09 Nov 2017 18:24 IST

HP Spectre x360 review: A 13-inch chunk of elegance

This sturdy yet beautiful notebook-pen is aimed squarely at students and professionals

Dressed in charcoal grey (they call it dark ash) with copper toned highlights, the x360 from HP’s well-established premium line of Spectre laptops is as elegant as it’s solid. There’s also a silver variant with lower specs. Nothing looks flimsy on this slim 13-inch device. To be specific, its dimensions are 0.55 x 12.07 x 8.58 inches and its display size is 13.3 inches.

Going by the 360 in its name, you’ll guess that the laptop’s cover goes all the way back to allow it to get into different tent modes and finally become a large tablet. That movement is supported by strong stainless-steel hinges that look like they’re built to withstand the test of time. All the edges are in a luxurious but subtle gold tint, matching the HP logo in the centre of the cover. It’s one of those things that states because it understates, giving professionals an “I’ve arrived” look. Unfortunately the anodised aluminium top does take on faint smudges, but nothing that an occasional wiping won’t fix.

The screen part of the laptop goes back very easily, with no struggle. When you use it in laptop mode and use the touch screen, a firm tap on the screen will make it wobble a bit — a problem most machines in this format haven’t been able to tackle. But its different positions do offer total flexibility. The touch display is vivid, bright, sharp and supports 4K content — but of course, you have to source that content. The colour accuracy is really high, which is important for all those who work on creative activities. It’s a perfectly responsive display. With the press of a secret button, it can go into privacy mode so that people around can’t see what’s on it so easily — the content is difficult to see from an angle. That’s a nice touch. The bezels are thin on the sides though not so much on the top and definitely not on the bottom. The area is needed to house the camera and infrared lenses.

Several laptop specialist publications have given the x360 2017 the editor’s choice and declared it a real Microsoft Surface rival. The convertible comes with an ‘active pen’ that lets you draw, doodle, mark up PDFs or do whatever your profession requires you to by hand, except that it’s digital and not paper.

The x360 works on Intel’s 7th gen Core i7 2.7GHz microprocessor and has 16 GB of RAM to keep it humming smoothly. It neither heats up nor is noisy. It has 512 GB storage space and two USB Type C ports and a Thunderbolt Gen 3, HDMI port and headphone jack. It also has Bang & Olufsen quad speakers and runs Windows 10 Pro. Its three-cell lithium ion polymer battery supports fast charging. Battery life is not bad for a powerful computer with 4K at about seven hours though it depends on what mode you’re using it in and of course, what sort of work you do on it.

The backlit keyboard has keys with plenty of play and spring to them. I did however find them a little noisier than usual, especially the space bar. That could be a little distracting to some.

Price: ₹ 1,57,290

Pros: Spectacular looking, great display, strong 360 degree display flip, a complete solution as it turns into a tablet with pen included, powerful specs

Cons: Slightly noisy keyboard

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)

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