Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

HP Spectre x360 review – the 2-in-1 ultraportable to get

HP Spectre x360 review – the 2-in-1 ultraportable to get
By Derek Sullivan , last updated on October 7, 2015
Summary: I’m not easily impressed, but HP certainly won me over with this one. The highlights of this machine are the incredible battery life, perfect screen and excellent user interface with the keyboard and trackpad. Let’s also not forget the build quality. Those features alone easily warrant the price they are asking. Sure, there are a couple sacrifices to be made, but that’s a small price to pay in comparison to what you get in the package.
Rating: 4 / 5   Price range: $899 - $1429


excellent build quality; perfect screen, with great colors and clarity; pen input; great keyboard and trackpad; solid performance; long battery life


slightly heavy, making tablet mode a little encumbersome; possible WiFi issues; small rubber feet might lead to scratches; the touchscreen could be a bit smoother

Ever have one of those situations where you need a tablet, but you have a touchscreen laptop? Or you need a laptop, but only have a tablet? You might have filled the void by carrying both, or might have also tried the many 2-in-1 options available out there. For me, I’ve always carried both, as I found most 2-in-1 options to fall short on key features – that is, until I met the Surface Pro 3.

What attracted me to the SP3 was a lightweight tablet that has a decent keyboard and pen input, allowing it to be a pretty useful laptop replacement as well. The kickstand made it unique as well, because I could place it practically anywhere in my garage without worrying of scratching the underside. I honestly didn’t realize how useful it would be until I used the features on a regular basis.

But this article isn’t about the Surface Pro 3, this is about the HP Spectre x360 – a 2-in-1 Broadwell convertible that, in my opinion, will make people think twice about considering a Surface Pro 3, including myself. Read on to find out why.

The specs sheet

HP Spectre x360 13-4003dx
Screen 13.3 inch, 1920×1080 resolution, 10-finger multi-touch, IPS
Processor Intel Broadwell Core i7-5500U CPU, dual-core 2.4 GHz(3.0Ghz boost)
Video Integrated Intel HD 5500 HD
Memory 8 GB DDR3L 1600Mhz
Storage 256GB SSD
Connectivity Wireless AC Intel 7265 , Intel Bluetooth 4.0
Ports 3x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, mic/earphone combo, SD card reader
Baterry 55 Wh
Operating system Windows 8.1
Size 324.9mm or 12.8” (w) x 218.4mm or 8.60” (d) x 16.0mm or .63” (h)
Weight 1.47kg or 3.26 lb
Extras Extra wide trackpad, 2MP webcam, 6 in 1 card reader, backlit keyboard


The HP Spectre is quite an eye catcher and the pictures online don’t do it justice. When I picked it up out of the box, I was immediately impressed with the build quality on this little machine. The all-metal unibody was the right choice for this design, and there’s no doubt that this laptop can take a beating and last a long time.

Weighing in at just over 3 lbs, it actually felt a little heavy to me, but I can attribute that to it being so thin and dense. Sure the Yoga 3 Pro is lighter, but they are made out of totally different materials.

Starting from the top, the lid is solid silver in color, and is a smooth, matte finish. Actually, the finish is almost identical to that which you would see on a Macbook Pro or Air. Hewlett-Packard’s discreet logo adorns the lid, in similar fashion to their other latest laptops. The text is slightly embossed from the surface, and frankly, I’m not sure what’s holding it on or if it can accidentally come off. It looks great though, and I’m happy they chose this instead of some sort of backlight glowing design. Across the top edge is a small strip, most likely plastic, for the antenna. It’s the same color at least, so it blends in pretty well.

Lifting the lid was kind of challenging, due to the small cutout they put in the unibody and lack of a lifting ledge on the lid itself. I have a tough time getting my finger into the slot sometimes. This kind of reminds me of the Acer S7 series ultrabooks, but it’s not quite as bad. Unfortunately, due to the weight distribution and the nature of the hinges, it took two hands to open. I can’t express enough how important I think one finger opening is, but I’ll give HP a pass here since the hinges are meant to last and support so many different positions.

Speaking of hinges and different positions, the main highlight of this machine is that the screen flips all the way back 360-degrees, similar to what you get with the Lenovo Yoga. As far as I can tell, the hinges are pretty solid. I only notice a small amount of wobble when tapping the screen in laptop mode. There’s a lot more to talk about, so I’ll cover the different modes in more detail in a separate section.

On the inside of the lid, the screen is a 13.3-inch IPS touch panel, which will also be covered in the display section below. The panel is almost edge to edge glass, with a thin rubber gasket separating it from the metallic edge. A small logo is centered below the screen. Overall, the bezels are about average sized, with the bottom being the widest. There is also a 2MP webcam centered on the top, along with a microphone.

On the bottom half is the keyboard and trackpad. The palm rest is made from an unibody aluminum shell and looks absolutely stunning. The keyboard is recessed into the unibody, keeping the keys at a distance from the panel when closed. The trackpad also has a nice chamfer along the edges to highlight its appearance. The outer edges of the laptop look sharp but the edges are slightly broken, just enough to not feel them on your wrists. Honestly, this laptop is so thin that it would be hard for your wrists to hit the edges. The only branding on the palm rest is the Spectre logo on the lower left. The Intel sticker is on the other side and can be peeled off.

