HP Spectre x360 13 Review: The Best Spectre Ever Built

In terms of its consumer PC notebook segment, HP is unquestionably (and finally) on the right track, in my opinion. Now, I say this based on two prominent cases I’ve seen recently. One example is HP, which has introduced four new Chromebook models in the previous six months alone, including the relatively inexpensive Chromebook 14 starting at Rs 22,980.

Two, HP has finally listened to its furious customers and replaced the Spectre and Envy models with precise touchpads. With these improvements in mind, I believe HP’s new portfolio might significantly increase its performance in the Indian laptop market.

Since late 2013, HP has begun offering its Spectre brand of premium convertible laptops. Recently, the American multinational has been actively updating its models in order to keep them thin and up to date.

This year alone, we’ve seen two revisions of the Spectre x360—one with a significant visual revamp and another with 4G LTE connection.

Read our thoughts on the former here. The most recent one, dubbed the Spectre x360 13, has a significant decrease in the laptop’s top and bottom bezels. It also has Intel’s 10th Generation Ice Lake U (10-nanometer) CPU and 4G LTE connection. Let’s see how it does in the Digit Test Centre.

Performance

The HP Spectre x360 13 is one of the first devices in India to be powered by Intel’s 10th Generation Core i7 (Ice Lake U) CPU, which is a 10-nanometer Quad-core chip with a maximum boosted clock speed of 3.90GHz.

Our review machine came with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage on an Intel Optane H10 processor, which combines standard Optane technology with quad-level cell NAND technology for quicker solid-state storage. The new integrated Iris Plus GPU handled graphics, which Intel claims gives up to two times the performance.

The Spectre x360 13 evaluation sample performed admirably in our CPU and GPU benchmark tests. Some of its GPU test results exceeded those of the Lenovo IdeaPad C340, a mid-range convertible notebook with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX230 graphics card.

The review unit received 4295 points on PCMark 8’s Accelerated Creative test, which is about 500 points higher than its own result from earlier this year. The review unit received 2605 and 13263 points on 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Cloud Gate tests, respectively.

Those are the best results we’ve seen on a convertible laptop this year. Despite the latest Intel technology increase, the Spectre x360 13 didn’t outperform the significantly cheaper IdeaPad C340 in our storage speed test.

The Spectre x360 13 performed admirably in our everyday tests. The laptop handled numerous instances of common software such as Word, Excel, iTunes, File Explorer, Chrome, and WhatsApp for PC with ease across many virtual desktops.

Switching between these programmes was also a breeze, with no stuttering or lag in animation. I was able to edit and batch-process huge JPEG and PNG files without any problems. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to play any video games on the review device during its brief stay at our testing facility.

Based on my experience with the device, I can attest to the HP Spectre x360 13’s smooth performance in regular home and business contexts. The laptop’s solitary CPU fan, on the other hand, might have been a little quieter.

The noise wasn’t loud enough to be bothersome when working in a quiet conference room, but it drew my attention every time I opened a new application or increased disc activity on the laptop. In conclusion, the HP Spectre x360 13 is an excellent laptop for general computing, whether for business or leisure.

Connectivity through 4G LTE

After a brief model revision, HP’s Spectre x360 received 4G LTE connection in late July of this year. I’m pleased to report that the functionality is still available in the new ’13’ model. Getting connected operates similarly to how it does on a smartphone.

The laptop includes an integrated Intel XMM 7560 1Gbps 4G LTE modem. On the left side of the device, there is a nano-SIM card slot for physical SIM authentication, as well as compatibility for dual eSIM connectivity in some locations. As long as there is no PIN-based lock on the SIM card, the laptop should function with most Indian carriers.

Even though the review unit was unlocked, I couldn’t get a Jio SIM card to function, but I was able to get an Airtel SIM up and running in a matter of minutes. All I needed to do was insert the nanoSIM card and configure a SIM profile in Windows Settings (with the right Access Point Name).

I was able to alter features such as metered downloads under Windows Settings. The HP Spectre x360 13’s 4G LTE connection will undoubtedly be a handy tool for regular travellers.

Battery

The quad-cell 60Wh lithium-ion polymer battery in the Spectre x360 13 is somewhat smaller than the unit in the prior iteration. The review unit lasted 4 hours and 57 minutes on our normal battery benchmark test.

That’s not just a new record score for HP’s Spectre series in our books, but it’s also the best score we’ve seen this year in the convertible laptop category. The only other laptop in the same range as the new 13 is the Asus ZenBook Flip 13 (UX362), which has a battery life of 4 hours and 53 minutes.

Despite the fact that it runs on the newest Intel 10th Gen processor and has a 1W low-power LCD screen, the Spectre x360 13 is not labelled as an Intel Project Athena machine, thus expecting 9+ hours of online browsing on batteries is unrealistic.

The review device functioned admirably on battery power during our daily tests, but it didn’t blow us away. On one occasion, the battery level dropped from 92% to 15% in just five hours. The laptop was subjected to intensive surfing, intermittent video playback, 4G use (for around half an hour), and occasional picture editing at maximum screen brightness throughout the cycle.

On another instance, the battery level dropped from full to 83% in roughly an hour and a half. The screen brightness was set to 70% during the run, and the laptop was used for light browsing. In other words, on battery power, you may anticipate up to six or even seven hours of continuous operation.

That won’t beat an Apple MacBook Air, but it’ll come close. Charging the review unit from 17% to 82 percent took roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Display, audio, and input/output (IO)

The 13.3-inch HP BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen display of the HP Spectre x360 13 has Full HD resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass NBT protection. According to HP, certain variations’ displays can provide 100% sRGB colours and up to 400 nits of brightness.

