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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
HP Spectre x360 13-inch Derek Sullivan Rating: 4.5 out of 5

HP Spectre x360 review (13-inch, late 2016) – there’s none like it

36 Comments

  1. Rickard Sandberg

    November 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you very much for this Review! It really seems to be the perfect laptop! If just for one thing… will it work with an external GPU? I have Heard different stories of this matter.

    One guy (fakebanana) in a Reddit-thread says it definitely works with the Razer Core. Please see this link: https://www.reddit.com/r/eGPU/comments/587xju/my_experience_with_the_razer_core_spectre_x360/

    While others say HP does not allow eGPU for their laptops (at least not their previous ones, like the "HP Spectre").

    If you have the possibility, could you please check whether the new Spectre x360 will work with an eGPU? I know there are many people out there wondering the same thing as me!

    Thank you again for ultrabookreview.com, it's really awesome! :)

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I actually sold my Razer Core a couple months ago and I'm kind of regretting it now since I can no longer test that feature out. I'd say if someone reported it working though, there's a good chance they are telling the truth. HP, Dell, Acer, etc are all going to say they "don't support" eGPUs because they don't want to have anything to do with troubleshooting them when something goes wrong. I've also heard the HP Spectre didn't work with it but ad far as I know, only one person has tried and posted results and there's no info as to how much effort they put into it. It could have been just a matter of a bios setting or wrong Thunderbolt driver. Also consider that this is Kaby Lake and not Skylake, so the Thunderbolt 3 is built into the CPU and not a chip that was to be added onto the motherboard, like with Skylake. So eGPUs may very well be enabled by default for all future machines, even though the manufacturer doesn't support it.

      Edit: Correction, Kaby Lake CPUs might still contain the TB3 controller. Perhaps the integration in only with certain chipsets.

      • Rickard Sandberg

        November 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm

        I really hope that you are right, that would mean an instant buy for me. And perfect time with black friday incoming and all :-D.

        I just wished someone could post a video or something to actually "prove" that it works. There are currently no eGPUs available in Sweden, and I don't want to buy the Spectre x360 now just to find out later that it doesn't work with eGPUs.

        But thank you for the Quick answer! :-)

        • Derek Sullivan

          November 22, 2016 at 4:02 pm

          Yeah, that's a pretty expensive endeavor to pursue without something more concrete. Actually, Andrei just pointed out an article to me that contradicted my previous comment. Apparently there are some Kaby Lake CPUs that still don't have native Thunderbolt 3 support and it's still a separate controller. I read a couple months ago that it was upposed to be integrated, but that might just be with certain chipsets. There are still only a handful of Kaby Lake CPUs in the wild.

          • Rickard Sandberg

            November 22, 2016 at 5:05 pm

            Yes I know, Andrei has said that to me too in a previous article's comment section. :-)

            I have been waiting for the perfect "ultrabook with eGPU"-setup for more than a year now, but this ultrabook+eGPU-dream still feels like only a Dream and as if it won't become reality for a long time still. It should be possible though since the technical capabilities exist but the distribution to customers seems to be extremely slow for some reason.

            For example the Razer Core only exist in a few countries and still only works good with even fewer laptops (Razer's + at some degree with Dell's XPS-series).
            ASUS ROG XG Station 2 was announced early 2016 and there is still no release date for it ín any country. There isn't even any ASUS ultrabooks with Thunderbolt 3 (ok, sure the T3 Pro, but still…) which is even more perculiar. I mean the UX310U and the UX306 should really have had TB3 with support for eGPU.
            ACER's Graphics Dock I believe exists in US and Germany, and is advertised to only work with two or Three Acer laptops. And I have Heard of no Updates from the now outdated 960m either.
            It all just seems really weird. One would Think they should be fighting each other on which one has the best eGPU-solution this close to Black Friday and Christmas but no…

            Sorry for my bad English by the way, it's not my native language. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say anyway! :)

            And once again, thank you for the Quick reply! :)

  2. Colin

    November 24, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Hello, and much thanks for this review !
    My question is slightly off-topic : when should we expect to hear from you about the new Yoga 910 from Lenovo ?
    This one and the 2016's x360 are my favorites candidates for replacement of my old laptop.
    Thanks again :-)
    Colin, from France

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      No plans to get one yet but I'll keep it in my radar.

      • Colin

        November 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Ok, thanks for answering.

  3. Emrah

    November 25, 2016 at 3:24 am

    I'm holding off buying a laptop these days just to wait for Bluetooth 5. I always listen music via laptop and Bluetooth speaker and new features are promising in the 5th release. Do you have any update on when the new Bluetooth chips will be released?