On the left, starting from the back, you have a standard power connection. Right next to it is the CPU fan exhaust, followed by a single USB 3.0 port and a power button. The power button is another thing similar to the Acer S7 series, but HP one-ups it by making the button sit flush with the edge, so you won’t accidentally press it. That was actually the reason I hated the side button on the S7 and actually disabled it all together. On this model, I never accidentally hit it. If anything, I had a tough time finding it sometimes though. I could definitely learn to live with it since I rarely turn my laptop off and instead just close the lid to put it to sleep. Finally, after the power button, there is a full SD card reader. HP went right with this one, as it allows you to fully insert the card, leaving only 1mm exposed.

HP practically uses the entire right side as well, starting with an earphone/mic combo jack in the back. It’s hard to notice this with pictures, but after using the laptop for a week, I dislike where they put this jack. It’s nearly the same size as the power jack and I’m constantly trying to put my power into the earphone jack and vice versa. Someday, I’ll get used to it, but it’s not today… Next to the earphone jack there are two more USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and a mini DisplayPort connection. Then there is a dedicated volume rocker and a Windows key, which are only there for use when in a non-laptop mode. They still function but they aren’t very practical in laptop use since there are also dedicated keys on the keyboard.

The bottom is pretty plain and simple. It’s a solid piece of metal with a number of torx screws holding it in place. Four wide rubber feet are placed here as well and are probably the shortest feet I’ve ever seen. The laptop rests so low to the surface that I almost guarantee the back bottom edge is going to get scratched up over time. Perfectionists will want to be aware of this, but I think most won’t really care. The reason for the short feet is to maintain thinness when using the laptop in tablet mode – so again, sacrifices are made, but for a good reason.

Taking off the back cover was mildly difficult and required removing the visible torx screws. You’ll need to use either a T5 or T6 driver, preferably T6 since it’s the best fit. There are clips on the front edge that need to be undone and then the back clips can be manipulated to release by shifting the lid. Honestly, nobody will be doing this because there is little to replace underneath. There is a single M.2 SATA SSD on the top edge(80mm variant). I was fooled into thinking the RAM was replaceable since there was a spare P/N sticker on the case, but alas underneath the cover was some embedded ram chips.


There are basically four modes that HP advertises the Spectre x360 is capable of: Notebook, Tablet, Stand and Tent. Each has its uses, but there are some disadvantages/sacrifices to be made when switching between them.

Laptop mode is obviously what it sounds like. The keyboard and trackpad are fully functional as well as the extra use of the volume, power and windows buttons on the sides. Laptop mode stays initiated while the screen is 0 to roughly 210 degrees. This means you can continue to use it in laptop mode when the screen is lying flat with the keyboard at 180 degrees(pretty useful for some people).

Tablet mode gets triggered in a couple of ways. First, if you flip the screen greater than 210 degrees, and second, if you rotate the screen 90 degrees in any direction or hold it upside down. This automatically disables the keyboard and trackpad, preventing you from using any input except for the on-screen controls and the buttons on the edges. By flipping the screen all the way backwards, you can hold it just like if you had a 13-inch tablet (a very thick and heavy 13-inch tablet, mind you). I don’t think I could use this in tablet mode very often unless I rested it on my lap. To me, it’s a little much, and no convertible is going to beat having a straight up tablet. Still, it’s better than not having the feature and those willing to sacrifice will make it work somehow.

There are two sub modes for the Tablet mode. First is Stand mode. If you look closely at the pictures, HP has included four very small feet on all four corners of the palm rest/keyboard area. You can flip the screen around and watch movies this way or use it as a display for presentations or something. I can’t say I’m a big fan of this mode, and here’s why. Those rubber feet are just too small for me to trust them and aluminum just scratches too easily. If I’m going to lay it down on the palm rest area, that surface better be clean as a whistle. I’m not overly protective of scratches on my devices, but if there’s one area I care to always look nice, it’s the keyboard/trackpad area – I look at it every day. So for me, I’ll be opting for the final mode.

Tent mode is basically the same as Stand mode, except you’re resting it on the edges of the palm rest and the lid. I honestly thought this was a ridiculous way to use a convertible until I got a Surface Pro 3 and used a kickstand. What I like about it is you can basically stick it anywhere without risking heavy scratches to the surfaces. For me, the garage has many surfaces that have debris on them. I use my Surface Pro 3 almost everywhere and I still don’t have a scratch on it. The same would go for the Spectre x360 in Tent mode. I’ve used it to watch how-to Youtube videos on my workbench which was covered in 3D printer debris, small screws and other tools that were lying about. Sure, maybe I should clean my workbench, but who wants to do that every time they need to use a PC.

Keyboard and trackpad

It’s not very often that I say an ultrabook keyboard is great, but this one really nails it. Typing on the Spectre x360 is a pleasure and it took no time at all for me to adapt and type at my full speed. The keys are very appropriately spaced and have excellent travel and feedback for a laptop of this size. It’s certainly good enough to type this entire review.

