Review of the HP Spectre x360 13: The Best Spectre Ever Built

In my perspective, HP is certainly (and finally) on the right route with its consumer PC notebook market. Now, I make this statement based on two recent high-profile examples.

HP is one such company, having unveiled four new Chromebook models in the last six months alone, including the reasonably priced Chromebook 14, which starts at Rs 22,980. Two, HP has listened to its irate consumers and upgraded the Spectre and Envy models with accurate touchpads.

With these enhancements in mind, I believe HP’s new portfolio has the potential to greatly boost the company’s performance in the Indian laptop market.

HP began providing premium convertible laptops under the Spectre name in late 2013. The American multinational has recently been actively changing its models to keep them lean and current.

This year alone, the Spectre x360 has undergone two revisions—one with a dramatic cosmetic overhaul and another with 4G LTE connectivity.

Our comments on the former may be found here. The most current one, named the Spectre x360 13, has a noticeable reduction in the top and bottom bezels of the laptop. Additionally, it features an Intel Ice Lake U (10-nanometer) processor and a 4G LTE connectivity. Let’s have a look at how it performs at the Digit Test Centre.

Performance

The HP Spectre x360 13 is one of the first devices in India to include Intel’s 10th Generation Core i7 (Ice Lake U) CPU, which is a 10-nanometer quad-core processor with a maximum turbo boost speed of 3.90GHz. Our review system was equipped with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

It was powered by an Intel Optane H10 CPU, which blends Optane standard technology with quad-level cell NAND for faster solid-state storage. Intel’s new integrated Iris Plus GPU handled graphics, which Intel says boosts performance by up to twofold.

Our CPU and GPU benchmark tests revealed that the Spectre x360 13 assessment sample performed wonderfully. Several of its GPU benchmark scores outperformed those of the Lenovo IdeaPad C340, a mid-range convertible laptop equipped with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX230 graphics card.

The review device earned 4295 points on PCMark 8’s Accelerated Creative test, about 500 points more than its own score earlier this year. The review unit earned 2605 and 13263 points, respectively, in 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Cloud Gate tests.

These are the greatest results we’ve seen this year from a convertible laptop. Despite the newest Intel technological advancements, the Spectre x360 13 was unable to surpass the substantially less expensive IdeaPad C340 in our storage performance test.

In our everyday testing, the Spectre x360 13 worked excellently. The laptop effortlessly managed many instances of popular applications such as Word, Excel, iTunes, File Explorer, Chrome, and WhatsApp for PC across multiple virtual desktops.

It was also a snap to switch between different programmes, with no stuttering or lag in animation. I had no difficulty editing and bulk processing large JPEG and PNG files. Regrettably, during the review device’s brief stay at our testing centre, I was unable to play any video games on it.

I can vouch to the HP Spectre x360 13’s seamless functioning in everyday home and work settings based on my experience with the device. On the other hand, the laptop’s single CPU fan might have been a little quieter.

Although the noise was not loud enough to be distracting when working in a quiet conference room, it grabbed my attention whenever I opened a new application or increased disc activity on the laptop. To summarise, the HP Spectre x360 13 is an outstanding laptop for general computing, whether for work or play.

4G LTE connectivity

HP’s Spectre x360 acquired 4G LTE connectivity in late July of this year, following a small model upgrade. I’m happy to inform that the functionality is retained in the new ’13’ model. Connecting is similar to how it works on a smartphone.

A built-in Intel XMM 7560 1Gbps 4G LTE modem is included with the notebook. On the left side of the device is a nano-SIM card slot for physical SIM authentication, as well as dual eSIM compatibility in some regions. As long as the SIM card does not have a PIN lock, the laptop should work with the majority of Indian carriers.

Even though the review unit was unlocked, I was unable to activate a Jio SIM card, but I was able to activate an Airtel SIM card in a couple of minutes.

It was as simple as inserting the nanoSIM card and configuring a SIM profile in Windows Settings (with the right Access Point Name). Under Windows Settings, I was able to modify features such as metered downloads. The HP Spectre x360 13’s 4G LTE connectivity is unquestionably a useful feature for frequent travellers.

Battery

The Spectre x360 13’s quad-cell 60Wh lithium-ion polymer battery is somewhat smaller than the unit in the previous edition. On our standard battery benchmark test, the review unit lasted 4 hours and 57 minutes.

That is not just a new record for HP’s Spectre series in our books, but also the greatest score we’ve seen this year in the convertible laptop category. The Asus ZenBook Flip 13 (UX362) is the only alternative laptop in the same price range as the new 13. It has a battery life of 4 hours and 53 minutes.

Despite the fact that it features an Intel 10th Generation CPU and a 1W low-power LCD display, the Spectre x360 13 is not labelled as an Intel Project Athena computer, making 9+ hours of web surfing on batteries implausible.

During our daily testing, the review gadget performed excellently on battery power, but it didn’t blow us away. On one instance, the battery level fell from 92% to 15% in less than five hours.

Throughout the cycle, the laptop was subjected to heavy surfing, intermittent video playing, 4G usage (for approximately half an hour), and occasional image editing at maximum screen brightness.

Another time, the battery level decreased from 100% to 83% in just an hour and a half. Throughout the run, the screen brightness was set to 70%, and the laptop was used for casual surfing. In other words, you may expect up to six or perhaps seven hours of continuous running on battery power.

This will not be able to compete with an Apple MacBook Air, but it will get close. It took around 1 hour and 15 minutes to charge the review unit from 17% to 82 percent.

Audio, video, and input/output (IO)

The HP Spectre x360 13 features a 13.3-inch HP BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen display with Full HD resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass NBT protection.

