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HP x2 Spectre 2017 – rises above the surface (review)
4.8Overall Score

Price (RRP): $From $2299 to $3499
Manufacturer: HP

HP x2 Spectre (2017) is a premium Windows 10 tablet/detachable keyboard – a two-in-one style made popular by Microsoft’s Surface Pro that raises the bar in some areas.

Unlike the Surface it has 2 x USB-C, Gen 1 (5Gbps, DisplayPort, upstream/downstream charge) ports and has bundled the keyboard and active stylus.

The review model was HP Spectre x2, an Intel Kaby Lake i5-7260U with 8GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD and a 12.3” 3K2K (referring to the 3:2 ratio, 3000 x 2000 resolution) screen at $2,299. It also comes as a i7-7560U with 8 or 16GB RAM, 256/512GB SSD and prices at $2,499 and $3,299 respectively.

First impressions – love the dark ash and silver highlights

  • The tablet
  • A leather sleeve/pouch
  • HP Active Pen (AAAA battery included)
  • HP metal detachable keyboard/cover
  • Fast Charger 5V-9V/3A, 10-12V/5A, 19/4.33A, 20V/3.25A, total 65W
  • Adaptor to convert to a wall charger or power cord for inline charger
  • USB-C to USB-A female adaptor

The first impression is the delight that the box has the whole kit – keyboard, active stylus, USB-C adaptor and a leather sleeve.

It is in a nice Dark Ash with a copper u-shaped kickstand, gold highlights, and a matching metal faced keyboard and pen.

Specifications. HP x2 Spectre Core i5-7260U

Display 12.3”, 3000 x 2000, IPS WLED (included White LED plus RGB)

Edge-to-edge glass

Processor Intel Core i5-7260U, 2.2/3.4GHz, 2 core/4 thread
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
RAM 8GB-LPDDR3-1866 (soldered in – not user upgradable
SSD 256GB, PCIe, NVMe, M.2
microSD Yes (size unspecified but at least 128GB)
Wireless Intel 8265, AC, 2×2, MU-MIMO, Wi-Di
Bluetooth 4.2
Keyboard Full size, chiclet, 1.5mm/60g throw

Oversize glass touchpad with up to four finger gestures

Stylus HP 2 button active (battery operated) stylus – no details available
Audio 2 x Bang & Olufsen, front-firing speakers with HP Audio Boost
Ports 2 x USB-C, Gen 1, 5Gbps, DisplayPort 1.2
Interchangeable – power delivery upstream (charging tablet) and downstream (charges devices)
1 x 3.5mm combo audio
1 x microSD
POGO Pins for keyboard power and data
Dimensions 29.39 x 20.71 x 0.77 cm (tablet); 29.39 x 20.71 x 1.32 cm (tablet and keyboard)
Weight 0.76 kg (tablet); 1.13 kg (tablet and keyboard)
Battery 41.58 WHr
Claimed up to 8 hours (continuous FHD video playback, 150 nits brightness, system audio level at 50%)
Charger 65W – 5V-9V/3A, 10-12V/5A, 19/4.33A, 20V/3.25A
Webcam Front: IR for Windows Hello and 5MP camera and dual array mics
Rear: 13MP autofocus
OS Windows 10 Home
HP Apps HP Audio Switch; HP Documentation; HP ePrint; HP JumpStart; HP Orbit; HP Pen Control; HP Recovery Manager; HP Support Assistant; HP Sure Connect
Price A$2,199 at JB Hi-Fi

Windows Ink has never been so good

HP has put a lot of work into the Active (battery operated) stylus and it works flawlessly with Windows Ink – you can write, annotate, draw, sketch, use it with Windows Maps and in the Windows Edge Browser as well. In short, it works flawlessly with any Microsoft app.

Palm recognition/rejection works very well, it is an active stylus (Bluetooth connected and hoverable), minimal lag, good accuracy and has overcome the “broken line” effect of many previous pens.

Keyboard, trackpad and kickstand

A good rock, solid, chiclet, metal faced, leather backed, keyboard with a 1.5mm throw and 60g accentuation. There is no key bounce like other hybrids.

In touch typing test I could achieve about 95% of my usual speed as measured on a Logitech G610 Orion Blue mechanical keyboard.

The keys are backlit – on or off. It clips magnetically to the pogo pins on the bottom of the tablet and can be reversed to fold back to the tablet back with the keys facing inwards and disabled.

The oversized glass trackpad is responsive and allows a single swipe to move the cursor from top right to bottom left.

The stainless steel, copper plated, kickstand is a U-shaped hinge copied from a German furniture maker and it folds almost flat down to 150°.

Desktop replacement

HP has a $329 USB-C dock USB-C Dock that adds Display Port, HDMI, Ethernet and 5 USB ports.