The common perception about laptops is that they need to look a certain way. This is primarily because brands like to follow a particular trend and they do everything to convince you to prove their point. I have been reviewing laptops for years and this simplistic approach has been the rage these days in the tech world.
But the simple truth is that we don’t want to come out of our comfort zone and that irritates me. So when I first saw the Spectre x360, it gave me a little hope that we are past the MacBook clone era. This 2-in-1 is a beautiful laptop designed to show off its design.
I replaced my Surface Pro with the Specter x360 14 for a week, and here’s my experience with HP’s newest premium Windows notebook.
HP Spectre x360 14 price in India: Rs 174,999
I was a big fan of laptops way before I started writing on tech. I use smartphones for calls/WhatsApp messages and social media, but I spend most of my time on a laptop. As someone who has an affinity towards design, I am automatically drawn towards notebooks that don’t look ordinary. The Spectre x360 marries fashion with tech, and you get a glimpse of unique styling and integrative details. There is an element of subtle luxury in the way this notebook has been designed, giving users a peek at how tech products are now designed keeping a fashionable lifestyle in mind. This is possibly the most elegant looking laptop I have reviewed in recent times; it’s a fashion notebook.
Made out of CNC-machined aluminum chassis, my review unit came in Poseidon Blue colour scheme and Pale Brass accents, with gem-cut edges and sharp corners. It is different, no doubt about it and for some, it might be too flashy. But it’s not the Poseidon Blue that’s attractive, it is the impossible thin chassis. This feels like a high-end device and the build quality backs up the design.
HP’s four-slash logo adorns the lid, while two hinges allow you to use the notebook in different ways, including the tent and tablet modes. I think the tent mode is great for watching videos and showing presentations to clients. There’s a satisfying resistance when you close the lid of the notebook.
This laptop is really beautiful to hold, use, and look at. But one thing is super weird in the notebook — a single USB 3.2 Type-A port on the left edge and two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the right side, and one of them is angled at the back right corner. The port is awkwardly placed, somehow. It isn’t easily visible to the eyes. You will also find a headphone jack and an SD card reader. The notebook ships with a leather carrying case and HP Tilt Pen, which is supposed to magnetically stick to the left edge but never really does. So there is a high chance you might lose the stylus.
The display on the Spectre x360 14 is gorgeous. It’s a 13.5-inch (3000-by-2000-pixel resolution) OLED, multitouch-enabled display (to be exact) and not 14-inches. Anyway, its squarer 3:2 aspect (similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets and laptops) gives an expansive view of text and web pages. The OLED panel is very bright, and offers a good colour gamut. The display gets really bright, peaking at 400 nits. Text and icons look easy on the eyes, and there is joy in watching movies on the display. The screen has small bezels (the screen-to-body ratio at 90.33%), with a respectable 720p HD webcam placed above the screen. It also comes with a privacy cover; just press a Fn row key and it covers over the lens. For security, the webcam has IR face recognition, plus there is also a fingerprint scanner to access Windows Hello logins.
The sound quality is great but not amazing. You get four Bang & Olufsen speakers on the laptop. Although they deliver a clean sound, they don’t get particularly loud. They are still better than many laptops that I have recently reviewed.
I love typing on this keyboard. Its backlit, island-style keyboard is quiet, has more travel, and there’s plenty of bounce. Generally, HP’s Spectre range has the best keyboard on laptops. You will also find a huge trackpad below the keyboard. It’s large but not unnecessarily large. The trackpad is smooth and accurate.
This laptop is seriously fast. I got the top-end version, featuring an 11th Generation “Tiger Lake” Core i7 -1165G7 processor with Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB RAM and a 1TB solid-state drive. I was happy with my Surface Pro, but the Spectre x360 is notably faster. I did not experience any lag while doing tasks I was supposed to do on a laptop. With these kinds of specifications, you can edit videos and photos; plus, do web browsing and run a handful of apps. To be clear, this machine is not made for content creation or running AAA games. Most photographers or videographers would anyway not buy this notebook. That said, it’s a powerful notebook and you can take it to a cafe or work from home.
I think for most people, the base variant will be fine. The chassis remains the same, but you get an 11th gen Core i5 processor, 16GB of memory, a 512GB of SSD, and a 1080p IPS touch panel. That model is priced on the lower side costing Rs 119,999.
I got 7 hours of battery (on average) per charge on this notebook. That is respectable for this notebook with these specifications. HP claims the OLED version of the Spectre x360 14 has an estimated battery life of 11.5 hours, while the IPS version will last up to 17 hours.
A lot also depends on the screen brightness. Of course, the battery life depends on what you plan for a laptop. I am a heavy user and I typically spend my entire day in front of the screen, either working, web browsing, or just chilling listening to music. The notebook also supports fast charging, refilling the battery from 0 to 50% in approximately 45 minutes.
I enjoyed using the HP Spectre x360 14. It is not a perfect machine, but yes, it is damn close to perfect. The idea of a beautifully crafted notebook that also performs well is hard to achieve. A notebook like the Spectre x360 would never come cheap and a lot has to do with how HP’s engineers designed this device. Sure, there are many excellent Windows notebooks out in the market but the Spectre x360 14 gets right on many fronts.