The keyboard is backlit, which is a must for a high-end ultrabook. I can’t say I use it all that much though, mainly because the keys are silver with black text and the ambient light from the screen is, in most cases, enough to illuminate the keys in a dark room. On top of that, the backlight is white, so I found the contrast to be better with the backlight off instead of on. Don’t get me wrong though, the backlighting does help in dark rooms and isn’t as drastic of a contrast problem as say the Acer S7, which made reading the keys nearly impossible for me.

In light rooms though, the keys are more difficult to read so I tend to leave it off. This brings me to an annoying feature on this laptop, which is the backlight button(the F5 key). When the keyboard isn’t backlit, the F5 key shines VERY bright. In light rooms it’s no biggie, but in dark rooms when you’re watching a movie, it’s annoying. Asus has been doing this with their power buttons, but at least they are off to the corner – this one is nearly centered and is very bright. Thankfully, HP updated the BIOS with a way to turn this feature off, which I promptly did upon discovery.

Other notable things with the keyboard are the media controls, integrated with the F keys on the top row. The default is for the media keys and Fn+key will actuate the associated F key. I think this is becoming the norm with ultrabooks, but those who utilize the F keys a lot will want to be aware of this and know that there is no Fn lock (at least none that I could find). You can, however, reverse them in BIOS. Kudos to HP for giving us BIOS options for these minor issues.

Enough with the keyboard – let’s talk about this trackpad. HP nailed it again because this is probably the first trackpad I’ve used that actually rivals Apple. First of all it’s huge, spanning 141mm which is nearly 50% of the width of the unit. It’s a bit shorter than the Macbook Pro’s trackpad, but still takes up as most space as possible at 65mm tall. The surface is just as smooth as a Macbook trackpad as well.

At first I questioned whether or not it would get in the way, but after using it for the last week, I’m convinced this is what all trackpads should be like. The extra wide space leaves lots of room for leeway and the advanced palm detection by Synaptics causes little issues with inadvertent taps while typing. Synaptics also has a lot of settings you’re able to modify and optimize, but I found the default settings to be pretty good right out of the box.

Tracking and tapping were generally smooth and very accurate. On long glides across the screen, I didn’t notice any jumpiness with the pointer or any indication with sensitivity problems. Multi-touch gestures were very well recognized and easily repeatable. Scrolling was about as smooth as it gets when it comes to Windows. Zooming in and out isn’t as smooth as using the touch screen itself but its far better than the competition.

If I had one complaint about the trackpad, it would be right clicking. Because it’s so wide, the integrated right click is much farther to the right than what I’m used to. Frankly, I’m still not used to it and constantly accidentally left click because I’m too far over. To fix it, I opted to make a double finger tap be right click instead. This is a good solution to such a mild complaint and I doubt many of you would be bothered by it.

Update: I take back my only complaint as it can be remedied by changing a simple setting in the Synaptics control panel.  In the “clicking” tab, there is a sub-tab for changing the size of the right button zone.  Very convenient feature to have for such a large trackpad.


This Spectre x360 is equipped with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution 13.3-inch IPS touchscreen and is another welcome highlight to the machine. The panel has excellent viewing angles and good color accuracy, right out of the box. The max and minimum brightness are also above average. Overall, I’m very pleased with the screen they chose for the FHD model and I have nothing that I could possibly complain about, when it comes to the looks.

The screen is also touch enabled and comes with an active digitizer. There are many Dell and HP brand pens that are compatible with this laptop. From reading the forums, it was recommended that I try the Dell Active Stylus 750-AAGN. I picked one up online and gave it a try.

I only got to play with the pen for a day, as I just got it yesterday. Overall I’m pretty happy with the experience so far though. My handwriting really looked just as bad as it is in real life. I even tried drawing a sketches for work, which turned out pretty well. As an engineer, I’ll be using this feature a lot for rough sketches with customers. I’ll need something reliable and easy to use, which I have to say is what I have right here. The size of the screen is great since I’ve always wished I had just a little more room on my Surface. Palm rejection was also perfect and never interfered with my drawing.

My only complaint with the pen is actually with Onenote, but it’s still worth noting – the eraser button doesn’t function in the desktop Onenote app. With the Surface Pen this is not an issue and I’m going to either have to work around it or use the less functional metro app. I’m not sure if this is only with the Dell pen, but I’ve looked it up and there have been complaints for over 2 years on multiple pens.

The FHD screen is pretty much great

The FHD screen is pretty much great

You don’t need a stylus in order to take advantage of the touch functionality, but there’s one thing I want to point out about the display that’s different than the competition. The glass is a little sticky. By little, I really do mean little. I’ve had phones with and without oleophobic glass and there is a VAST difference between them. This is not quite that bad, but it could certainly be better. My swipe gestures all worked just fine, they just didn’t glide as well as I would have expected. Maybe it has something to do with the digitizer, I don’t know. The trackpad is so much smoother than the glass, though, that I opt for the trackpad almost always. With the Surface Pro 3, it’s the opposite for me.

The panel itself is made by Chi Mei and carries the model number CMN1357. Unfortunately, HWinfo didn’t give a part number, so I can’t give you any more of the manufacturer specs other than that it’s 1080p at 60Hz. The viewing angles are probably rated at 85 degrees in each direction, as I have no problem at all reading the text on my screen, no matter how extreme the angle is. The brightness does start to taper off at around 45 degrees, but the colors stay consistent and it’s not out of the norm. By the way, my panel had zero backlight bleed.

