last year's model: 13 hours and 36 minutes in Engadget's standard rundown test, which involves looping a video at fixed brightness. That's hours longer than with some laptops this size, like the 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro, and it's about two hours longer than on last year's x360.

Obviously, your mileage will vary, but HP says the machine will recharge consistently fast regardless. In particular, the company claims that its "Fast Charge" tech can return the system to a 90 percent charge in 90 minutes.

Configuration options

The new x360 starts at $1,150 and is available on HP's website and at Best Buy here in the US. For that base price you get a seventh-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. For $1,159 you get similar specs, except a Core i7 CPU instead of an i5. From there, you can step up to a $1,299 model that offers a Core i7 chip and doubles both the RAM and the storage (so: 16GB of memory with a 512GB SSD). The top-end model, which goes for $1,499, maxes out at 1TB of solid-state storage.

Either way, as mentioned earlier, the screen resolution tops out at 1080p. The graphics are the same across the board too: Intel's integrated HD 620 solution, though the i7 models have a higher Turbo Boost clock speed.

The competition

The Spectre x360 always has plenty of competition, with many of its rivals also being brand-new releases. The most direct comparison might be the Lenovo Yoga 910, another laptop with a 360-degree hinge, a $1,050 starting price, and similar specs (up to a seventh-gen Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD). Superficially, the biggest differences are that this has a larger 13.9-inch display (and therefore a slightly larger footprint) and it has a higher-res 3,840 x 2,160 screen option. (I've been testing the 910 alongside the Spectre x360, so you can expect to see a full review of it on Engadget soon.)

There's also Microsoft's refreshed Surface Book, which also can be used in various modes. (It has a detachable screen, though, not a 360-degree hinge.) I reviewed it recently and was generally fond of it, my major complaint being that it's relatively heavy, at 3.68 pounds. In exchange for that heft, at least, you get 16-hour battery life, fast performance and lots of ports. Think: two full-size USB 3.0 connections, a Mini DisplayPort, a headphone jack and a full-size SDXC reader.

Gallery: The HP Spectre x360 vs. the Lenovo Yoga 910 | 13 Photos

If you don't actually need that convertible design, Dell's XPS 13 ($800-plus) remains our favorite traditional laptop, even two years after it was released. Though it starts with just a Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM, Dell uses seventh-gen Intel CPUs throughout, with options running as high as i7. You can also go up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, with a 3,200 x 1,800 screen offered on higher-end models instead of a lower-res 1080p panel. Whichever configuration you choose, we're fans of the nearly bezel-less screen, comfortable keyboard and compact design.

I might normally have you look at Acer and VAIO too, but we weren't thrilled with ASUS's ultraportable ZenBook 3, and it seems VAIO hasn't updated its 13-inch "Z Flip" to the latest Intel processors.

That leaves Apple. Though the new 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn't have a 360-degree hinge or even a touchscreen, for that matter, it's similar to the Spectre x360 when it comes to weight, size, specs and starting price ($1,299 without the controversial Touch Bar). At 3.02 pounds, it's in the same ballpark, but the battery life is shorter. Though both systems have comfortable keyboards, Apple wins as far as the touchpad is concerned. It also has a sharper display and clearer audio. But not so fast: HP keeps the convenient Function buttons, as well as a full-size USB 3.0 port. The refreshed x360 might not be as well rounded as its predecessor, but I suspect it still ticks off more boxes for more people than the MacBook Pro.

Wrap-up

As we've just established, then, the updated Spectre x360 is one of several recent laptops that is now thinner and lighter and smaller. It was a similar story with the redesigned MacBook Pro that came out earlier this fall, as well as the new Lenovo Yoga 910. But while HP isn't the only PC brand to make concessions in the name of portability, that doesn't mean the company deserves a free pass. In exchange for that more compact design, we're left with fewer ports and a keyboard that feels more cramped than it used to. (HP also needs to get better at making touchpads, but that's neither here nor there.)

That's not to say there are no improvements -- Windows Hello is a treat, as are the faster SSD speeds, longer battery life and wide viewing angles. But if our main complaint about last year's model was that it was slightly heavy compared with the competition, it would seem that HP accepted some compromises in the name of shedding a few ounces.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Sours: https://www.engadget.com/2016-12-12-hp-spectre-x360-review-2016.html
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HP Spectre 13 (2016) review – like it or not, here’s the future

pic1

HP’s updated portfolio for 2016 seems promising but the device that really stands out is the HP Spectre, which the company claims is the world’s thinnest 13-inch laptop. And it’s hard to argue with that, to be honest. The HP Spectre amazes with extremely portable and more importantly, durable chassis. However, these key selling features come at a price and we don’t mean money. We are referring to the design limitations engineers over at HP probably faced putting together the Spectre 13.

Despite these limitations, however, the Spectre features all the hardware that’s needed for more than satisfying performance for your daily tasks, even if they are more CPU intensive. The ultra-thin machine rocks the latest Skylake Core i5 or Core i7 U processors paired with 8GB of LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM and up to 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD for speedy data read or transfer. As far as the display is concerned, it’s a Full HD IPS panel with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection on top, although we can’t really think of a reason to include this protection since the display isn’t touch-capable. Which, by the way, is a considerable drawback for users looking for diversity but in our opinion the decision to miss this feature is spot on. More on that later. Without further ado, let’s begin with the device at hand.

You can find all of the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2ds6uD9

Contents

Retail package

The final package contains the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord are included. Keep in mind, though, that the device is charged via USB-C cable and port. And the AC adapter seems smaller and more compact than what we are used to seeing, which is a plus.

img_0076

Design and construction

Probably the key selling point of this device is its looks and feel. The housing is made of fiberglass and aluminum blend but doesn’t feel like an ordinary high-end notebook. It’s something more. Every detail and every part of the ultrabook feels extra nice and exceptionally sturdy. We can think of only a few devices that can match the presented craftsmanship – Dell’s XPS 13, Lenovo’s Yoga 900S and probably the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360. All of which, however, fall into different price and market segments.

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Anyway, let’s start with the lid. It’s covered in carbon fiber plate with a smooth matte finish that’s rigid as hell. Even strong pressure doesn’t cause the plate to bend or cause ripples on the LCD screen. The new HP logo also stands out and looks astonishing. It’s simplistic, subjectively aggressive but stays true to the company’s aesthetics. If we may ask, where has this logo been for the last couple of years? Unfortunately, the downside of this design is the fingerprint magnet surface. Smudges stick easily and the same applies for the copper-colored spine on the back. Speaking of which, the hinges feel unlike anything we’ve seen before. HP calls them “Piston Hinges” and we can clearly see why. The design allows smooth and linear movement of the lid and opening the device with one hand is possible as well. The bottom piece is also made of carbon fiber featuring the same matte, silky-smooth finish with three silicone strips for extra stability and two vent openings near the back.

