HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2019) hands-on evaluation: Goodbye bezels, good day OLED
“With slim bezels and an OLED show, the HP Spectre x360 may be the proper 2-in-1.”
Possibility for a 4K OLED panel
Redesigned Home windows Hi there Webcam
New 10th-gen processors
Iris Plus graphics
Thicker and heavier than rivals
The HP Spectre x360 has all the time been the most effective laptops you should buy. With stable productiveness efficiency, insanely lengthy battery life, and a cushty keyboard, it’s been laborious for others to beat.
It did have a few weak spot although. HP should have recognized that, as a result of in late 2019, the corporate has launched an up to date Spectre that solves each minor quibble I had with earlier variations.
Oh yeah, and HP threw in an OLED display for good measure too.
A display so slim, and a webcam so small
With the older Spectre x360 sitting proper subsequent to the brand new mannequin, the very first thing I observed was its new webcam and slimmer bezels. The thick backside and prime borders on the show had been nearly gone, and the display simply appeared a lot extra immersive. However by how a lot?
HP is laying declare to a 90% display to physique ratio, which is forward of the 84.7% ratio on the brand new XPS 13 convertible. It did this by slimming the highest bezels down from 17.35 mm to a mere 5.85mm. And, on the underside, from 25.82 mm to 11.09 mm. That’s a 66.28% and 57.05 % change between generations, respectively.
Nonetheless, with the slim bezel clamshell XPS 13 in thoughts, I used to be curious how HP completed this, so I requested. In brief, it’s all in regards to the webcam.
The Home windows Hi there IR webcam on final yr’s x360 was roughly 6mm in measurement, however this yr’s mannequin is now right down to 2.2 mm. That not solely leaves quite a lot of area for an even bigger show panel but in addition permits HP to maintain the digicam in its conventional spot. There’s no awkward nostril dealing with digicam, like what Huawei did with the MateBook 14.
Surprisingly, this webcam module is even smaller than the two.25 mm module on the Dell XPS 13 clamshell — which doesn’t function the Home windows Hi there IR know-how. HP says it’s lesser than the dimensions of a grain of rice.
However simply because the webcam acquired smaller, doesn’t imply that HP needed to sacrifice on high quality.
However simply because the webcam acquired smaller, doesn’t imply that HP needed to sacrifice on high quality. I fired up the webcam and immediately acquired a transparent image. And, identical to final yr’s Spectre, with the slide of a swap on the aspect, I used to be in a position to kill the webcam for privateness.
Wanting up shut, I might level out the blemishes in my freshly shaved face and even the specs of mud on my hat. In comparison with the low 1-megapixel high quality keyboard pop-up webcam on one thing the Huawei MateBook X Professional, I can see this cam getting used for internet conferences. However positioned proper under the digicam was the actual star of the present.
OLED display in a 13-inch laptop computer? Yup
OLED has develop into frequent in 15-inch laptops just like the Dell XPS 15 or HP Spectre x360 15 — and there’s an excellent cause why.
In comparison with customary LED panels, the OLED display is ready to punch out superb distinction ranges, in addition to deeper blacks. It’s why we noticed a sudden surge of OLED laptops earlier this yr at CES.
However this yr’s 13-inch Spectre is the primary 13-inch machine in current reminiscence to launch with an OLED display. That caught my consideration.
Alongside an ordinary FHD 1,920 x 1,080 decision mannequin, the brand new Spectre x360 sports activities an possibility for a 4K True Black HDR OLED panel that may go as much as (non-obligatory, if configured) 1,000 nits of brightness. This kind of insane brightness was first proven off within the HP Dragonfly enterprise laptop computer, however now it’s set to develop into a mainstream function too.
The 1,000 nit mannequin wasn’t obtainable, however I did get to check out the 4K OLED possibility, and it’s a stunner. Even simply wanting on the default wallpaper on the Spectre, I used to be immediately wowed. The blacks and blues within the sky had been so vibrant. The darkish mode and stay tiles in Home windows 10 popped proper off the display.
That in thoughts, I can see this panel working nicely in direct daylight, and in brighter circumstances. However that’s not all, as HP tells me that it has bundled in a brand new non-obligatory anti-glare possibility into all these new panels. The glare from the white LED lights within the room weren’t reflecting on the display, and I scrolled via HP’s PowerPoint demo with out staring again at myself.
The OLED panels are manufacturing unit calibrated with a 30% wider colour gamut for correct colours, which means it could possibly be an excellent possibility for photographers. Nevertheless, for additional customization, HP can be bundling in a particular “HP Show Management” software program. that options particular colour area presets.