I used a Spyder4Pro to calibrate the colors and measure some more specifications. Out of the box, the colors already looked great and the colorimeter didn’t change a whole lot. I got measured gamut values of 96% coverage for sRGB, 71% NTSC and 74% aRGB – all great results. At full brightness, the contrast ratio is 650:1, which is also good for a laptop screen. The brightness range of this panel is 25-378 nits. So not only will this screen work pretty well outdoors, it can also be looked at the second you open your eyes in the morning, without squinting.

Below is a chart showing the brightness distribution of the screen.

Hardware and performance

Powered by a Core i7-5500U Broadwell CPU, and 8GB of RAM, this convertible can certainly handle most of your daily tasks. It’s no quad-core, but it’s as close as you’re going to get without sacrificing battery life. For most people, the specs will be overkill, but some may find this machine perfectly capable of professional photo editing and graphics design work. It’s also capable of running CAD programs, although the lack of a graphics card does have its limitations.

As you would expect in a high end laptop, the Spectre x360 is equipped with a SSD. My unit came with an Adata 256GB M.2 SATA SSD. You can see the Crystal Disk benchmarks in the pictures. I’ve certainly seen better SSD write speeds, but this one is still pretty decent. I’m not really sure if there would be any benefit to upgrading the SSD, but you certainly have access to if you wanted. Since it’s M.2, the highest you can currently go is 512GB, with options from Crucial, Samsung and Transcend – all good drives.

Below are some of the benchmarks I ran. As expected, it performed slightly better than the i5 models we’ve been seeing and about on par with the other i7 Broadwell models.

  •  3Dmark 11: P1099;
  • 3Dmark 13:  Ice Storm – 41303, Cloud Gate – 4337, Sky Diver – 2080, Fire Strike – 565;
  • PCMark 08: Home Conventional – 2490, Accelerated – 3045 with 84C max temp
  • CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 29.73 fps, CPU 3.03 pts, CPU Single Core 1.39 pts;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 30.98 fps, CPU 274 pts, CPU Single Core 119 pts.
  • x264 Benchmark 4.0: Pass 1 – 85.57 fps, Pass 2 – 16.37 fps.

I also got a chance to try some games. Compared to the Broadwell i5 models I’ve tested, this i7 actually performed pretty decently. Here’s what I got:

Title/Graphics settings fps 720p fps 1080p
Tomb Raider – normal 20-28 14-17
Tomb Raider – low 36-50 25-32
Borderlands 2 – medium 20-32 15-20
Borderlands 2 – low 25-35 15-20
Portal 2 – high 45-60 40-60
Portal 2 – medium 60 55-60
Starcraft 2 – medium 28-35 24-30
Starcraft 2 – low 60-70 55-60

Like I’ve said before, integrated graphics isn’t for games. But this i7 is better than what I’ve seen in the past, and I think if you travel a lot and don’t mind playing older games on low graphics details, you won’t be too disappointed.

Windows 10

This article actually coincided with Windows 10 day, so I decided to take the early plunge and install it. I downloaded it to USB and installed it as an upgrade. The process was flawless – all the drivers and programs transferred over perfectly. My WiFi acted up(which I’ll discuss below), but I was able to help it a little by changing the driver setting to prefer 2.4Ghz. I’m crossing my fingers because so far I haven’t had any issues after that.

I’ve really enjoyed Windows 10 for the most part and I think it’s really going to make these convertibles so much more functional. As far as I can tell, it’s like using Windows 7 again with all the Windows 8 features running in the background. There are a couple complaints, one of which is the trackpad settings override Synaptics. So three finger swipes no longer navigate forward and back in web pages, but instead switch between apps. They really need to let us choose and I already went ahead and left a comment in the feedback section about it. In the meantime, I’m actually swiping the screen to navigate back and forth.

I won’t make this a Windows 10 review, but one last thing I wanted to mention was “tablet mode” in Windows 10.

You have the feature of enabling Tablet mode, which brings back the metro start menu and makes everything “touchable”. In other words, icons are bigger and more spread apart, the taskbar turns into a Nav bar and the desktop pretty much disappears. One cool feature the Spectre has with Windows 10 is when you flip the screen around, Windows 10 tablet mode automatically engages. I haven’t spent more than an hour with it so far, but it’s pretty cool, and you can of course turn that feature off if you don’t like it.

Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers and others

There is a single fan on the left hand side that has an intake on the bottom and exhausts on the left edge. Because of how thin the laptop is and the fact it’s an i7, it gets pretty hot quick – so don’t expect silent running. That said, the fan is relatively quiet and I hardly noticed it during normal use. When doing more heavy tasks, you certainly hear the fan ramp up to full speed though.

I took some readings using my sound detector. Ambient sound in my room was 20dB. With the fan on its lowest setting, I measured only 22dB at ear level. While playing a game, I ramped the fan all the way up but still only got a reading of 25dB. It’s really not a harsh sound at all but you will notice it in a quiet room. At work and at the coffee shop, where the ambient noise is louder, I never noticed it at all.