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The sides of the notebook are clean and simplistic with razor-sharp edges. To be honest, maybe too simple. With a thickness of just 10.4 mm – some smartphones are thicker – there isn’t much room left for the bare minimum of ports. So instead, the notebook skips all the connectors on the side and adopts just three USB-C 3.1 ports on the back – where the metal-like copper-colored part is – and, of course, the 3.5 mm audio jack. Leaving out the conventional USB ports is a bold move from HP and a bit rashly. The new USB Type-C standard hasn’t been adopted by the market and it won’t in the next couple of years. The good news is that you can get yourself a USB-C to normal USB adapter and you can use all three for charging. Sadly, we can’t be sure whether HP will include a USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter in the package. We sure hope they do or it’s going to be that MacBook USB-C outburst all over again.

As for the interior, it keeps the same appearance as the rest of the notebook. Carbon fiber with matte finish on top is used for the whole surface. It definitely feels nice and the keyboard is placed apart from the hinges probably to minimize the heat from the CPU during prolonged workload. Two grills for the loudspeakers are placed on both sides of the keyboard featuring interesting pattern. It definitely looks nice and the front-facing position is welcomed as well. Anyway, the keyboard experience is spotless and despite the incredibly thin profile of the ultrabook, the keys provide excellent feedback and compensating for the short travel. They feel stiff at the start but this eliminates that annoying “jiggly” sensation while providing comfortable and fast typing experience. The backlight is discreet with white LED and just enough to be useful in the dark without getting in the way. The glass trackpad goes along with the keyboard in terms of usability. It’s responsive, accurate and the surface is silky-smooth. Probably a bit shallow but it’s okay for a 13-inch device.

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The new Spectre is so lightweight at just 1.1 kg it’s comparable to some 12-inch devices while the overall build quality and usability of the input devices matches some regular-sized laptops in 14 and 15-inch form factors. It’s extremely well-built but all that weight reduction and thin profile come at a very big cost. The design limitations can’t allow any of the usual connectors like standard USB, HDMi, SD card reader or even a DC plug. Instead, you have to rely on the three USB-C connectors at the back for data transfer, connecting to an external display and charging. Moreover, some users might prefer other alternatives with touchscreens since the new Spectre had missed on that as well in order to keep the weight and thickness as low as possible. The latter in our opinion is a good choice because let’s face it, will you use the touchscreen if the device isn’t a hybrid? Probably not, but that’s just us. Also, the price is lower because the touchscreen costs more compared to the conventional IPS panel. All in all, the Spectre’s main key selling point is its design and portability and we can clearly see why. The missing connectivity options will be a deal-breaker for some, though.

Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

Any kind of manipulation requires a lot of patience and time. The bottom cover comes off really hard even with all the screws removed, which, by the way, are located under the silicone strips. We suggest using a thin plastic tool to crack open it because the surface is prone to damage. Also, be careful when prying up because the clips holding the plate are really tight.

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Storage upgrade options – M.2 SSD slot

Quite expectedly, the ultrabook uses an M.2 drive for storage. The unit ships with 256GB PCIe NVMe-enabled Samsung PM951 drive.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
2280 M.2 slotSamsung PM951 256GB PCIe NVMeUpgrade options
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RAM

The RAM chip is soldered to the motherboard upgrading it is impossible.

Other components

The Wi-Fi card is easily accessible and it’s right on the opposite side of the notebook across the M.2 drive.

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You can see that the 38Wh unit takes most of the free space inside the base unit.

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Cooling system

The cooling system consists of two really small fans and none of them is connected to the heat sink and heat pipe. The system relies on vents to push out a stream of hot air without making a solid connection to the CPU. This has proved to be a bad cooling solution and our tests in the full review confirm that. So in fact, the thermal throttling of the CPU isn’t caused by the thin design of the notebook but because of the cooling design.

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IF you require more instructions, you can visit our full disassembly article here.

Display quality

The notebook’s IPS display is listed as CMN1367 manufactured by CHI MEI and has Full HD (1920×1080) resolution in a 13.3-inch diagonal. This means that the pixel density of the screen is 166 ppi while the pixel pitch is 0.153 x 0.153 mm. It cam be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 50 cm.

micr-hp-spectre-laptop

Viewing angles are excellent from a 45-degree angle.

angles-hp-spectre-laptop

The display’s maximum brightness is exceptionally high in the middle – 370 cd/m2 and while the average score across the surface is considerably lower – 338 cd/m2, it’s still considered as pretty bright. The maximum deviation is a bit high, though – 18%. Color temperature appears to be a bit off – 7840K in the middle and 7760K as average, so colors will appear a bit colder and blue-ish. The optimal value is 6500K.

We’ve also gathered som information about the color deviation in the different parts of the screen. The maximum deviation exceeds what appears to be acceptable – 4.8 in the upper right corner of the display. Values above 4.0 are unwanted and can be easily spotted with a naked eye.

maxbrightness-hp-spectre-laptop

Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

So the display covers almost all of the sRGB colors – 96% and will be perfect for office work, browsing and multimedia purposes.

gamut-hp-spectre-laptop

Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut.

befcolors-hp-spectre-laptop

The 2.27 gamma curve almost aligns with the optimal one of 2.2 while the contrast ratio is 1040:1.

befgamma-hp-spectre-laptop

Gaming capabilities (Response time)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 22 ms.

resptimehp-spectre-laptop

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse Width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our specialized article on PWM.

Our oscilloscope recorded PWM below 60% brightness, which is around 95 cd/m2 but even then, the frequency of the emitted light is extremely high (25 kHz) and will probably affect users only with extra sensitive eyes. If you keep the slider above 60%, though, you don’t have to worry about the PWM.

pwm-hp-spectre-laptop

Conclusion

The notebook has many strong suits and the screen quality is definitely one of them. The panel provides vivid colors, high contrast and high maximum brightness that makes possible using the laptop outdoors. However, the reflective surface of the screen might pose a bit of a problem. The white point needs some adjusting but that’s not a drawback to be considered. Even the recorded PWM isn’t aggressive and it’s present only below 60% (95 cd/m2) making it perfect of everyday extended use.

Sound

The general quality of the loudspeakers is good but there are slight distortions in the low and high frequencies.

sound-hp-spectre-laptop

Specs sheet

The specs sheet provided below applies only for the unit we’ve reviewed and may differ from yours.

