HP designed the HP Spectre x360 in close consultation with Microsoft, regardless of the presence of this Surface and the, uh, Xbox 360. The result, as everyone who I showed it to noted, is a notably clean Windows install. Very little bloatware, just a smattering of pointless HP user support trash and an inevitable trial installation of McAfee to mess up your initial attempts at getting on a network. The major selling point of this machine, with regards to form-factor, is the way the display folds straight back, placing the Spectre into tablet mode. This disables the keyboard and additionally explains why the energy button is regarding the part, along with a small Windows button too. This high end variation rocks a 2.4GHz i7 CPU and 8GB of RAM, which it uses to drive a 2560×1440 display with 10-point touch. That might not be full-on Apple Retina quantities of resolution, but it’s near. The necessarily glass panel feels costly, but attracts lots of greasy fingerprints. Otherwise, color, brightness and viewing angle from the IPS display are all excellent.
The 1.59cm-thick chassis itself is machined from a single block of aluminum, which is pretty much de rigueur nowadays. The keyboard feels good to work on, but there is a quirk: in a brightly lit space, if you switch on the keyboard backlight, the white-on-silver keys are slightly hard to read. However, if you switch the backlight o, the F5 key (which is also the backlight toggle) lights up, which may be distracting. Up to they would spoil the bling, I tend to think black tips with white letters could have been an improved option… though the resemblance to a MacBook Pro might then have been too hard to ignore. Performance, given this is an i7, is suitably impressive. Actually, it screams literally, with audible fan noise from a generous exhaust port on the left-hand edge. Staying power is another feature, with HP claiming over 12 hours between charges of the 56.5 Watt-hour battery. That appears possible for people tapping out a bestseller or idly flipping through presentation slides, but as soon as you start using the Spectre as meant – an all-inone entertainment unit – you’ll more likely see 9-10 hours from a charge. Nevertheless extremely good.
It will be interesting to do some follow-up research and see how numerous owners of this thing actually end up making use of the “four modes” HP excitedly shows o in the adverts. The difference between “tent mode” (standing on two ends, display-out with hinge towards the top) and “stand mode” (display out, keyboard down on table) appears, uh, subtle. And if I’d myself spent $2400 on this I’m not certain how willing I’d be to have the keyboard just dragging around on hard surfaces on a regular basis with damage potential high. Of course, at over 13-inches in the diagonal and 1.48kg in hand, the HP Spectre x360 produces a rather unwieldy tablet. However, it’s that in normal with almost all Windows-based convertibles. A collection of proper ports, including three USB and full-sized display port and HDMI, is welcome, but like so many slim notebooks you’ll need to bust down a USBto- Ethernet dongle to get online at work. Still, most people uses the 802.11ac Wi-Fi of course. Whilst the convertible capabilities of the Spectre are welcome enough, really it’s this device’s ability to be a solid workhorse that offers it most of its markings. It’s fast, well-built, has an excellent display and great battery life. Maybe a black one would have been good, however you can’t have all of it, right?
HP Spectre x360 Specifications
2.4Ghz i7-5500U • 8GB RAM • 512GB SSD • 13.3” 2560×1440 10-point touchscreen • reversing-hinge for tablet mode • Windows 8.1 w/ tablet mode, 1.48kg