As for heat, the maximum CPU temperature I measured was 87C when pushing it with a game. The fan managed to keep temperatures equalized without having any noticeable throttling. Surface temperatures on the laptop were also measured, both during normal tasks and while under load playing a game. Here were my results.

temperatures-dailyuse temperatures-load* Daily use – internet surfing and watching movies (vent exhaust – 33 C)
* Gaming Use – Tomb Raider for 30 minutes on medium FHD settings (vent exhaust – 40 C)

WiFi performance is pretty good with the onboard wireless AC card. The brand is Intel AC 7265. At approximately 30 feet from my router, I was getting download speeds of 90.0 Mbps (maxed out my ISP). I pushed it further by taking it out on my pool deck, about 50 feet and two walls away. I got download speeds of around 65 Mbps.

Overall, I was very happy with the WiFi performance, but there is a small catch. For some reason I had issues connecting at work. When I turn on the computer or wake it from sleep, I get an error that it can’t connect to the network. After a couple minutes, though, it will eventually connect and stay that way provided I don’t put it back to sleep. I really can’t explain it and it doesn’t happen to me at home at all. There are also numerous other reports of this issue with no solid solution. Needless to say, if you’re buying one of these, you’ll want to quickly test your WiFi in all your favorite spots.

UPDATE: I’ve installed the latest bios and driver firmware and it seems to have solved the issues I was having.  I’ve tried to recreate the issue I was having and couldn’t so far.  Your mileage may vary though.

As for the speakers, there are only two onboard and they are both downward facing. I guess in this case that is a good thing, since in tablet mode they would be facing the wrong direction.

Regardless, as small as they are, they’re actually pretty good. At max volume I didn’t notice any distortion, as the sound quality was quite clear. The bass was audible as well and I didn’t feel any abnormal vibrations coming from the machine. I played a song and measured 82dB at ear level, which is plenty loud enough for anything you’ll be doing.

Battery life

My battery test consists of using the stock “Power Saver” power profile, 30% brightness(70 nits), WiFi off, Bluetooth off, and running a 720p movie in a continuous loop at full screen with the volume muted. I start the clock when it’s unplugged and stop it when the unit performs a self- shutdown. The Spectre x360 lasted a stellar 10 hours and 45 minutes before shutting down. I’ll admit, I was shocked when I woke up in the morning and it was still going. Very impressive battery life!

Unfortunately, I’m unable to provide any Batterymon results because it wasn’t working properly for some reason. I kept getting the same 3600mW and 7200mW discharge rates not matter what I was doing. I’ll continue to troubleshoot and try to get some more concrete results.

In the meantime, I can tell you that I have been using this laptop as my daily driver for nearly a week and I haven’t had to plug it in, in the middle of the day, once. I think most will easily be able to get all day battery life out of this machine(unless of course you need to literally keep it on all day). I typically use Microsoft office apps, heavy internet use on Chrome, Youtube and Netflix, all at full brightness.

Other notable things

The bios has some pretty cool and useful options that make your machine a little more useable. On top of the norm, you’re able to disable virtualization, toggle the fan to always be on, swap the F and action keys, disable USB 3.0, disable USB charging while sleeping and disable that pesky F5 LED.

The power adapter is pretty light and portable, which is expected for ultrabooks these days. The cord is plenty long too. I honestly only used it at night to recharge, so I didn’t travel with it at all. The difference in weight it will add to your bag is negligible though.

Price and availability

The model in this review can be purchased at many retailers and all their prices are all over the place, depending on what configuration you get and whether or not you choose refurbished. Most retailers are selling the i7 version, but you can also pick up the i5 version from Best Buy or directly from HP. The prices are so close though, that I would recommend getting the i7.

At the time of this review, Amazon currently has prices ranging from $980-$1280 for the i7 version. Follow this link for updated prices and configurations at the time you’re reading the post.

That aside, Best Buy might be the better choice for some, since they have all the different model options, including ones with a QHD screen. There’s even an $899 configuration, but only includes 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD, so I’d probably look into some of the beefier specs.

Final Thoughts

I’m not easily impressed with HP, but they certainly won me over with this one. The Spectre x360 is a highly versatile machine with excellent build quality. It’s obvious HP and Microsoft teamed up to make the most efficient and productive machine per pound and square inch. This is a worthy competitor to those also considering buying a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, a Macbook Air and a Surface Pro 3.

HP did most things right with the Spectre x360, that's why this is one of the best 2-in-1s out there

HP did most things right with the Spectre x360, that’s why this is one of the best 2-in-1s out there

The highlights of this machine are the incredible battery life, perfect screen and excellent user interface with the keyboard and trackpad. Let’s also not forget the build quality. Those features alone easily warrant the price they are asking. Sure there are a couple sacrifices to be made, such as the extra small feet which increase the risk of scratches, but that’s a small price to pay in comparison to what you get in the package.

The only thing I can ding HP on is the Wifi issue I’m having. I’m contacting their support on the issue and hope to get it resolved as soon as possible. I’ll be sure to post what I find out. Until then, I ask that you be wary of the issue and make sure to test your unit fully before your return policy is up.  UPDATE: So far, so good on my Wifi issues.  After a firmware update to the bios, a driver update and Windows 10, my issues seem to be better.  I have no idea which one was the fix, since they were all so close together.