CPUIntel Core i7-6500U (2-core, 2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 4MB cache)
RAMup to 8GB (1x 8192MB) – LPDDR3, 1600 MHz
GPUIntel HD Graphics 520
HDD/SSD256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display13.3-inch – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, glossy
Optical drive
Connectivity2×2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
Features
  • 3x USB-C 3.1 (2x are Gen 2 and support Thunderbolt standard)
  • combo audio jack (microphone/headset)
  • Bang and Olufsen loudspeakers
Battery4-cell, 38Wh
Thickness10.4mm (0.41″)
Weight1.111 kg (2.45 lbs)

Software

The laptop came with pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) and that’s what we used for testing. But if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, you can download all the latest drivers from HP’s official support page.

Battery

The battery life is another thing that has been crippled due to the incredibly thin design. Yes, the notebook still features a small 13.3-inch display along with a ULV (ultra-low voltage) CPU rated at 15W TDP it seems that the folks over at HP couldn’t fit a larger battery pack so they settled for a 38Wh unit. So web browsing runtimes will be exceptionally low compared to other premium offerings on the market.

All the tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature switched on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

spectre-net

Way below average battery performance – 298 minutes (4 hours and 58 minutes).

Watching a movie

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

spectre-movie

Interestingly, when it comes to video playback the notebook performed pretty well – 408 minutes (6 hours and 48 minutes).

Gaming

We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

spectre-game

This test got the most of the battery since it’s the most demanding one – 137 (2 hours and 27 minutes).

CPU – Intel Core i7-6500U

Intel_Core_i7_logo1Intel Core i7-6500U is part of the Skylake generation of processors and it’s positioned in the the ULV lineup (ultra-low voltage), with a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. It has two cores that support Hyper-Threading technology, resulting in up to 4 threads. The chip is a direct successor to the Core i7-5500U Broadwell CPU – expecting slightly better performance with emphasis on the power efficiency features.

The CPU is clocked at 2.5 GHz and can go up to 3.1 GHz for one active core or 3.0 GHz for two active cores. Also, the silicon includes an Intel HD Graphics 520 iGPU that sports 24 Execution Units ticking at 300 MHz and can go up to 1.05 GHz. The whole SoC supports DDR4-2133/DDR3L-1600 memory in a dual-channel array. So the whole chip is rated at 15W TDP including the memory controller and the integrated graphics, thus making it suitable for 11-inch notebooks or bigger. It also supports the cTDP down feature and the OEM can lower the TDP to 7.5W.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this processor that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-6500u/

Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-6500U reached 5.406 million moves per second. By comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers ever, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU – Intel HD Graphics 520

intel_hd_graphicsIntel HD Graphics or also known as GT2 is an integrated graphics processor used in ULV (Ultra-low voltage) chips from intel that are part of the Skylake generation processors. The GT2 core boasts 24 Execution Units (EUs) that are clocked up to 1050 MHz, but the latter can be changed depending on the CPU that’s used in. The graphics processor supports up to DDR3L-1600 or DDR4-2133 RAM and uses two channels for reaching maximum bandwidth.

The revised GPU now supports H.265/HEVC hardware decoding but the most notable feature here is that the chip supports DisplayPort 1.2 while the HDMI support is limited to the older 1.4a. The GPU can support up to three displays simultaneously. The power consumption of the whole chip (along with the CPU and memory controller) is 15W.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-520/

Temperatures

This two-staged test doesn’t represent real-life situation since the general user can’t reach 100% CPU and GPU load for longer periods of time but it still a good way to assess the cooling system and the stability of the laptop in the long run.

We started off with 100% CPU load and the maximum Boost frequency immediately dropped down to 2.5 GHz, which is the base frequency of the Core i7-6500U. After a few minutes, the chip started throttling and clocked down to 2.0-2.3 GHz. This means that the chassis and the cooling design of the notebook don’t allow the full utilization of the processor, which was kind of expected given the ultra thin profile. Anyway, a really small number of the ultrabooks we’ve tested so far had throttling issues during the stress test. In fact, during normal use the CPU’s temperatures exceeded 50-60 °C and during load hit 96 °C.

spectre-cpu

On contrary to the first phase, the notebook behaved just as we expected. We turned on the GPU stress test to run alongside the CPU torture test and saw the processor dipping down to 1.0 GHz, which is absolutely normal for an ultrabook with a ULV processor without a discrete GPU. This is due to the CPU giving enough headroom for the GPU to perform at its full potential. And thus, the temperature of the CPU cores went down to around 70 °C.

spectre-gpu

We’ve also measured the outside temperatures during load and they seem to be pretty normal for an ultrabook under extreme conditions. The chassis got pretty hot near the hinges since the CPU is located there but the palm rest area remained cool throughout the test. Unfortunately, though, we felt the notebook becoming a bit warm during normal use on the bottom, again near the hinges, so if it’s sitting in your lap you may feel a slight discomfort.

temperatures-bottom

Verdict

If you are looking for a good alternative to the MacBook with more ports for your peripherals and a little bit more horsepower under the hood while still being exceptionally lightweight and thin, the HP Spectre 13 is an ideal choice. However, if you the design is your top priority, be prepared to make some sacrifices along the way. The most notable flaw would be the short browsing runtimes due to the small battery capacity. It seems that engineers at HP couldn’t cram up bigger unit. A great alternative – not so thin, though – would be the XPS 13, which is by far one of the best premium 13-inchers out there. It has its own drawbacks but succeeds where the Spectre 13 fails.

Firstly, the cooling system seems to struggle to keep the Intel Core i7-6500U CPU cooled enough for normal operation and thus fails to utilize the full performance of the chip. It’s around 15 to 25% slower than what you’d expect from this silicon. A considerably lower-priced Acer Aspire S 13, for example, squeezes out 25% better readings in some benchmark tests with the same chip. Unfortunately, the cooling system doesn’t only affect the clock speeds but also struggles to keep up the lower part of the chassis cooled even under normal load.

Secondly, the ports are only USB-C and some users may find it hard to pair all their peripherals and devices using the older generation of USBs. However, HP has included a normal USB dongle and two of the connectors support the Thunderbolt standard and deliver transfer speeds up to 10Gbps. So if needed, you can snatch one of the USB-C hubs so you don’t have to replace your old devices and monitors. And thirdly, there’s no way to open up the notebook by yourself without voiding the warranty. The bottom is held by strong adhesive and if you need to clean or upgrade it, you will have to deal with a professional service.

