The HP Specter Series is always cut with diamonds, corners, and brilliant colors. The Specter x360 15 (starting from $1,379.99/£1,599.00, $2,049.99/£1,899.00 tested) sets new standards with an updated design that offers more edge at the ports and the power button. The 2-in-1 also has separate graphics for a bit more creative power and comes in a nice new blue color. But the 4K screen isn’t as bright as I’d like it to be, especially when I’m working on graphics.
- Elegant blue color
- Great productivity performance
- Great audio
- Dim display
- Not user upgrade-able
- Very thick top bezel
HP always brings the best design to the Specter product line, and in this case, for the most part. Our review sample was delivered in the new “Poseidon Blue” color, although it is also available in more traditional “dark ash” silver. I like blue, which is a great but refreshing change in silver or black. Only the golden HP logo is blue on the cover. This shiny gold also surrounds the edge of the computer and the hinges, all angular like diamonds. Specter x360 is like someone’s jewel.
In the controversial selection, HP cut the two back corners creating a sharp and angular shape. But it is only for functional purposes: the power switch is in the left corner and one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports is in the right corner. I am not a fan of that. I think it takes Specter x360’s diamond cut edges to an extreme. But my colleagues disagreed. Some found it aesthetically pleasing, while others would only expect such an angle on gaming laptops. And the edges are a bit sharp, what you notice on a button or port.
Lifting the lid shows a 15.6-inch 4K screen. Although the side walls are quite thin and the bottom frame is smaller than last year’s model, according to reports, HP has thickened the top frame to accommodate thinner edges elsewhere. It stands out and I hope HP puts more space under the screen than above, it seems to have a massive border. That is more than enough space for an infrared camera that can be used for video chats and face detection.
The aluminum layer has the same blue hue and the touch panel also has light golden edges. The cover below the number button has a fingerprint sensor.
The 15-inch laptop seems to have a lot of ports. On the left side are the power connector, HDMI output, and headphone jack. In addition to the Thunderbolt 3 connector in the right corner, there is another Thunderbolt 3 connector, USB 3.1 Gen 2 type A and a microSD card slot.
With 4.6 kg and 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches, the Spectre x360 is worse and heavier than the competition. The Dell XPS 15, which is a case, measures 4.2 pounds and 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, and the Asus ZenBook Pro 15 also weighs 4.2 pounds but is more similar to the Specter x360 (14.4 x 9.9 x0.7 inches). Our smallest competitor is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme 4-pound (3.8 pounds, 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches).
HP Spectre x360 15 Specifications
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q|
|Memory||16 GB DDR4-2400|
|SSD||1 TB M.2 PCIe-NVMe|
|Display||15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS|
|Networking||Intel Wireless-AC 9560, Bluetooth 5|
|USB Ports||1x USB 3.1 Gen 22x Thunderbolt 3|
|Audio||Quad speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen|
|Camera||FHD, IR webcam|
|Power Adapter||135 W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches / 360.7 x 249 x 20.3 mm|
|Weight||4.6 pounds / 2.1 kg|
|Price (as configured)||$2,049.99 / £1,899.00|
Unfortunately, the spectre x360’s 15.6-inch 4K touch screen is dimmed. When I saw the 4K Tears of Steel open source movie, I could see everything, but I wanted to make the screen brighter. Although the measurement is very vivid, the bright purple and green tones in the laboratory seem less interesting due to the dark screen. The fact that the touch screen is so bright does not help if the brightness is not compensated. In other words, there is a remarkable glow.
The display on spectre x360, which had an average light meter of 247 nits, was lower than the average for a premium laptop (328 nits) and the XPS 15, ThinkPad X1 Extreme and ZenBook Pro 15.
That is, the display works well with colors. It covered more than 157 percent of the sRGB color range (118 percent) on average, although the XPS and ThinkPad X1 had even brighter 4K displays.
Our Spectre x360 review unit was configured with an Intel Core i7-8750H, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB NVMe PCIe SSD. This is more than enough for anyone who only uses it to browse, stream music or videos, edit text or spreadsheets.
In Geeketch 4.1, Specter x360 scored 21,889, which is not only well above the average of a premium laptop (13,338), but also for the XPS 15 and ZenBook. ThinkPad exceeded with 22,021 points.
Spectre x360 copied a file of 4.97 GB at 565.5 Mbps in 9 seconds. It is faster than average (542.8 Mbps), but slower than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme (1017 Mbps hard).
In a video editing experiment with Handbrake, the Spectre x360 took 10 minutes and 45 seconds to encode 4K video at 1080p. It is much faster than the average of a premium laptop (9:45 pm) but slower than the XPS 15 (10:12 am) and the ThinkPad X1 Extreme (10:03 am).
