HP Spectre x360 13-inch Laptop Review

About HP Spectre x360

Weighing 2.8 pounds and measuring .67 inches thick, the Spectre x360 is only marginally bulkier than non-convertible laptops in the same thin-and-light category. The 360-degree hinge for its 13.3-inch touchscreen (available in FHD 1920x1080 or 4K UHD OLED 3840x2160 resolution) converts it into a tablet.

HP offers a wide variety of processor, memory and storage options: an Intel 11th-generation Core i5 or Intel Core i7 chip (the AMD Ryzen chip isn't available on this model), 8 or 16 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, and a solid state drive (SSD) holding 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 terabyte (TB) or 2 TB. The laptop includes one standard USB port, two USB Type-C ports (either of which can charge the laptop) and a microSD Card slot. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 allow for wireless connections to networks and peripherals.

The Spectre supports Wi-Fi 6 and Microsoft’s Windows Hello biometric authentication via a fingerprint reader next to the backlit keyboard or through face recognition in the 720p webcam above its available OLED screen. The laptop includes kill switches for the camera and its microphone, and you can also order a version of its FHD screen with a Sure View option that makes it unreadable from most side angles.

HP Spectre x360 13-inch

HP’s Spectre x360 is a 2-in-1 convertible; as the “360” in its name suggests, its 13.3-inch OLED screen rotates all the way around, allowing you to use the computer as a large touchscreen tablet. Or you rotate the screen two-thirds of the way around, then flip the computer so the screen faces you in “tent” mode – a convenient option for watching movies and TV shows. This thin-and-light Windows 10 laptop offers the usual range of processor memory and storage options plus a few unusual privacy features.

HP Spectre x360

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HP Spectre x360 Review

The HP Spectre x360 13, tied for ninth place in our Best Laptops of 2021 list, draws praise for its flexible 2-in-1 design; light weight, which especially helps in tablet mode; and wide array of ports, so there's no need to carry around a USB-C adapter for older devices. The Spectre X360 also supports Wi-Fi 6 and includes privacy features that most laptops don't.

Tests by third-party-reviewers show that the Spectre x360 has great battery life for a Windows PC at around 12 hours, although it still fell well short of the MacBook Air M1’s standout battery performance. However, the Spectre's keyboard layout draws some frowns for its non-standard layout of some keys, while the 720p webcam receives some criticism for poor color fidelity.

Is the HP Spectre x360 13 Right for Me?

Best for consumers who:

✓ Want a 2-in-1 laptop’s flexibility

✓ Are privacy conscious

✓ Need to connect older gadgets and cables

Not recommended for consumers who:

- Aren't interested in its touch interface

- Want a desktop replacement

The Spectre x360 13 isn’t the thinnest or lightest Windows 10 laptop, but it is among the most compact 2-in-1 convertibles. It’s also reasonably priced, even if you upgrade the $1,150 base configuration’s 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage. But price-conscious shoppers can find multiple cheaper options that may be less capable.

Other Products Offered by HP

Best HP Laptops

One of the oldest firms in the computing industry, HP offers a full range of Windows and Chrome OS computers across multiple product lines, including Spectre, Envy, Elite Dragonfly, Pavilion, Omen, and others. The Spectre x360 is roughly in the middle of this lineup, costing more than the Envy x360 and HP's Chromebooks and non-convertible Windows laptops, but not as much as the Elite and Zbook models.

How Much Does the HP Spectre x360 Cost?

The Spectre x360 starts at $1,049.99, and you may not need to spend much more than that. Doubling the storage to 512 GB, for example, only adds $70. But upgrading from 8 to 16 GB also requires getting a higher-end Intel i7 processor, at a combined extra cost of $230. The UHD OLED screen – which provides minimal benefits at this screen size – costs an extra $180 and will reduce battery life. Note that the Spectre isn't available with the AMD Ryzen processor.

How to Buy the HP Spectre x360

You can configure a Spectre x360 13 on HP’s website or buy an off-the-shelf model at third-party retailers. Either way, you’ll need to decide upfront how much processor, memory, storage, and screen you want. To buy a Spectre:

1. Evaluate your computing needs. Even people who don’t use a computer for demanding tasks can easily exhaust drive space, so think carefully about what size of an SSD you want.

2. Compare pricing at HP and third-party sites. Note that custom-ordering a laptop from HP’s site may delay your order compared to purchasing a ready-built model.

3. Buy the laptop.

HP Spectre x360 FAQ

What Is the HP Spectre x360 Warranty?

HP provides a one-year hardware warranty on this laptop. You can extend it by buying a Care Pack; two years of coverage, for example, extends the warranty by a year and includes accidental damage protection for one incident per year at a list price of $249.99.

How do I contact HP’s customer service?

HP offers 90 days of free tech support through a toll-free phone line 24 hours a day. You can also contact support through a live chat on the company’s website.

Can the HP Spectre x360 be upgraded?

HP doesn't advertise this model as user-upgradeable, but reviews and user reports confirm that you can replace some components like the SSD and memory with a moderate degree of difficulty.

HP Spectre x360 vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the HP Spectre x360 or the Dell XPS 13?

The Dell XPS 13 is slightly lighter than the Spectre x360 but doesn't offer 2-in-1 flexibility, and you only get the weight savings if you forgo the touchscreen. The Spectre x360, by contrast, takes full advantage of the touchscreen capabilities of Windows 10. Potential tiebreakers, depending on your own priorities, include the Spectre’s more flexible set of connectors and its privacy controls that can disable the webcam and microphone, compared to the better-reviewed webcam and sleeker looks of the Dell XPS 13.

Which Is Better: the HP Spectre x360 13-inch or the MacBook Air M1?

The MacBook Air M1 outshines the Spectre x360 and most Windows laptops in performance and battery life. Although the HP's battery can last an entire workday, the MacBook Air can keep going after that, depending on how you use it. Apple’s macOS should also be a lower-maintenance operating system over time than Microsoft Windows 10. But the HP’s 2-in-1 convertible design and more complete set of ports provide more flexibility in everyday use. For privacy-minded shoppers, Apple includes privacy protections in its software, while HP builds privacy defenses into the Spectre x360's hardware.

Which Is Better: the HP Spectre x360 13-inch or the Asus ZenBook 13?

With the ZenBook 13, Asus sacrifices 2-in-1 convertible flexibility to make this laptop exceptionally light and thin – just 2.36 pounds and .55 inches. The Asus ZenBook 13 also starts at $250 less and promises much better battery life, estimated by Asus at 22 hours. But without a touchscreen like that on the HP, the Asus ZenBook 13 loses out on much of Windows 10’s potential. The HP also offers a choice of fingerprint or facial Windows Hello recognition instead of the ZenBook’s face-only biometrics, plus privacy controls for its microphone and webcam.


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