Despite the above-stated drawbacks, we strongly recommend this laptop if the screen quality, keyboard, touchpad and build quality are of great importance to you. The design is luxurious, appealing but the finish attracts some unwanted fingerprints and smudges. The keyboard is shallow but feels excellent with super-sweet feedback. And the screen will be suitable for your everyday tasks and for multimedia purposes as well. Also, no PWM from 60% brightness and above. But since 60% means around 95 cd/m2, you won’t probably go under that value unless you are in a really dark environment. It’s a glossy screen after all.

You can find all of the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2ds6uD9

Pros

  • Exceptionally good build quality with stealth piston hinge
  • Incredibly thin (10.4 mm) and light (1.1 kg)
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent screen quality
  • No PWM used above 60% (95 cd/m2) brightness
  • Two out of three USB-C connectors are Gen 2 and support the Thunderbolt standard
  • The M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD comes as a standard

Cons

  • Low browsing battery runtimes
  • Ineffective cooling system, gets warm under normal load
  • Can’t utilize the full potential of the CPU
  • Only USB Type-C ports
  • Extremely hard to access the storage
Sours: https://laptopmedia.com/review/hp-spectre-13-2016-review-like-it-or-not-heres-the-future/
Hp Spectre pro 13 teardown and Motherboard replacement (systemboard )

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The HP Spectre isn't the thinnest laptop in the world anymore, but it's still super portable and gorgeous to look at. And inside, the Spectre has gotten even more powerful, thanks to new 7th-Generation Intel Core i CPUs that seems to defy expectations of how much power you can get from a system just 0.41-inches thick.

With looks that remind me more of an Italian hypercar than a consumer laptop, the Spectre seems to be as much of a thoroughbred as a Ferrari or Lamborghini, despite a much more attainable starting price of $1,070. However, if you want the HP Spectre's haute couture good looks and potent performance, you'll also have to live with its weak battery life and lack of traditional USB ports.

Design: A truly premium experience

While the Spectre's slim, 0.41-inch-thick build may grab a lot of attention, its chassis would still look great even if the notebook were a little thicker. The combo of copper and charcoal (HP calls it "ash silver") go together like champagne and caviar, and HP's minimalist premium logo is sleek and subtle while still exuding a sense of class.

I've heard some people criticize the fingerprint-loving mirror finish on the Spectre's hinge, but you know what else attracts smudges? Jewelry, watches and cars. And if a few streaks are the price I have to pay for style, just call me Mr. Clean.

The Spectre's hinges had to be specially engineered to support a system this thin. They were inspired by the type of hinges you'd get on a piano, and while they may look a little strange at first, they offer the kind of stability and artistry that feels right at home on a premium machine like this. Really, the Spectre looks like it belongs in a museum as opposed to on a desk or stuffed in a bag. It's that pretty.

Measuring 12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches and weighing 2.45 pounds, the Spectre makes systems that would normally be considered slim seem fat. That includes superthin 2-in-1s like the Lenovo Yoga 910 (12.72 x 8.84 x 0.56 inches and 3.04 pounds) and our top notebook overall, the Dell XPS 13 (11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33-0.6 inches and 2.7 pounds). However, because of the Spectre's larger bezel, it has a slightly bigger footprint than the other two.

The one 13-inch system that's even thinner than the Spectre is Acer's Swift 7, which measures 12.8 x 9 x 0.39 inches and weights 2.46 pounds. However, as you'll see, the Swift made even more sacrifices than the HP to achieve its sleek dimensions.

MORE: Best Ultrabooks (Thin-and-Light Windows Laptops)

Keyboard and Touchpad: Deliciously snappy

Unlike many other superthin laptops, the Spectre doesn't compromise on typing comfort. In fact, the backlit keyboard on the Spectre is one of the best I've used, regardless of size. While 1.15mm of travel might sound a bit short, the keyboard's strong but not-too-stiff 65-gram actuation weight and crisp action were great. When I switched to other laptops, I often found myself longing for the Spectre's keyboard.

At 3.75 x 2.15 inches, the smooth, one-piece, glass touchpad has a plenty of room and a great feel when you're clicking it. Even better, the jumpiness issues we experienced on the original Spectre back in June 2016 have been completely resolved. This pad is completely accurate.

Display: Bold, bright and beautiful

The Spectre's 13-inch, full-HD screen can be summed up in three words: bold, bright and beautiful. When I watched a teaser for Disney's new animated short "Piper", the Spectre delighted, with great contrast between the birds' fluffy feathers and the sparkle of the ocean surf.

At 319 nits, the Spectre's brightness is among the best in its class. The 12-inch MacBook and Acer Swift 7 were in same league, at 327 and 319 nits, respectively, while Dell's XPS 13 trailed slightly behind, at 303 nits.

The Spectre also covered 106.4 percent of the sRGB color spectrum. That's nearly the same as showings by Apple's 12-inch MacBook (107 percent) and the Acer Swift 7 (106 nits), and better than the Dell XPS 13 (94 percent).

Finally, with a Delta-E of 6.93, the Spectre's color accuracy was a bit disappointing. The 12-inch Apple MacBook (1), Dell XPS 13 (1.3) and Lenovo Yoga 910 (0.76) all feature screens with much more exact colors. With a Delta-E of 4.13, Acer's Swift 7 was somewhere in between (numbers closer to 0 are better).

Audio: Surprisingly rich

Good sound is hard to find on a laptop, and despite having almost no room for speakers, the Spectre acquits itself pretty well. As with a lot of other notebooks, there's not as much bass as I'd like, and audio can sound a bit flat at times. But when I listened to Fred Falke's "Radio Days," the Spectre's Bang & Olufsen speakers did a surprisingly decent job re-creating "Shotgun" Tom Kelly's gravelly voice and the song's rich piano chords.

Heat: Hyperbarically cool

In an attempt to keep this superthin laptop from getting sweltering hot, HP designed a "hyperbaric" cooling chamber, which uses fans to create a pocket, suck in cool air from the vent on the bottom and release hot air from the vent on the machine's back. Unfortunately, if you do more than simple web surfing and light productivity, the bottom of the laptop gets uncomfortably warm.

If you're just streaming a movie, the fans may not turn on, but temps can still get high enough that using the system on your lap is a bad idea. After the machine streamed HD video from Hulu for 15 minutes, the bottom vent measured 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only slightly above our comfort threshold of 95 degrees. Thankfully, the touchpad and the space between the G and H keys were significantly cooler, at 86.5 and 92.5 degrees, respectively.

