HP Spectre x360 (2017): Elegance Refined
HP's Spectre x360 is a delightfully thin and gorgeous convertible that first rolled off the lot in 2015. There have been two major revisions since then—the 2016 model, which debuted with a slimmed down form factor and improved battery life, and the new 2017 model that we are reviewing here. Somehow or another, HP managed to trim even more excess metal and weight from an already thin and light frame, a feat made even more impressive by how quiet it runs. We will get into all the nitty-gritty details a little later in this evaluation, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's talk about the configuration that HP sent our way.
As configured, the Spectre x360 we have in-house boasts a recently released Intel Core i7-8550U processor sporting four processing cores and eight threads to chomp through multi-threaded workloads. It has a relatively meager 1.8GHz base frequency, but a much faster 4GHz Turbo clock, which all four cores will ramp up to when needed. It also has 8MB of L3 cache, a 15W TDP, and Intel UHD Graphics 620 for graphics chores.
Flanking the CPU is 8GB of LPDDR3 1,600MHz RAM and a 256GB M.2 form factor NVMe solid state drive that shuttles data through the PCI Express bus. All of this combines to power the 13.3-inch display's native 1920x1080 resolution. Save for the CPU, the spec sheet is a little tame, though HP offers a few upgrade options to give this puppy more bite. Among them are more RAM, beefier storage drives, and a bump to a 4K resolution display if you need or want more on-screen real-estate. Many of the upgrade options are reasonably priced too—for example, it costs $150 to swap out the 1080p panel for a 4K display, and it is only $35 to double the RAM to 16GB, which to us is a no-brainer.
There rest of the setup is fairly standard for a modern 2-in-1. Here is a look at the full set of specifications, as the Spectre x360 was sent to us:
|Processor Options||8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U Quad Core (8MB Cache, 1.8GHz to 4.0GHz)
||13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS Touchscreen|
Intel UHD Graphics 620
||8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
||256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive|
|Audio||HP Quad Speakers, Bang & Olufsen, HP Audio Boost
|Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet via USB Type-C to RJ45 Adapter (Optional)|
||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.2|
1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 3.5mm Headset/Microphone Combo, microSD Card Reader
2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
||HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera w/ Dual Array Microphone|
||Windows 10 Home 64-Bit|
|Dimensions||0.53 (H) x 12.04 (W) x 8.56 (D) inches
|Pricing||$1,149.99 (As Configured) - Find It At Amazon
On their own, specs are fairly bland, as they say little to nothing about the engineering involved or the design aesthetics that goes into crafting a premium system like this one. And make no mistake, the Spectre x360 is an elegant 2-in-1, sculpted from a single chunk of aluminum and "designed to attract attention." And the closer you look, the more you can appreciate the subtle bits, such as the fine brush strokes on the reflective sides and beveled backside, giving the Spectre x360 some uptown charm.
The new model for 2017 (just in time for 2018, we might add) is a hair thinner than last year's variant, measuring 13.6mm high. That's down from 13.9mm in 2016 and 15.9mm in 2015. It is also a touch lighter, now weighing 2.78 pounds, versus 2.85 pounds for last year's build and 3.2 pounds in 2015. We should point out that HP did not have to skimp on connectivity to maintain an increasingly thinner waistline—in fact, the 2017 model gains a microSD card slot and the ability to charge external devices over one of the USB Type-C ports.
Let's flip the lid and take a closer look...