My decision isn’t final, but I’m seriously considering keeping this and selling my Surface Pro 3. It’s going to be a mix on whether my Wifi issue gets cleared up and whether or not I’m able to use this machine in the same manner as my SP3. The size is a little bigger, but the power and battery life are so much better, so it’s too tough to call for now. I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide.

Well, that about wraps up my review. Sorry if it was too long, but I wanted to put as much into this as possible, since there’s so much to talk about. If there’s something I missed or if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below. If any of you are also experiencing the same issue as me, I’d also like to hear about it.

In addition to being a tech enthusiast, Derek has a career as a biomedical engineer. He enjoys taking things apart, figuring out how they work and finding ways to make them better. His other hobbies include spending time with his family, "Do it yourself" projects such as home automation and running.


  1. Marek Tatraj

    July 31, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Hi , thanks for the great review! :) I am just thinking about buying this beauty, instead of my faulty XPS 12(pitty they didnt get upgraded).

    I am curious what do you think about 5200 version with 8GB?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 31, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Before Derek jumps in, I just want to say that’s the one I’d recommend to a regular buyer. From what I can see, the i5 / 8 GB RAM / 256 GB SSD model sells for $999, while the i7 is $1149. I find it hard to justify paying $149 extra unless you’ll actually put the computer to work and benefit from the i7.

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      The i5 version will still be pretty good for most people I think. It depends what you do really. If you’re using demanding programs or if you insist on playing games, I’d go with the i7, because the cooling system is good enough to handle it and all my benchmarks showed an improvement over the i5. If all you’re doing is web stuff and lightweight programs though, save your money and get an i5. Definitely stick with 8GB of RAM though, because there’s no upgrading it and 4GB is quickly becoming too little to get by with.

      • Marek

        August 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        Guys thanks for the answer. I am web developer so I am might code there, but no games or video editing.

        • Marek

          August 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm

          PS: In my country i7 version cost 400 euro more (because I7 have pro version of Windows)

      • brian marshall

        November 4, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        Hi Derek,

        Great review of the Spectre X360.
        I have the surface Pro 3 (which I use as an all day business laptop replacement) and wanted a larger screen laptop with the pen functionality.
        The pro 3 pen is so good that I have dispensed with using the track-pad or a mouse.
        The issue is whether to go for the X360 or the new Microsoft Surface Book once the niggles are sorted out. (haven’t used the tablet on its own, so this element is superfluous for my needs.
        Do you have the same pen functions using the dell pen with the X360 as you do using the n-trig pen with the surface pro 3? (apart from the onenote eraser issue).

        • Derek Sullivan

          November 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm

          Besides the eraser button, both pens perform about the same. But you also lose the purple button which is a good, quick way to open onenote and add pages. If you’re used to that, you might miss it. For me, I wouldn’t care either way though. I always keep bluetooth off on my SP3 so my purple button is disabled anyways.

  2. Ahmed

    August 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Derek,
    Thank you very much for such an amazing review. I am more interested in 15″ convertibles though. So, I was wondering if you can share you thoughts about the newer versions of HP’s 15″ Envy x360? The specific model I am talking about is the HP ENVY x360 – 15-w005na (store.hp.com/UKStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=M1N44EA&opt=ABU&mastersku=M1N44EA&masteropt=ABU&sel=NTB&). I am very tempted to buy it, especially that this model has the FHD display, a 2GB NIVIDIA GeForce 930M, and a 256 SSD storage. What do you think?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 2, 2015 at 12:41 am

      We don’t have that exact model in the US so I’m not sure if it’s similar to the ones on sale here. I honestly never had much interest in it since it was so thick and had no good options/deals here. In my opinion, the Asus 15″ convertible(I think they call it the flip now) was a better deal because it was a little lighter, thinner and cheaper. But your model at least has discrete graphics though, which is a plus that we don’t have available here. Too bad they didn’t go 940M or 950M because they certainly should have had room for it. Judging by the reviews I’ve read on the Envy x360, I’d say it’s a safe buy though. If I get to the store in the next couple days, I’ll go look at a display model again and let you know.

  3. Tommy Ipsen

    August 2, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    The girl friend just bought the Spectre x360 (i5,256Gb SSD,FHD) a couple of days ago – priced at 1.322$ here in Denmark (very competitive price!) while the i7, 256Gb SSD, QHD) is priced at 1.911$.
    Very positive experience so far – upgraded to Windows 10 right away and everything seems to be running smoothly.
    BTW: Had good use of this website researching the different options Lenovo Yoga, Asus Zenbook, Lenovo XPS, Samsung ATIV Book 9 – even Macbooks – but ended up buying the Spectre x360 and so far it seems like a good choice.
    Cheers, Tommy

  4. Michal

    August 5, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    How loud is it compared to your Dell XPS 13 (1080p, i5)? Many people say that i5 model is mostly passively cooled (some say even during installations and similar). Do you think that the fans kick in more often because of the Win10 or the i7?
    Have you switched to Win10 with you XPS 13?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      I don’t have the XPS 13 – That’s Andrei. I had one for a week and returned it though because of a very bad coil whine issue(I had the i5 version). Before my issue started, the fan on the XPS 13 was more noticeable than this one imo. That was a while ago so it’s hard to compare.

  5. Dan

    August 5, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    You should have a look at the HP pro x2 612
    Would be interesting to read your impressions on that.