    Thanks for the review.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Not really, and to be frank I haven't looked into it.

  4. omri

    November 25, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Hi
    thanks for the great review!
    I'm leaning towards buying the spectre, but i was also looking at the samsung ativ spin. Now the spectre is newer and with all the lates technology, but the fan noise, and especially the high pitch, bothers me, a lot. I'm very sensetive to that high pitch. But i didn't notice any compliants about noise with the samsung.
    Do you have any insight about this? if there is a big difference between the two? and how bad is the hp at reguler use (writing, browsing and youtubing)?
    thank a lot!

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm

      Unfortunately I can't compare since I've never had the Samsung in my hands. I imagine it had to at just make some noise though.

      I can't say I'd describe the Spectre fans as high pitched. I'm not that sensitive to it though, so it's tough to go off of just me. I'd recommend visiting the forums and ask some people there. If there's bad fan noise, there will most definitely be people complaining there.

  5. Jay Vleugels

    November 27, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the review. I have a question related to fan noise. I bought the asus ux360uak (i5-7200). I am considering to return it due to the loudness of the machine. It's on for 80 % of the time even when just light browsing and reading some pdfs or word processing and my phone sounds meter measures on average 30-32 dB for this type of work. From the moment my virus scanner starts or some windows update that takes 30 – 50 % usage and temperature rises till 55 °C, it measures on average 44-48 dB.

    So I'm considering of returning it and wanted to ask you if the noise from the new spectre x360 is considerably lower, or it may emit the same strength of noise.

    Thanks

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 27, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Jay,

      I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I can't in this case. I've never personally had the Zenbook Flip so comparing our sound readings is apples and oranges. I use the sound meter in Android sensor box on a Galaxy S7 edge, if you want to try and make things more consistent with our readings. I usually take readings at the ear level and also right at the fan. Sorry I can't help more.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      On a side note, Andrei reviewed the Zenbook Flip and also also mentioned the fan noise was too aggressive. The way he put it almost sounds like what I witnessed with the x360. Truth is, with laptops that small, it doesn't take a whole lot of usage for the CPU to overheat. Again I can't compare how loud the fans actually are, but it's a pretty good bet they both spin up in similar manners.

      • jay vleugels

        November 29, 2016 at 6:31 am

        Alright thanks. So i ordered the spectre x360 and received it today. when the fan kicks in the noise is about the same. the big difference is however that the spectre x360's fan doesnt kick in that fast as the zenbook ux360. i'm a student so what i do is browse, read pdfs, work in onenote and watch videos and it didnt kick in while doing all these things at the same time.

  6. MARK

    December 2, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I bought exactly this laptop on black Friday. Out of the boxit won't charge, won't recognize the ac adapter via USB C port. Spent hours with hp on the phone trouble shooting. It's going back. Apparently it's a known issue on previous gen that hasn't been addressed. It is affecting a lot of people. I repeat it won't charge! The most rudimentary of defects!

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 2, 2016 at 9:28 am

      That's terrible! I've read that about another model as well. Sucks to see even this one can be susceptible to it.

      • MARK

        December 2, 2016 at 9:40 am

        Derek, I was so disappointed. Prior to arrival, I was literally elated for days because I got a great price (directly from hp) and my old machine is a 15 inch asus i7 that is HEAVY. IMHO the unit has beautiful aesthetics, the fit and finish (externally at least) are top notch and the metal body and design give apple a run…. but I digress, their quality control is pretty shoddy. I can't think of the last time I bought any electronic product which had issues charging right out of the box. The service/techs on the phone were nice and pleasant, but this whole experience has me re-thinking HP in general. Currently, in the process of exchange except that this unit is now on back order so I'll have wait three weeks (we had to refund this defective unit and create a new PO). Will keep you posted.

  7. Meree

    December 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    thanx brother for this great review, but i have question about HP pavilion specialy core i5 one ,
    Whats its cons and pros and what about overheating, is it still present in the recent generations??!
    Thank you again 😊

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      I haven't spent much more than a few minutes with the Pavilion, in Best Buy. The trackpad, keyboard and the overall build quality are a little lower in quality. It's still decent but you're getting what you pay for. Also, the laptop is significantly thicker. I don't know offhand but it's probably between .8-.9" thick. It probably cools a little better than the Spectre though since there's more space. No promises though.

  8. Ace01

    December 3, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I've now spent a few hours with the new x360 13 and I agree with a lot of what's written here but the heat issue that I had with the last gen x360 13 and that I'm now having with my x360 15; is very much present here as well.

