Review: HP Spectre X360
HP’s Spectre was one of the surprise laptops from last year, and a return for HP to the quality laptop space. Can the latest generation of Spectre keep the quality up, or does it fade away like the ghost of its name?
If you were curious about HP’s 2014 Spectre but wondered what the computer would be like with a more up-to-date processor in it, listen up because it has arrived.
This is the Spectre X360, a cleaner, slicker, and more refreshed version of last year’s model, with a new chip, better WiFi, and a body that looks like it was made from one piece of aluminium, and that’s because it was.
While the first Spectre rocked a two-part body in metal, the new Spectre X360 is all aluminium and looks like it was made from one block, with silver everywhere, bringing to mind the sort of style Apple goes for in its MacBook Pro machines, but with an HP filter applied.
Under this body you’ll find fairly new processors, with a fifth-generation dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, the 5500U clocked at 2.4GHz, which is paired with 8GB RAM and a whopping 512GB solid-state drive. Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 comes with the Spectre X360 out of the box, and this takes up enough to leave you with around 430GB of space when it’s all ready for you to start playing.
Connection options are relatively normal for an Ultrabook, of which this technically would be classed as, offering up three USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, one Mini-DisplayPort, and the standard 3.5.mm headset jack that lets you plug in a pair of headphones or a pair of headphones with a microphone attached. An SD card reader is also included.
Wireless connections are also here, useful since there is no wired networking port found here, and HP has provided 802.11ac WiFi (backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n networking), as well as Bluetooth 4.0.
Using the computer, you’ll find a 13.3 inch touchscreen display capable of showing the Quad HD resolution of 2560×1440.
A full-size backlit keyboard can be found here, as can a very wide trackpad measuring 5.9 inches (15cm). Aside for the keyboard, three physical buttons can be found on the laptop, with the power button on the left edge, and Windows button and volume rocker on the right edge.
HP includes a soft pouch for the Spectre X360 in the box, though a secondary leather case with magnetic fold-over clip is also available (below).
For the first time in a long time, HP had made something that almost tempted our hands and wallets, and could have done the same for you or anyone else interested in a high class computer. It was well built, easy on the eyes, comfortable to carry, and featured one of the nicest displays we’d ever seen on a laptop, not just on something made by HP.
This year, the update of that machine is the Spectre X360, which sees aspects of the original upgraded, refreshed, and rebuilt, starting with the body which is now totally silver and a wee bit thinner than the first Spectre.
That first gen model was all metal, and HP continues that concept this time around, and we definitely like what the company is doing, pulling off a cleaner look with aluminium in most places, though the keyboard feels more like it’s plastic designed to blend in with the bare silver look.
One thing that has changed is the hinge, and no longer is there a large strip in the middle of the top connecting the display to the main computer section, replaced with two hinges on the left and right that hold the screen with minimal wobble when you’re moving and allow the computer to work as a hybrid machine of sorts.
It’s not the same style of tablet-laptop hybrid conversion you see on machines that separate, and here the hinge can allow for what appears to be a 360 degree rotation, meaning the screen will not just lie flat, but it can be pushed past the flat point to lie flat against the back of the keyboard section.
In this mode, the Spectre X360 is essentially a 13 inch tablet, which is quite a big tablet when you pick it up, though it can also work in other modes, such as lying with the keyboard faced down for a screen faced at you, as well as in a tent-style which keeps the laptop propped up with the screen again facing you, but the keyboard standing up, almost as if the laptop stood up like an “A” on a surface.
We’ve seen this style of design before in laptops, not just from HP, but from others, and it’s familiar and workable, though most will likely use the Spectre as a laptop, because that’s where it works best.
When you do get to using it, you’ll find a decent little keyboard with a fairly shallow travel, but a still fairly comfortable arrangement with just enough margins to allow a typist familiar with a full-size keyboard to get accommodated quite quickly.
Few errors were picked up as we used this keyboard, and there’s a good firm click to each key, making this a great keyboard to type one.
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