    It also reviews very well, and is meant to be a great alternative to the Surface Pro 3.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      I’ve seen it before. Those are nice but I’ve never been too big a fan of those types of convertibles. They are always thicker and heavier than just having an Ultrabook and I rarely use Windows machines just as tablets. That’s just me though. What won me over with the SP3 was how thin and light it was, even with the keyboard cover.

  6. Rob

    August 5, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Great review! I’ve been looking for an ultrabook that is up to par with my wife’s macbook air for a while and this looks like it could finally contend. It sounds like the trackpad is a great upgrade. One thing though is that I’ve been wanting something that can at least do some moderate gaming. I checked out the asus zenbooks but not only does the trackpad seem to fall short, the monitor issue is a complete deal breaker. I’m considering going with this machine just as a consumption device and possibly doing some emulator/indie games. HP is selling the i7 version certified refurbished for about 990, seems like a great deal, thoughts?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Hey Rob. That’s a good deal, although I’ve seen some better ones out there for the refurbs if you live in the US. Adorama for example. Just make sure you do a thorough test because the warranty is limited and HP’s customer service is pretty difficult to deal with sometimes.

      • Rob

        August 27, 2015 at 11:19 pm

        I saw the comment andrei left below (couldn’t directly respond to it) about skylake possibly coming out Oct/Nov. My question is whether you think the improvement will be very substantial to justify waiting. I do plan on doing some light gaming with the machine for when I’m traveling. I don’t -need- to buy one now, I’ve just been putting this off for such a long time that I don’t want to get frozen in the update loop.

        • Derek Sullivan

          August 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm

          I’d wait for Skylake if you can. Broadwell got so delayed that I’m surprised they didn’t just skip it. Skylake will be the best you can buy till the middle of next year. Even then, Cannonlake is delayed until late 2017 and they implemented Kaby Lake as a filler in 2016. KAby Lake is probably not going to be a big jump from Skylake, so playing the waiting game after Skylake will be pretty pointless.

          Regardless, Skylake is only a couple months away and will be a marginal improvement in CPU speed and probably battery life. On top of that it will drive down the cost of the Broadwell units, especially during the holidays.

          • michael

            August 31, 2015 at 11:56 am

            I have read yesterday that Skylake x360 and Dell XPS 13 may be announced at the IFA 2015 early September.
            If you want better gaming performance, it might be worth to wait 1-2 months. For pure CPU performance or battery life there is not going to be huge improvement I think.

  7. Logan

    August 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    2 questions. Will i7 make the device hotter than i5? & would buying pre-installed W10 version be better than buying w8.1 then upgrading? I’ve heard that upgrading to 10 conserves more battery life so I’m so torn on this. Your thoughts?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      If you can get a Windows 8.1 version, get that and then do the free upgrade. That way you can preserve your Windows 8.1 key if you ever wanted to go back. I haven’t noticed much of a difference in battery life except that there is a battery saver mode which seems to disable all the background tasking of the metro apps. As for the heat questions, I can’t comment too much because I only have the i7, but it’s safe to assume the i5 will be a little cooler.

  8. M_X

    August 20, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Great Review. Thanks. Before reading it I was thinking about buying a Dell XPS 13 or an ASUS UX303. Now the Spectre is my new favorite. If you type a lot(!), sometimes outside, work with photoshop now and then, play games only a little and think the touchscreen/convertible functions are rather optional: Which one would you buy of these three?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      It’s a toss up between the Dell and The HP. I’ve held all 3 and I can tell you for sure I didn’t like the Asus UX303 all that much. The only thing it has going for it over the others is the price and steer clear of the 4k screen on that one. The keyboards on both units are about the same quality but the trackpad on the HP is superior to the Dell. The HP also has that added functionality of flipping around and the ability for pen input. The Dell on the other hand is both lighter and more portable. If all specs and prices were equal I would choose the HP, but you really can’t go wrong with either choice.

      • michael

        August 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

        I cant check the Spectre x360 i my local PC shop but I have seen some HP Pavilions x360 (very similar to this one) with FHD IPS touchscreen and was ssurprised how reflective the screen was. It looked like a mirror and was definitely the most reflective screen compared to about 20 other laptops with the non-matte screens. I understand it has a lot to do with touchscreen but I have checked also Retina MB Pro, new 12″ MB and there was definitely a big difference. I was still able to see myself even though the screen was at full brightness and it was quite distracting. It was Pavilion x360 but I am a bit afraid the Spectre may have similar reflective screen. I have been using only glare screens in my laptops since 2005 and it never bothered me using it indoors. But I am not sure it would not bother me in the long run.

        I have noticed only one reviewer who compared it to Retina MBP and iPad and said it is much more reflective than both. So I would probably give a good thought if you really want the touchscreen or prefer some matte version. Asus UX303 offers such but otherwise in my opinion it is definitely not as premium quality as the Spectre or XPS.

        • michael

          August 24, 2015 at 7:26 am

          just an extra info: my previous laptops with glare screens didnt bother me as moving the brightness all the way up usually solved the issue with reflections. With the Pavilion it didnt, I was still seeing myself even with the full brightness. Have you experienced it also?