According to HP, certain versions’ screens can show 100% sRGB colours and have a maximum brightness of 400 nits. Our testing device lacked HP’s SureView Gen 3 technology, which ensures that the contents of the display are covered from side angles for increased security and privacy.

In my experience, the colours on the screen were actually vibrant without being too saturated. Even in well-lit areas, I regularly found myself dimming the lights (to approximately 60 percent or 70 percent ).

The review unit included an HP Active Pen pen, which worked well for sketching and annotating in tablet mode with the laptop’s touchscreen.

Palm rejection was precise, and the stylus gave adequate control when used with integrated Windows applications like as Microsoft OneNote and 3D Paint. The Spectre is lacking one feature: a specific parking space for the pen that comes bundled.

This means that each time you want to highlight something on the screen, you’ll have to get your leather messenger’s bag out of your bag. Apart from that, the laptop features an incredible viewing angle.

Despite the big Bang & Olufsen logo above the keyboard, the Spectre x360 13’s bottom-firing speaker grille produces an underwhelming sound.

There is sufficient volume for video conferencing but insufficient detail for active music listening in a small conference room. Lows, mids, and highs fall flat on electropop tunes like The Weeknd’s Starboy. If you’re like portable music, it’s best to invest in a good pair of headphones or an external Bluetooth speaker.

With a thickness of just under 17 mm, the Spectre x360 13 is limited in terms of connectivity options. On the left side, we find a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-A 3.1 port with a flap.

This USB port is compatible with HP’s Sleep and Charge technology, which enables you to charge smaller devices like as telephones while the computer is powered off. On the right side, there are two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports with Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, and Power Delivery 3.0 connection (one on the faceted edge to prevent cable intrusion).

Additionally, there is a microSD card slot and a ‘Webcam Kill Switch,’ which disables the webcam electronically for enhanced privacy. While this is an intriguing idea, I believe Lenovo’s more evident and straightforward ThinkShutter approach will more successfully persuade people.

Despite the Spectre x360 13’s “world’s thinnest” 2.2mm infrared camera, our review unit had a tiny square fingerprint reader directly below the keyboard. Nonetheless, it worked swiftly for Windows Hello sign-ins.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Typing on the review unit was a joy. The Spectre x360 13’s typing experience is equivalent to that of a high-end Lenovo ThinkPad X-series model, which is saying something. To begin, HP modified the keycaps to include a shallow yet robust bowl.

This significantly simplifies the process of discovering keys on the laptop’s keyboard. Because HP keys are frequently flat, this is a first for the Spectre. Additionally, the keys have the ideal amount of travel and resistance, which makes writing lengthy emails and documents a snap.

The keycaps are a touch tiny for those with large hands, and the extra column on the right (although useful for text manipulation) offsets the whole keyboard by a few critical millimetres.

Additionally, if you’re concentrating on the screen, the keyboard backlight’s automatic timeout feature may be irritating. Despite these minor flaws, the Spectre x360 13 gives the best typing experience of any HP laptop I’ve used thus far.

The world rejoices because HP has finally listened to its customers! Unlike previous Spectre and Envy models, the Spectre x360 13 features a genuine Windows 10-compatible precision touchpad.

This suggests that the pointer movement is linear, and that multiple-finger taps and swipes are supported by default. Touchpad settings may be modified directly from Windows Settings, without the requirement for a third-party driver or programme.

The review device’s touchpad surface was smooth, and the click buttons beneath it were easy to push. On the other hand, the touchpad surface might have been raised and made broader.

Construct and Architect

The redesigned 2019 Spectre x360, which we reviewed earlier this year, radiated personality and refinement, and the Spectre x360 13 is no different.

It’s essentially the same model, but in a more compact form with Intel’s newest 10th Generation CPU and significantly thinner bezels. Indeed, HP says in its reviewer’s guide that the new Spectre is the “world’s smallest convertible,” boasting a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio.

On the opposite side, the Spectre keeps the same angular design with faceted “gem-cut” edges. These borders house the power button and one of the two USB-C ports. The body is made entirely of CNC-machined aluminium and has dual chamfers on all four sides.

As a result, you receive a compact, lightweight convertible laptop that is certain to attract the attention of your business class seatmates in mid-flight. Simply remember to clean the top cover periodically since it is a dirt magnet.

When the lid is opened with two hands, a glossy 13.3-inch touchscreen panel with razor-thin black bezels is revealed. HP has decreased the height of the top bezel on this model from 17.35mm to an astonishing 5.85mm.

HP had to switch from a 6mm 88-degree infrared camera to a significantly smaller but narrower 2.2mm 76-degree infrared sensor to accomplish this engineering feat. Additionally, the bottom bezel is substantially narrower.

When the laptop is opened, the two little palm rests occupy the most apparent body area. In my opinion, the HP Spectre x360 13 is an excellent piece of equipment that looks as well as it works.

Verdict

To begin, earlier this year’s HP Spectre x360 was a really powerful computer. It bore several physical similarities to the original Spectre design, and its most glaring flaw was the absence of a precision touchpad. However, the newly introduced HP Spectre x360 13 solves many of these shortcomings while also offering a more compact form factor.

The HP Spectre x360 13 is now substantially smaller without sacrificing much in terms of ergonomics. Additionally, the crunching power is comparable to that of other high-end commercial processors.

Except for a few small flaws, such as the absence of a parking garage for the included pen, uninspiring music, and excessive fan noise, the HP Spectre x360 13 is the best Spectre ever manufactured. If you’re willing to pay over Rs 2 lakh, this is an excellent premium convertible laptop.

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