MORE: Best HP Laptops

And if you're doing much more than surfing the web or watching some Netflix, the Spectre's temperature can get even higher. A number of times while I was multitasking, the space between the two bottom vents measured over 120 degrees, which is when heat stops being annoying and starts getting a bit painful. And depending on how hot things get, the fan can become pretty loud, to the point that it sometimes becomes a nuisance.

Ports and Webcam: Boldly embracing our USB-C future

Because this laptop is so thin, there's room only for USB Type-C ports, which are located on the back of the system, instead of the traditional Type-A slot. But, as opposed to the single connection you get on Apple's 12-inch MacBook, HP provides three USB-C ports, one with USB 3.1 and two with Thunderbolt 3. That means you'll never face the dilemma of choosing between recharging your laptop and plugging in a peripheral.

All three ports can be used for charging, data transfer and video out. But if you want to hook up one or more 4K displays, you'll need to use one of the two ports that support Thunderbolt 3.

If you're looking for extras such as an SD card reader or HDMI port, you're out of luck. Aside from the three USB-C connectors, the only other port is a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack.

The Spectre also features an HD webcam flanked on each side by a mic, providing crisp audio for video calls and voice chat. Unfortunately, the 1280 x 720 images that the cam captures aren't quite as sharp. Even in our brightly lit office, photos from the webcam looked grainy and made my face appear blotchy and dark.

Performance

When it comes to performance, HP simply isn't willing to compromise. Unlike competitors such as the Acer Swift 7, which feature slower Intel Core i5 Y-series processors, the Spectre gets full Intel Core i U-series CPUs. And on our review unit, which sports a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7 chip with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the Spectre's performance was 40 percent better than the Swift's. That performance advantage can really make a difference for people who need to multitask or do a bit of light video editing.

On Geekbench 4, which measures overall performance, our Spectre config scored 7,888. This topped numbers from all of the notebook's competitors, including systems such as the Core i7-powered Dell XPS 13 (7,287) and the Acer Swift 7 (5,519).

The Spectre also blitzed our spreadsheet test, sorting 20,000 names and addresses in OpenOffice in just 3 minutes and 35 seconds, faster than both the XPS 13 (3:44) and the Acer Swift 7 (4:45).

When asked to duplicate a DVD's worth of mixed-media files, the Spectre's 256GB SSD performed admirably, too, completing the transfer in 17 seconds, for a rate of 299 MBps. So while the Apple MacBook and Dell XPs 13 were slightly faster, at 355.9 MBps and 339.31 MBps, the Swift 7 was way slower, with a rate of 115.66 MBps.

Graphics

While the Spectre isn't meant for serious gaming, you can get away with some light video editing or a bit of gaming on less demanding titles such as League of Legends. But you'll have to turn the settings down.

The notebook's Intel 620 HD graphics scored 889 on 3DMark's Fire Strike graphics test, a showing that's higher than that of an average ultraportable (645) and way better than the Acer Swift 7's score (582). However, at 927, the Core i7 Dell XPS 13 demonstrated a small lead in graphics power.

Battery Life

From the outset, the big concern with the Spectre's superthin design is that it leaves little room for batteries. Even though HP did some innovative engineering by splitting the battery into four separate sections, the Spectre lasted a disappointing 6 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi.

The average for ultraportable laptops is 2 hours longer, at 8:07, and even the Acer Swift 7 did an hour and 20 minutes better, with a time of 7:25. And that's before you get to other competitors, including the nontouch Dell XPS 13 (13:49), 12-inch Apple MacBook (9:38) and even Lenovo's Yoga 910 (10:36), which all offer significantly longer run times.

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Software and Warranty

The Spectre isn't bogged down with a lot of bloat, though it does have a trial of McAfee LiveSafe. HP's Windows 10 laptop features a handful of HP utilities, such as its Support Assistant app.

HP backs the Spectre with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. See how the company fared in our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brand ratings.

Configurations and Competitors

The Spectre starts at $1,070 for a configuration that has a 13.3-inch nontouch display, Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. There's also our $1,250 review configuration featuring a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

At any of these configurations, HP's laptop offers more value than Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook. Both of Apple's systems offer significantly better battery lives, and the 12-inch model has a sharper screen than the Spectre, but those machines offer lesser specs for the money. The 12-inch MacBook starts at $1,299 and comes with a slow-footed Core m3 CPU, only one port, and the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD the Spectre provides, all for $130 less. The 13-inch MacBook Air, which is likely to be updated or discontinued soon, offers a Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD, all for $1,199, but it has a mediocre 1440 x 900 resolution.

Dell's XPS 13 is the Spectre's main competitor, and with a starting price of $800, its barrier to entry is much lower too. While the Dell system might not be as thin, its bezel-free Infinity display still looks stunning, and it has a wider variety of ports, including one Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3. The XPS 13 also boasts significantly better battery life than the Spectre, lasting 9:11 for the Core i7 version and a whopping 13:49 for a nontouch Core i5 model. However, if you want an XPS 13 with similar performance to our Spectre review unit, you're looking at a price closer to $1,100.

Bottom Line

With world-class good looks, boundary-pushing thinness, a brilliant display and, now, more powerful 7th generation Intel Core i performance, the HP Spectre has a lot going for it. Unfortunately, those highlights are countered by weak battery life and a shortage of creature comforts like an SD card reader and a touch-enabled display.

This makes comparisons between the Spectre and high-maintenance hypercars hard to deny. Thankfully, unlike its road-going spirit animals, the Spectre is pretty reasonably priced, starting at just $1,070. The Dell XPS 13 remains our favorite notebook overall because of its long battery life, nearly bezel-free screen and strong port selection. However, the Spectre is still the undisputed leader in cool, and a strong choice for anyone who wants the ultimate in ultraportable style.

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HP Spectre Specs

BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
BrandHP
CPU2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
Company Websitewww.hp.com
Display Size13.3
Graphics CardIntel HD Graphics 620
Hard Drive Size256GB
Hard Drive Speedn/a
Hard Drive TypeSSD
Highest Available Resolution1920 x 1080
Native Resolution1920x1080
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Optical DriveNone
Ports (excluding USB)Headphone, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-C
RAM8GB
Size12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41-inches
Touchpad Size3.7 x 2.1-inches
USB Ports3
Video MemoryShared
Warranty/Supportstandard one-year warranty
Weight2.45 pounds
Wi-Fi802.11ac

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Sours: https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/hp-spectre

Spectre 2016 hp

You're currently reading our review of the 2016 version of this laptop. If you want to know about the latest model, read our 2017HP Spectre x360review now.