    This is really a beautiful little machine. I just set one up for a friend and ended up keeping it overnight and with her permission, I installed an old game onto it, ran some videos and other tasks. 3-hours later I walked away saying damn this machine has the exact same heat issue for me in the left palm rest area as the last gen x360 13 had for me.

    I don't understand how this type of issue is not a problem for everyone. I guess it comes down to skin sensitivity levels of various people. I love hot water but I'm the guy who can find a spa/hot tub, a bit too hot at first while some other people can jump right in. I'm only interested in 15" machines now so that would be a no-go for me.

    Excluding the screen size, the only issues I have with this unit are the heat issues I just mentioned (which also extend to other areas being too hot; but those other areas are only touched if in tablet mode or sitting on your lap, which I never do). Also the current lack of QHD or 4K display is a no go for me. Otherwise, everything else about the machine goes from good to great.

  9. jay vleugels

    December 8, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Hey man,
    Does the new samsung evo 960 fit into this laptop ?

    thanks

  10. MR

    December 14, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Any idea if this works with HP's thunderbolt 3 docks?

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Depends on which one. I use the HP workstation TB3 dock(for the Zbook Studio G3) at work and it has the power connection built into the TB3 connection. That won't fit on the spectre for sure. The dock is also extremely buggy so I wouldn't recommend it anyways. If it's only a single TB3 connector though, it's a good bet it's probably compatible. That goes for most docks, not just HPs.

  11. kevin

    December 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    this a good laptop

  12. omri

    December 21, 2016 at 2:26 am

    can you recommend a multi-port adapter for this computer?
    The ones i saw were only for mac.

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 21, 2016 at 9:13 am

      I can't sorry. I've only dealt with a couple proprietary ones so far myself.

    • BA Braq

      December 21, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Was there a particular sort of multi-port adapter you were looking for? I have a HooToo Shuttle multi-port that has 3 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, HDMI output and USB-C passthru that seems to work reasonably well. The only unfortunate part of the adapter is that it's designed for Macs, so everything is set up on the wrong side of the x360.

  13. Jessica

    December 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for the great review. I just purchased this laptop, and so far, the one thing I can't figure out is whether or not it's possible to disable the touchpad while I'm typing, outside of the device settings. With other HP laptops, I was able to double-tap at the top-left-hand corner of the pad, and it doesn't appear I can do that on this one. Any insight on that?

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 29, 2016 at 8:29 am

      It looks like they didn't include any shortcut keys. Might want to double check the Trackpad settings for an option. Otherwise you're stuck with 3rd party solutions such as touchfreeze.

  14. 02nz

    January 2, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I've been using this laptop for about a month and am really enjoying its build quality, portability, and versatility of the 360-degree hinge. One nice "extra" I discovered is that it can charge (albeit very slowly, and only if the computer is in sleep or hibernate or off altogether) using any regular USB power adapter. This came in very handy when I forgot the power adapter at home on a recent trip. I simply plugged the laptop (using a USB-C to USB-A cable) into my iPad power adapter and it charged overnight (full charge from empty took maybe 10 hours); I also "topped up" the charge any chance I got (e.g. the USB power port on the plane). Not ideal but better than nothing!

  15. omri

    January 12, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Using this computer for about a week now, and i love it!
    Light, looks amazing, and fast!
    but..the speakers are a bit of a disappointment. They distort from a very low volume, and even when its only people speaking. It's sounds a bit like small shattering sound.
    Because this is a laptop, i'm not expecting much, and i read that hp support doesn't offer a good sollution. But I still wounder if it's only my model and if I should send it to hp labs?

    thanks

  16. Rijo John

    January 14, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Hi, thanks for this great review. Using this machine for the past one month and really loving it. Over the time, I think the login time (with windows hello) has slowed down a bit. In the begining, from the time I turn the power button on, the machine would be up and ready to launch apps within 5 seconds… now it takes may be 10-15 seconds. Also, my machine has a bit more yellow on the screen than necessary I fell. I mean, the white colors are not reproduced as pure white but with a more than necessary dose of yellow. I would like to calibrate the screen.. Can someone help me do this and point to some tools I can use? Other than these minor quirks I love this machine.
    Thanks,
    Rijo.

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 14, 2017 at 9:47 am

      I personally use a Spyder4Pro. It works pretty good and has a few different white points to choose from as a baseline. If you choose that brand, you'll probably want the updated Spyder5 model. The Express version is good enough for the casual user but if you're seriously into calibrating your monitors for professional reasons, you really should use the Pro or Elite versions. If you want the best, I hear x-Rite i1display Pro is the way to go. It's expensive though.

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