For the stress test, we ran the Cinebench R15 10 times in a loop. Its decrease was largely stable from its original points (1,059.6) to 1,038.1 (last round). However, between execution 3 and execution 4, there was a dive, where it fell below 1,000, but then stabilized for the stress test. During this test, the processor operated at an average clock speed of 3.1 GHz and an average temperature of 87.1 degrees Celsius (188.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Gaming and Graphics
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max Q is not exactly game power. However, you can play some games in the middle or low mode. However, Spectre x360 is said to be a creative machine, so it is used more to enhance photos or video editing.
In 3DMark Fire Strike, Spectre x360 achieved a score of 6,639, slightly above average (3,540, although not all premium laptops have separate GPU lower scores) and competition except XPS 15 (6,780).
To test it for gaming, I used the benchmark we often use for low-budget gaming laptops: the rise of the Tomb Raider at high presets with 1080p resolution (FHD) with SMAA leveling and exclusive full-scale use, and the Spectre x360 performed at 40.6 frames per second.
Keyboard, Touchpad, and Stylus
With 1.5 mm of mobile and approximately 71 grams of force needed to work, the keys are not as attractive as I would like, but I never reached the bottom. In the 10fastfingers.com writing test, I achieved 108 words per minute with a 2% error rate. Both measures are in my usual range.
The 4.7 x 2.3-inch touch panel is much more spacious, but not always as sensitive as I would like. In particular, it did not always respond to my gestures, including the four-finger stripe up to see the timeline. It worked more often with simpler gestures, although I had one when even two-finger scrolling did not work as expected. Spectre x360 uses Synaptics drivers instead of Microsoft Windows Precision drivers, which seem to run smoothly every time. I wish HP had chosen the Microsoft option.
Spectre has a pen that works with Windows ink. It’s nice enough, and it has two programmable buttons (adaptable through the HP pen control), although I hope it’s the end of the eraser with a pencil, like Microsoft’s surface. Despite the pressure sensitivity of 1,028 degrees (interpolated at 4096 degrees Celsius), I still had problems with some of the lighter contacts and very rarely some lags.
HP’s partnership with Bang & Olufsen once again provided great speakers. When I heard “Get Lucky” from Daft Punk at Spectre x360, the synths, guitars, and vocals were clear and strong. Even the dance bass line of the song was stronger than most laptops, though I couldn’t turn it up as often as I wanted with the HP Audio Control app.
This application also has preset for different types of music and environments, but I have noticed that most of them distort the music. I recommend leaving him alone.
The frequency is sufficient for a working day. In our battery test, which constantly surfs the web over Wi-Fi, streaming videos, and drives OpenGL reference points (150 stitches each with screen brightness), Spectre x360 took 8 hours and 9 minutes. It’s 20 minutes less than average but bigger than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and ZenBook Pro. Only the XPS 15, running at 8:28 and the 4K display at higher resolution, lasted longer.
Webcam and Privacy Switch
Ah, a rare FHD webcam. The camera on the Spectre x360 is beautiful and sharp. In the picture at my desk, I could see the hair in my head even though the lights behind me were off. It also has an accurate color because it captures the exact blue of my eyes.
On the right side of the case is the camera power off switch. It works like a light switch: just turn it on and the camera will turn off. There is no power and it will be removed from Device Manager. The webcam just doesn’t work. It’s a good trick, though I suspect that some people still want the visual convenience of seeing something that obstructs the lens, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme and some other ThinkPad devices.
After 15 minutes of streaming HD video from YouTube, the keyboard (between the G and H keys) measured 34.5 degrees Celsius, the touch panel 28 degrees Celsius and the lowest point temperature was measured at 38.2. Celsius degrees (100.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Software and Warranty
HP does not overload the Spectre x360 with unnecessary software. HP JumpStart is a basic guide for newcomers and contains tips. However, you may want to remove these bloatware Softwares: Netflix and McAfee Security.
It also has all the standard features of Windows 10, such as Drawboard PDF, Fitbit Coach, Phototastic Collage and two separate versions of Candy Crush.
HP offers a one-year warranty for the Spectre x360.
Our Spectre x360 review costs $2,049.99 with Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti Max-Q and 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD with blue “Poseidon” At the time of this writing, HP will list the color for free as a “temporary” upgrade, so HP may charge a higher fee if you soon want something other than “Dark Ash Silver.”
The base model is a $1,479.99 preset option with Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and replaces the smaller Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card with 1050 Ti Max-Q (2GB GDDR5).
In the middle, I was able to reduce the model I tested to 8GB RAM to save $120 or reduce PCIe M.2 SSD storage. The most expensive option is identical to the one you tried but has 2 TB of storage for an additional $400.
The recently developed by HP Spectre x360 is a beautiful powerhouse. The angled look is controversial, but at least somewhat functional. The laptop offers a strong productivity ratio, and the GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q provides some graphics and even lightweight games.
If you are looking for a better screen or a lighter device, the Dell XPS 15 or Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme may be better for your needs. Both, however, are ordinary shells. So, if you are looking for a 2-in-1 functionality, the Spectre x360 is solid, but a dim option.