Our testing device did not have HP’s SureView Gen 3, an optional feature that guarantees the display’s contents are shielded from side angles for improved security and privacy.

Colors on the screen were genuinely rich without being too saturated in my experience. Even in good lighting, I frequently found myself lowering the brightness (to approximately 60% or 70%).

The review unit came with an HP Active Pen pen, which worked nicely in tablet mode with the laptop’s touchscreen for sketching and annotating.

Palm rejection was precise, and the stylus provided enough of control when used with built-in Windows programmes like Microsoft OneNote and 3D Paint.

The Spectre is missing one thing: a designated parking lot for the included stylus. This means that every time you want to highlight something on the screen, you’ll have to get it out of your leather messenger’s bag. Aside from that, the laptop offers an amazing viewing arrangement.

Despite the prominent Bang & Olufsen branding above the keyboard, the sound from the Spectre x360 13’s bottom-firing speaker grille is, at best, unimpressive. In a tiny conference room, there is adequate loudness for video conferences but not enough detail for active music listening.

On electropop songs like The Weeknd’s Starboy, the lows, mids, and highs fall flat. If portable music is your thing, you’re better off investing in a pair of strong headphones or an external Bluetooth speaker.

With a thickness of just under 17 mm, the Spectre x360 13 doesn’t have many connectivity choices beyond the essentials. On the left side, we can see a 3.5mm audio connector for headphones as well as a USB-A 3.1 port with a flap.

This USB connection is compatible with HP’s Sleep and Charge technology, which allows you to charge smaller devices such as cellphones even while the PC is switched off. On the right side, there are two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one on the faceted edge to avoid cable incursion) with Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, and Power Delivery 3.0 connectivity.

There’s also a microSD card slot and a ‘Webcam Kill Switch,’ which electronically disconnects the webcam for increased privacy. It’s an interesting innovation, but I believe Lenovo’s more obvious and direct ThinkShutter approach will persuade users more effectively.

Despite the fact that the Spectre x360 13 has “the world’s tiniest” 2.2mm IR camera, our review model simply had a tiny square fingerprint scanner immediately below the keyboard. Nonetheless, it worked quickly for sign-ins using Windows Hello.

Touchpad and Keyboard

It was a delight to type on the review unit. The typing experience on the Spectre x360 13 is comparable to that of a high-end Lenovo ThinkPad X-series model, which is saying a lot. To begin, HP has redesigned the keycaps to offer a shallow yet powerful dish. This makes it much easier to discover keys on the laptop’s keyboard than it was previously.

HP keys have often been flat, thus this is a first for the Spectre. Furthermore, the keys have the perfect amount of travel and resistance, making long email and document compositions a breeze.

The keycaps are a little small for large hands, and the additional column on the right (albeit beneficial for text manipulation) offsets the whole keyboard by a few vital centimetres.

Furthermore, while you’re attempting to concentrate on the screen, the keyboard backlight’s automatic timeout might be distracting. Despite these small faults, the Spectre x360 13 provides the finest typing experience I’ve encountered on any HP laptop so far.

Joy to the world, HP has finally listened to its consumers! The Spectre x360 13 has a real Windows 10-recognised precision touchpad, unlike earlier Spectre and Envy versions.

This implies that pointer movement is linear, and multi-finger taps and swipes are naturally supported. Without the need for a third-party driver or application, touchpad settings may be altered directly from Windows Settings. The touchpad surface on the review device was smooth, and the click buttons beneath it were simple to press. The touchpad surface, on the other hand, might have been higher and wider.

Construct and Design

The revamped 2019 Spectre x360, which we evaluated earlier this year, exuded character and sophistication, and the Spectre x360 13 is no exception. It’s effectively the same model, but in a smaller package with Intel’s latest 10th Gen CPU and much reduced bezels.

In fact, HP claims in its reviewer’s guide that the new Spectre is the “world’s smallest convertible,” with a screen-to-body ratio of 90%. The Spectre retains the same angular shape with faceted “gem-cut” edges on the reverse side.

The power button and one of the two USB-C connectors are located on these edges. The body is CNC-machined aluminium with twin chamfers on all four sides. As a consequence, you get a small, lightweight convertible laptop that’s guaranteed to catch the attention of your mid-flight business class neighbours. Just be sure to wash down the top cover frequently because it’s a grime magnet.

Opening the lid, which requires two hands, displays a glossy 13.3-inch touchscreen panel with razor-thin black bezels. HP has reduced the height of the top bezel from 17.35mm to an astounding 5.85mm with this model.

HP had to transition from a 6mm 88-degree IR camera to a considerably smaller but narrower 2.2mm 76-degree IR sensor for this engineering accomplishment.

The bottom bezel is also noticeably smaller. When the laptop is open, the two small palm rests are perhaps the most prominent portion of visible body space. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, in my opinion, a fantastic piece of equipment that looks as well as it performs.

Verdict

To begin with, the new HP Spectre x360 from earlier this year was a pretty powerful computer. It shared many physical resemblances to the original Spectre design, and its most notable shortcoming was the lack of a precise touchpad. However, the recently released HP Spectre x360 13 overcomes many of these drawbacks while also arriving in a smaller, more compact form size.

The HP Spectre x360 13 is now significantly more compact, with nearly no sacrifice in ergonomics.

Crunching power is also on par with that of other high-end commercial machines. With the exception of a few minor drawbacks, such as the lack of a parking garage for the supplied pen, bland audio, and excessive fan noise, the HP Spectre x360 13 is the greatest Spectre ever built. If you’re ready to spend close to Rs 2 lakh, it’s a fantastic premium convertible laptop.

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