HP Spectre x2 2017 Can’t Compete With Microsoft’s Latest Surface Pro [Opinion]

It seems like a new Microsoft Surface Pro clone is released every week. But the new HP Spectre x2 seems the most promising. After all, it has received some great reviews. Laptop Mag gave the 2017 HP Spectre x2 four stars while complementing the device’s sleek design, brilliant display, and comfortable keyboard.

PC World also gave HP’s laptop-tablet hybrid four stars.

“HP’s Windows tablets remain among the very best in terms of construction, with careful attention paid to what users have been asking for. With a pen, keyboard, and dongle all in the box, what you see is truly what you get,” says reviewer Mark Hachman, who adds that the strong performance of the Spectre x2 is marred by poor battery life.

Poor battery life needs to be emphasized. While streaming videos back to back on Netflix with the brightness set at 80 percent, this reviewer only received about four and a half hours of battery life. This would have been good for 2012 but not so much in 2017. The battery life of the Spectre x2 is very comparable to the Surface Pro 4, a device that earned multitudes of complaints about poor battery life.

The new Surface Pro has a much better battery life than the Spectre x2. [Image by Daryl Deino]

Using the same test, the 2017 Surface Pro lasted more than six and a half hours. The 2017 Surface Pro is a device you can use all day and not have to worry about taking along a power supply. The same can’t be said about the Spectre x2.

There’s also another flaw with the HP Spectre 2 that is similar to most of HP’s other laptops — the lack of a Windows Precision touchpad. Instead, HP includes a touchpad run by Synaptic’s drivers, which are outdated. No matter how much you change the touchpad settings on the Spectre x2, you’ll be wishing you were using a better touchpad or at least a mouse.

The touchpad on HP Spectre x2 isn't a Windows Precision touchpad
The HP Spectre x2 touchpad is mediocre. [Image by Daryl Deino/Getty Images]

Every Windows computer should include a Precision touchpad by now. Dell knows this. Lenovo knows this. Sure, there are workarounds to HP’s touchpad, but in 2017, you want instant solutions.

Despite all the criticism, there are some good things about the new Spectre x2. The 12.3-inch 3,000 x 2,000-pixel resolution display (293 ppi) is bright and beautiful, even if it doesn’t have the same sharpness or contrast ratio as the new Microsoft Surface Pro. And the keyboard is solid, comfortable, and allows just enough travel to provide an enjoyable typing experience.

Even though the stylus isn’t as good as the new Surface Pen is, it works better than any of the previous Surface Pen devices. There is a little bit of latency, and you don’t quite get the feeling you are writing on a pad, but it feels decent enough for those who do casual drawing or note-taking.

HP’s new hybrid is a great value. For $1,299, you get 8GB of RAM, the latest Intel Core i7 processor, and a 360GB SSD. The comparable Surface Pro with an Intel Core i7 processor costs $300 more, and it doesn’t include a keyboard or stylus. The new HP Spectre x2 may be attractive and a tempting buy. However, if you are using your hybrid as your main computer, you are better off paying $300-plus more for the Surface Pro (Intel Core i7) or spending the same price (without keyboard and stylus) for the Intel Core i5 version of the new Surface Pro.

[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]