We’re not going to lie, when the first HP Spectre x360 debuted, we were awestruck. At the time, it seemed preposterous that a hybrid notebook would look this good, and yet it was a roaring triumph. 

Two years later, the HP Spectre x360 hasn’t ceased to impress. That includes the 2017 model, wherein we see a 13% thinner and 11% lighter design complemented by a battery that lasts 25% longer on a single charge. It’s rare to see, but the introduction of Kaby Lake to the HP Spectre x360 feels more like a fine print detail given the other improvements.

Between the amped up display and the endless number of overtime hours you can spend working on it without it dying on you, the HP Spectre x360 is a worthy contender to some of the best laptops on the market, even if it didn’t quite make the rankings itself.

However, it’s not a faultless overhaul. The HP Spectre x360 may look like an all-around upgrade you can’t resist, but there have been a few cut corners to keep the price within reason. Unfortunately, not even those compromises could prevent the higher starting price enacted.

Spec Sheet

CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U (dual core, 4MB cache, 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 16 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED-backlit multi-touch display
Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt Gen 3), 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1, headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac 2x2 WLAN and Bluetooth
Camera: 1080p HP TrueVision FHD IR Webcam
Weight: 2.85 pounds
Size: 12.03 x 8.58 x 0.54 inches (W x D x H)

Pricing and availability

Starting at $1,049 (£1,199, AU$2,299), the new Spectre x360 comes at a higher premium than previous generations, even if this US-only SKU does includes an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. That said, it’s pretty inexpensive to upgrade this machine. Our own Core i7-7500U, 512GB and 16GB of RAM configuration costs $1,299 (£1,499, AU$2,899).

 To get the same configuration on the Kaby Lake refreshed or expect to page significantly more with the two priced at $1,899 (£1,549, AU$2,999) and $1,349 (£1,749, AU$2,799), respectively. Of course, the 4K display panels on these two Ultrabooks also plays a part in the higher price tags.

HP also offers the Spectre x360 with a 4K screen and bundled pen for $1,499. In the UK and Australia, the Ultra HD-flavored hybrid is only available with 1TB of storage at a higher £1,899 premium, meanwhile this model is not yet available in Australia.

Design

We always felt like using the original Spectre x360 was more like handling a pizza paddle than a tablet, due to it being overly wide and heavy. Thankfully, HP has dramatically trimmed the new model’s chassis.

Measuring 13.8mm thin, it’s significantly thinner than the outgoing 0.63-inch thick model. The new design also trims the convertible’s annoyingly wide 12.79-inch body to a more sensible 12.03 inches. 

Both of these changes stem from the new micro edge display HP has implemented – more on that shortly.

That’s more than a half-inch reduction, and stacking it with the new hybrid’s 1.3kg weight makes the device much more comfortable to use in tablet mode. Another effect of the narrower body is that it gives the laptop a boxier shape, similar to the 3:2-aspect ratio and – however, this device still features a 16:9 screen.

Aside from the apparent shape change, HP has also re-engineered almost every aspect of the laptop. The geared hinges have been reshaped into a shorter – and wider – mechanism to coincide with the thinner design. Likewise, HP has reduced the keyboard travel from 1.5mm to 1.3mm, but we actually prefer this change thanks to a stiffer force curve on the keys.

Unfortunately, there have also been a few less favorable sacrifices made in the name of thinness. The SD card reader has kicked the can, as has the HDMI video-out, in exchange for two USB-C ports.

The good news is that those ports support Thunderbolt 3 for charging, dual 4K monitor support and 40Gbps data transfers. Plus, you still get one full-sized USB 3.1 port for legacy mice, thumb drives and other peripherals.

The glass-coated precision trackpad remains relatively unchanged, and that’s no bad thing. It’s still as responsive ever, but again we wished HP had gone with a narrower option that wasn’t so easy to trigger while typing.

Oh, and HP has applied its new sleek logo as well – if you really care about that sort of thing.

Last but not least, HP brought back its copper trim paint job to the 4K Spectre x360. Aside from giving the 13-inch hybrid a darker look, the dark brown on copper color scheme differentiates it from every other black or silver notebook in the world.

Popping off

Aside from the aesthetic changes, the updated Spectre x360 makes a huge splash with new micro edge display that reduces the bezels on the sides of the screen to a much squatter 0.54mm. Compared to the thick bars on the older model, HP has made a huge improvement, even if the Dell XPS 13 still comes out on top with 5.2mm bezels.

Unfortunately, the top and bottom bezels haven’t seen the same dramatic reduction, but at least HP is using the space above the screen to good use with a new TrueVision FHD webcam. Not only does the IR camera enable you to log in with your face through Windows Hello, it also provides you with a 12% wider field of view.

In addition to stretching from edge-to-edge (on the sides at least), the micro edge display is also features an optically bonded design, so the pixels look like they’re sitting right on top of the touch panel.

This also makes the screen a bit brighter, so you won’t have to constantly bump up the screen brightness to max – which we did often with the predecessor – and can save a bit of battery life to boot.

HP originally rolled out the Spectre x360 with a display resolution limited to only 1,920 x 1,080, or Full HD. However, in February HP added a few 4K variants that definitely add an extra splash of sharpness for watching locally stored and streamed Ultra HD movies and TV.

Personally, though, we would skip the 4K upgrade, especially since we were already impressed with the overall image quality of the original Spectre x360. 

Colors pop off the screen, and they’re accurate thanks to it being able to reproduce 70% of the color gamut. Viewing angles are also generous, even at extreme angles, allowing us to read parts of the screen even when just trying to admire the extreme thinness of the new display panel.

HP has also redesigned the audio on its flagship hybrid with quad-speaker system. Just above the keyboard you’ll find a new speaker grille, under which are two top-firing tweeters that go with another pair of bottom-facing speakers located on the laptop’s underside.

The idea behind the quad-speaker setup is that you’ll have always sound projected towards you, whether you’re using the device as a tablet or laptop. Secondly, it’s the first of HP’s quad-speaker equipped machines to have all four firing off at the same time.

Thanks to a new audio boost feature, the speakers work together to produce a louder and fuller sound profile. Highs come out clearly and bass is more present, but even with all these improvements a good pair of headphones still deliver a superior listening experience.

Prices - HP Spectre x360 (2016):▼

Current page: Introduction, value and design

Next PagePerformance, features and verdict

Kevin Lee is the Hardware and Roundups Editor at IGN Entertainment. Prior to IGN Entertainment, he worked at TechRadar.

