2017 HP Spectre x360 Challenges Microsoft Surface Pro And Surface Book [Opinion]

When HP released the updated version of the 13-inch Spectre x360 at the end of 2016, many sources were quick in calling it the best Windows 10 device of the year. iTech Post was just one of the sources who called the HP hybrid the best laptop of the year.

“If you’re in the market for the best laptop of 2016, HP has something special for you. The HP Spectre x360 is probably the most complete and well-rounded laptop that you can get this year. Not only is it a fully functional hybrid laptop, it also comes with competitive specs.”

The review praised the small bezel around the 1080p screen. It didn’t consider the 1080p screen problematic, but some potential buyers did. A 1080p screen on a 13-inch laptop was groundbreaking in 2012, but many others have Quad HD or higher resolution screens. But last week, HP unveiled the 4K version of the Spectre x360. Not only did they increase the screen resolution, but they also now offer pen support.

The Surface Book is a laptop hybrid
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

HP has released a definite alternative to the higher-end Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. In fact, it will probably compete with the Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 since it has Intel’s latest i7 Core Kaby Lake processor. It also has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The $1599 price tag is pretty reasonable for what you get.

Like many other new laptops that have the new i7 Core Kaby Lake processor, the x360 has the “coil whine” problem with the fan noise, but it is not as prevalent as it is on the new XPS 13 or Lenovo Yoga 910. The whistling is faint, but the fan, which sounds like static, can get pretty loud. However, it’s something that’s only noticeable in a very quiet environment.

HP has never been known for making beautiful screens, but this has changed. Instead of using cheap PenTile technology, which many say really reduces resolution, the screen on the x360 is almost as high quality as you can get. Images are vivid and colorful, and the viewing angles are very wide. However, the colors are not as accurate as they are on the MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13. The contrast ratio is good, but not excellent.

The HP Spectre x360 is a laptop hybrid
The Spectre x360 can fold back into a tablet. [Image by Daryl Deino]

Everything else on the new x360 is almost perfect. The keyboard is the best that has ever been put on a laptop device as the keys feel solid and have a decent amount of travel. The Bang & Olufsen speakers match the excellent speakers on the MacBook Pro in that they provide bass and depth. The whole device, made of machine aluminum, feels absolutely solid.

Due to the fact that the Spectre x360 has a 4K screen, you don’t get as much battery life as you would on the MacBook Pro or even the new Dell XPS 13. Power users can expect to get about five hours of use, and the average user will certainly get six. Minimizing the brightness adds more life, but then the beautiful screen becomes less vivid.

HP includes an N-Trig pen that is better and more accurate than the N-Trig pen included with the Surface Pro or Surface Book. Putting the device in tablet mode feels a little strange since it is a widescreen device. It would have been great if HP made a 3:2 ratio device, but the 16:9 screen is better for watching movies or putting two screens next to each other in order to multitask.

Once you get your hands on HP’s new laptop hybrid (which does get pretty hot at times), it will be hard to take them off. HP has proven they can make reasonably priced laptops that compete with the best.

[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]