Refined design, however barely thicker
Aside from the webcam HP, additionally repositioned the antennas to release area all throughout the laptop computer of the brand new Spectre. This makes it one of many smallest 13-inch convertibles I’ve ever seen. It additionally makes it nicely related, because the Spectre sports activities improved four×four antennas, for Gigabit LTE (a primary on this years mannequin) and Wi-Fi 6 assist.
I particularly observed this measurement distinction when stacking the brand new Spectre on prime of the outdated one. It’s now 23 mm smaller than earlier than. With its size shrinking from 217.9 mm to 194.5 mm. It’s additionally 10 grams lighter from final years mannequin, and a pair of.four mm thicker. That makes it thicker than most 2-in-1,s and it’s one thing I observed when holding it in my palms.
For all these design adjustments, it nonetheless sports activities the identical distinctive aesthetic I’ve all the time liked.
On the brand new mannequin, two Wi- Fi antennas transfer to the underside aspect of the show panel, and two on the underside parts of the keyboard. The hinges even have develop into a particular strengthened CNC half embedded underneath the panel, liberating up area for an even bigger display. Lastly, the connectors on show panel itself are using a particular bent design, so that’s now not flush with the panel.
For all these design adjustments, it nonetheless sports activities the identical distinctive aesthetic I’ve all the time liked. Gem cuts, dual-chamfer diamond-cut edges, are all nonetheless right here. Even the ports are the identical — two Thunderbolt three USB-C and one USB A. These are positioned within the corners, designed to get the cables out of the best way.
Alongside the older “Dusk Black” and Poseidon Blue,” there’s even a brand new “Pure Silver” colorway this yr, which is visually paying homage to the silver colour of a MacBook.
I even repeatedly closed and opened the Spectre, and it by no means as soon as faulted because of the twin edges, which meant I might simply open it from the perimeters.
Lastly listening to the complaints, HP has carried out a Microsoft Precision touchpad.
And, after I pressed laborious on the keyboard deck and turned the lid, there was no flex. Even typing was simple and my fingers simply jammed between the superbly squared formed keys with minimal typos. That 1.3mm key journey actually pays off and will make for a cushty expertise for long-haul typing periods.
The identical applies to the touchpad. Lastly listening to the complaints of reviewers all over the place, HP has carried out a Microsoft Precision touchpad. Whereas a bit smaller at 110mm x 55 mm over final yr’s 120 mm x 60 mm, its vast floor nonetheless is clean sufficient for scrolling. The underside and proper corners additionally present stable clicks for navigating Home windows. The added advantages of Microsoft Precision imply that Home windows 10’s multi-touch gestures to maneuver between apps, the desktop is now a lot smoother than the synaptics drivers on final yr’s mannequin.
Ice Lake means higher graphics
After hanging onto Whiskey Lake for the final technology, HP’s new Spectre x360 lastly takes the bounce in processing energy with Intel’s 10th-gen CPUs. Alongside different producers like Razer and Dell, this guarantees to ship battery and efficiency enhancements for daily actions.
HP claims a selected 2 occasions efficiency distinction in 3D Mark 11 testing and as much as 22 hours of battery life on the FHD mannequin. That’s largely because of using a 1-watt low energy panel. Extra superior testing is required, however that will put it forward of the 13 hours on most laptops just like the XPS 13, and even some Qualcomm-powered All the time Linked PCs.
The brand new Spectre x360 comes with as much as a quad-core Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor. This could present sufficient muscle for productiveness work, although extra testing might be required to verify my first impressions. However, very like the brand new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, the graphics division is the place this new processor can actually shine.
The Ice Lake processors embody Intel’s new Iris Plus built-in graphics, which we’ve loved on Razer’s new Stealth 13 fashions. There’s nonetheless no devoted graphics card on board, but it surely might form as much as be nice for gentle gaming and even gentle photograph and video modifying.
HP believes a lot within the energy of Ice Lake, that the brand new Spectre x360 options an enhanced thermal design, with enlarged air inlets, retailers, and an elevated warmth pipe design.
A graphite layer underneath the keyboard, and small inlet holes within the prime of the keyboard, and three warmth pipes additionally higher disperse warmth and funky the laptop computer. That’s an enchancment from the one heatpipe from earlier fashions.
Makes a near-perfect laptop computer good
Extra testing is required, however the brand new Spectre x360 shapes as much as be the most effective Home windows 10 convertibles I’ve ever seen. With a slim-bezel OLED display and the ability of Ice Lake underneath the hood, HP has addressed practically all our complaints with earlier Spectre fashions.
HP’s Spectre x360 might be launched in October for costs beginning at $1,300, whereas the fashions with the OLED display will begin at $1,700.