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/hp-spectre-x360-13-2016
HP Spectre Review

HP Spectre review: The world's thinnest laptop is surprisingly powerful

While the 12-inch EliteBook Folio G1 is available with a 1080 or 4K touch screen (there's also an entry-level nontouch version), the much-buzzed-about 13-inch Spectre has only one display option, a 1,920x1,080 nontouch screen.

It's a trade-off, the company says, required to hit the Spectre's most noteworthy feature -- that it's the world's thinnest full-power laptop, at just 10.4mm thick. That's despite offering current-gen Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, rather than the lower-power Core M CPUs in the also-impressive HP EliteBook Folio G1 (and 12-inch Apple MacBook).

With a Core i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM and a decent 256GB SSD, the Spectre costs $1,249 in the US. A Core i5 version knocks the price down to $1,169. In the UK, configurations start at £1,149, and AU$2,299 in Australia. Whichever model you choose, just be ready to jump fully into the world of USB-C, the new multipurpose data, power and accessory connector. The Spectre has three USB-C ports along the back. All three can carry data or power, and the two center ones also act as Thunderbolt ports for high-speed data transfer.

HP Spectre

Price as reviewed$1,249
Display size/resolution13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080 screen
PC CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U
PC memory 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel HD Graphics 520
Storage256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Just how thin is the 10.4mm Spectre? Apple's aforementioned 12-inch MacBook and the recent Razer Blade Stealth are both around 13mm thick at their thickest parts, while a 13-inch Dell XPS 13 is about 15mm thick. Since the is tapered, it's slimmer in the front, thicker in the rear. Down at the 13mm-and-under level, the differences are more about bragging rights than anything else.

At 2.4 pounds (without its power cable), it's also very light, but not the lightest 13-inch laptop we've tested (that distinction may belong to the Lenovo LaVie). At the very bleeding edge of laptop design, you generally have to choose between thickness and weight, especially when trying to support full Core i-series processors. In this case, HP went for shaving millimeters from the chassis, at the expense of weight and features (such as touch and ports other than slim USB-C ones).

A bold color scheme also helps the Spectre stand out, ditching the usual silver and gray for a dark, smokey gray with gold accents. The entire hinge is a bright, jeweled gold, which just draws more attention to its unusual design (and which picks up fingerprints pretty easily). To avoid unnecessary bulk, the hinge has moved in from the very rear edge, and is instead inset by a tiny bit.

That hinge mechanism is aluminum, as is the laptop's lid, while the bottom panel is carbon fiber. HP says the mix of materials serves to give the Spectre the right balance between weight and stiffness, especially in the lid. After all, you don't want your very thin tech to feel flimsy and flex under the slightest touch.

Part of making the Spectre this thin was accomplished by flattening the battery into four separate cells that fit across much of the bottom footprint, rather than having to find space for one large battery. The heatsink has been moved off the CPU as well, and instead the Spectre uses small fans to pull air in through bottom vents and funnel it out through the rear. It's a version of a cooling scheme from Intel called hyperbaric cooling.

A surprisingly good keyboard

Compared with other very thin, very light laptops, such as the 12-inch MacBook, the keyboard on the HP Spectre really stands out as excellent. The keys are a little shallower than on a more full-size 13-inch laptop, such as HP's own Spectre x360, but this is still a standard island-style keyboard that doesn't have the learning curve of something like the very flat keys on the MacBook.

The glass touchpad is very good for a Windows laptop, but small enough that it makes you miss the ease of use that comes with a touchscreen in Windows 10. Apple may be able to get away with nontouch laptops, but easy, intuitive multitouch gestures for navigating and managing multiple apps and windows is something OS X (now MacOS) still has over Windows 10.

The only display option is a 1,920x1,080 full HD nontouch screen. This is an IPS display, which means it looks good from even extreme side angles, and the image was very bright and clear, if a little glossy.

Other slim laptops add higher resolutions and touch, and more options are always welcome. HP says it's to keep the lid as thin as possible, which includes a Gorilla Glass top layer over the display. Full HD resolution is perfectly fine for most 13-inch laptop users, and seeing 4K displays at this size is fun, but not always practical, especially considering the battery life cost of 4K.

Slim and speedy

If you've followed the ultrathin laptop market over the past couple of years, the specs inside the Spectre may come as a bit of a surprise -- this is a slim, premium laptop that doesn't rely on Intel's low-power Core M line of processors, as seen in products such as the 12-inch MacBook and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. Instead, the Spectre uses current-gen mainstream Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, and more importantly, HP says the efficient cooling allows the CPUs to run at their full speed, rather than being underclocked, which sometimes happens when you try to put too much processor into too small a space.

In our Core i7 test system, the Spectre performed on par with other recent slim Core i7 laptops, all of which use some variation on the low-voltage Core i7-6500U processor from Intel. There's more than enough power under the hood for multitasking, playing HD video, and productivity apps, even all at the same time.

But many of the thinnest laptops use Core M CPUs instead, and two recent examples, the latest 12-inch MacBook and HP's EliteBook Folio, both ran slower in our tests. That said, the second generation of the Core M found in those systems is also perfectly fine for everyday use, even as a work computer.

With all those battery cells crammed in, it's not surprising that the Spectre has decent (but not great) battery life, running for 7:10 in our streaming-video playback test. Apple again throws off the curve, running for about three hours longer, but the Spectre still beats systems such as the EliteBook Folio and Razer Blade Stealth.

Conclusion

There are a lot of close contenders, but HP's Spectre takes the prize for being the world's thinnest laptop at just 10.4mm thick. To get it this thin, there are a couple of compromises. You had better be on board with USB-C, because that's all you get, and then there's the single full HD/nontouch display.

But, if you'd pick thin over touch, then the HP Spectre is already one of my top choices. It's a strong performer as well as a head-turner, and people passing by regularly asked to take a closer look at its unique design. Even better, the combo of a Core i7 CPU and a decent 256GB SSD is close to a bargain at $1,249 in the US, which is even less than the slower 12-inch MacBook.

Multimedia multitasking test 3.0

Dell XPS 13 (Gold Edition)466Razer Blade Stealth515HP Spectre563HP EliteBook Folio G1590Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)702

Geekbench 3 (Multi-core)

Dell XPS 13 (Gold Edition)7,236HP Spectre7,003Razer Blade Stealth6,874HP EliteBook Folio G16,595Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)5,879

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)608HP Spectre430HP EliteBook Folio G1401Dell XPS 13 (Gold Edition)311Razer Blade Stealth192

System configurations

HP SpectreMicrosoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5HGz Intel Core i7-6500U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD
HP EliteBook Folio G1Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.2GHz Intel m7-6Y75; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 515; 256GB SSD
Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)Apple El Capitan OSX 10.11.4; 1.2GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 515; 512GB SSD
Razer Blade StealthMicrosoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5HGz Intel Core i7-6500U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1024MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD
Dell XPS 13 (Gold Edition)Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-6560U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Graphics 540; 256GB SSD
Sours: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/hp-spectre-review/

Similar news:

HP Spectre x360 (late 2016) review: HP's best hybrid hangs onto its last USB port

That's not a rhetorical question, it's the deciding factor when you consider the latest version of the HP Spectre x360.

Earlier this year, I called the 13-inch Spectre x360 one of my favorite laptops, because it didn't force me to compromise. It offered powerful processors, long battery life, a beautiful backflipping hybrid screen, a relatively thin aluminum frame plus enough ports to plug in two monitors, a mouse, keyboard, a USB thumb drive and my camera's SD card simultaneously.

Starting at $1,049 or AU$2,299 (UK availability TBD) the new, slightly revamped version of the HP Spectre x360 is just as good in almost every way -- but it's missing a lot of those ports. Like Apple with its new MacBook Pro, HP chose thinness over utility.

HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)

Price as reviewed$1,099 in the US, AU$2,299 in Australia
Display size/resolution13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 touch-display
PC CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
PC Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz
Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
false

Personally, I'd buy last year's laptop. The same point goes for last year's MacBook Pro if you need HDMI or USB-A ports. But I'm not you. Here's what you need to know about HP's new Spectre to make the right call.

Pros:

  • Build quality: These days, a strong metal frame is table stakes for a $1,000-plus laptop, but the Spectre is exceptional. This new one, now just 13.8mm thick, doesn't bend even a little when I try to twist it. The hinges feel smooth and keep the screen where I put it, and I love the way the chromed edges gleam.
  • Wrist rests: Previous versions of the Spectre x360 -- like many thin metal laptops -- had rough edges that dug into my wrists after a while. This new one had a subtle curve that smooths them out.
  • Keyboard: The backlit keyboard is slightly slimmer than the previous model, but still comfortable to type on. Plus, new dedicated Home, Page Up, Page Down and End buttons on the right make navigating documents easier.
  • Touchpad: A wide panel of smooth glass, which is easy to use. Not MacBook-level for two-finger scrolling or pinch-to-zoom, but better than many Windows laptops. The cursor doesn't jump around when typing.
  • Speakers: The Spectre x360 now has four Bang & Olufsen branded speakers (the audio company "consults" on the audio, but doesn't design or build the speakers), with two of them pointing upward so audio no longer gets muffled by my lap. They can sound a little flat, but they're loud and clear. I actually enjoyed listening to music on the Spectre, and I can't say that about many thin laptops.
  • Battery life: We actually got an extra 1 hour, 20 minutes of battery life in our streaming video test (over 9 hours in all), but the same 6 to 6.5 hours of real-world use as the previous model. That's great battery life either way, you'll only find a few machines with longer runtimes.
  • USB-C charging: The new Spectre x360 can charge from either of its USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right side, which meant I could use USB-C chargers from other companies as long as they provided enough power. Dell's USB-C external battery pack, for instance, gave me nearly three extra hours of juice.
  • Face login: While not quite as quick and foolproof as the fingerprint reader I loved on the HP Envy 13, it's pretty awesome how the Spectre lets me log into Windows just by looking at the screen. (You need to set it up yourself; here's how.)

Cons:

  • Ports: This is the big one. It's still got a single full-size USB-A 3.0 port on the left, so I was still able to use my thumbdrive, but adding monitors or an SD card reader was impossible without adapters that didn't come in the box. You'll probably want to invest in a Thunderbolt 3 docking station.
  • Fan noise: The Spectre x360 could always get a little noisy, but I'd swear this new model spins up the fan more often (pretty much any time I plug it in to charge). It can sound whiny and annoying.
  • Power button: It took weeks to train myself not to accidentally hit the power button and put the machine to sleep when picking it up. Not a fan of the placement.
  • No higher-res display options: Many laptops, like the previous Spectre x360, now offer higher-def 2,560x1,440 or 3,200x,1800-pixel resolution screens. Here, you're stuck with 1,920x1,080, and there's also no OLED screen option yet -- both signs of a true premium laptop.

Also worth noting:

  • Size and weight: It's thin, at 13.8mm and light at 2.85 pounds, but that's only 2.1mm thinner and a third of a pound lighter than the previous model (which wasn't really meaningful for me). It's still cumbersome when used as a tablet.
  • Screen: It has a crisp, colorful 1,920x1,080p IPS display, which gets bright and has reasonably wide viewing angles -- but that's to be expected from today's PCs. The new thinner bezels are nice to (not) look at, but also make it easier to accidentally touch the screen.
  • Speed: The new 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors might be why I got an extra hour of streaming video, but they don't seem to make much of a difference in speed. There was a slight bump in one benchmark, but none in day-to-day use. It'll be just as fast as any other slim Core i5 notebook sold in the last couple years, which is plenty for most purposes.
  • Price: The new Spectre x360 has a slightly higher starting price, but evens out because it also now comes with 8GB of memory by default. That's a good thing, because Windows 10 can easily consume 4GB with just a handful of apps running at the same time.

Welcome to the port-light future

If you're ready to live in a future where you don't need (many) traditional ports, the new Spectre x360 is a great pick. I just wish HP had added a few of these improvements (like USB-C charging and face login) to the old design. You know, the one I personally prefer.

I'm just not quite sure why HP felt the need to make the Spectre x360 slimmer, since the company's under-10mm Spectre 13 already fills that role. HP's old Spectre x360 stood out in a crowded thin laptop market because it didn't skimp on ports and extras, but the new one feels like just another face in the USB-C crowd.

Multimedia Multitasking test 3.0

Dell XPS 13 (touch)452HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)492HP Spectre x360 (early 2016)496Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED)590Microsoft Surface Book610

Geekbench 3 (Multi-Core)

Dell XPS 13 (touch)7878HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)7680Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED)7378Microsoft Surface Book7337HP Spectre x360 (early 2016)6439

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Microsoft Surface Book709HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)561HP Spectre x360 (early 2016)483Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED)482Dell XPS 13 (touch)475

System Configurations

HP Spectre x360 (late 2016)Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD
HP Spectre x360 (early 2016)Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD
Microsoft Surface BookMicrosoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6600U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M; 1TB SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED)Micorsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6600U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD
Dell XPS 13 (touch)Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD
Sours: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/hp-spectre-x360-late-2016-review/


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