        • Derek Sullivan

          August 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

          Two things to consider combating reflections on glare screens is the brightness and the existence of a touchscreen. For me, I always choose glare panels over matte because the images are generally more crisp and the colors aren’t washed out. So for outdoor use, I’ve found 300 nits of brightness to be adequate but 350 nits is best to wipe out reflections. But when you add a touch panel, it changes. The problem with touch panels is you now have two reflective surfaces – the glare panel and a piece of glass. The closer they are fused together the better, but on some laptops the vendors leave a gap, which makes reflections insanely bad in outdoor use.

          In general, I’ve found touchscreen laptops to be very difficult to use outdoors, even with 350 nits of brightness. Phones are the same way – most are very difficult to read unless the brightness is 400 nits or more(which not all phones can reach). I wish laptop makers would follow Asus’s example with the Transformer Infinity and make the max brightness 460 nits. That screen was stellar to look at outdoors! But as a trade-off, it killed your battery.

          • michael

            August 24, 2015 at 2:25 pm

            Exactly! I am the same. I prefered glare screens that had proper backlight and it never bothered me. I forgot that with the touchscreens it is a bit different and mostly – with this HP Pavilion’s screen built – I was really surprised how disturbingly reflective it was even indoors. I might get used to it but it may bother me a lot as well :(
            I will probably rather look at Dell XPS 13 or Acer Travelmate P645-S… Do you have an idea when could the Skylake laptops be out?

          • Derek Sullivan

            August 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm

            Word on the street is Oct-Nov for the U processors. I’m sure almost all manufacturers are going to push to have a model by the end of November, for the holidays.

          • M_X

            August 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

            Thank you for the answers! I went to the store the other day and checked the model with WQHD-Display and found the reflections really annoying – even indoors.
            But I heard that the model with Full HD-Display was way better because it was much brighter. Is that true? Maybe then I’ll wait for the Skylake Update since I saw that the new model will come again with Full HD. Hopefully in Germany too where right now I only can find the WQHD-model.

          • Derek Sullivan

            August 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm

            It’s possible but I don’t know for certain. You have to be careful with display models because they might not have been set up properly. Adaptive brightness might have been left on, which sometimes prohibits the max brightness from being attained. Might be something to recheck, if you make it there again. Also if you can pull a model number on the panel, you can look up the specs yourself. HWInfo would show it(although there wasn’t one listed on the FHD model, which is a first to me)

  9. bm

    August 22, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I have the SP3 (surface pro 3) and use it all day as a business laptop replacement.

    I haven’t used it as a tablet during my 9 months of ownership so clearly don’t need a tablet. not having a hinge and a smallish screen has led me to search for a replacement. The Dell XPS 13 sounds like the perfect machine (screen size, performance, build quality, low weight and dimensions, touchscreen) except it does not work with a haptic pen. These pens clearly speed up operational efficiency but I cannot find any low weight ultrabooks which work with a haptic pen.

    Anyone have any ideas. I think having a haptic pen is a real advancement and am surprised nobody is producing a good lightweight laptop with these pens. Dell do the XPS 12 which might work but again the screen is a little small.

    Any suggestions?:)

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      When you say haptic pen, do you actually mean it gives haptic feedback when you use it? Or maybe did you just mean a pen that works with an active digitizer?

      Other than the x360, SP3 and the Thinkpad Yoga, there really aren’t that many other choices for pen input at 12-13″. Most devices using a pen will be smaller tablets/convertibles. Hopefully this
      becomes a feature in more future models since 2-in-1’s are becoming so popular.

      • bm

        August 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

        Hi,Thanks for the reply,

        I mean active digitizer to work with a pressure sensing screen. I can hover the pen above the Pro 3 screen and the pen will react with the screen without having to touch onto the screen.

        I am looking for the same functionality that can be achieved from the N-Trig pen that comes with the Pro 3, save for onenote which is not needed.

        I am now looking at the Spectre 360 and Yoga 3 as per your comments but do not know if they have the same pen funtionality. They are both larger and heavier than the XPS 13. The other thought is whether they have more glare in natural light but they might be the only options?

        • Derek Sullivan

          August 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

          The Spectre x360 has pen input with pressure support. I used the Dell Active Stylus for my review. The Yoga 3 does not have pen input – sorry if I gave you that impression. As far as I know, the only Lenovo laptop with pen input is the Thinkpad Yoga, which is different.
          I’ve never used the Yoga so I can’t tell you anything about it. You’re going to dea with glare on all of these. They all have glare panels, which is necessary for touch.

  10. Hlovate

    September 4, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I have always love your reviews. You always mention the details very well and things that other reviews missed. Should I buy this one or should I buy toshiba satellite radius 14″ and why? Hp spectre x360 was my choice but the price makes me doubt myself (it’s expensive in my country) by the way, thank you and stay awesome.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 5, 2015 at 12:32 am

      Thanks for the compliment! I don’t think you can go wrong with the x360. It’s certainly more appealing than the Radius 14 in both size and build. I guess it mainly depends on the price difference of the two. You also have to consider the hardware differences. In my country, most of the radius 14’s came with a 500GB HDD and an i3, which is nowhere near as good of performance and I personally wouldn’t be able to tolerate. I like the build quality of the Toshiba 14 but it’s not as good as the x360 and the screen options may not be great depending on the model. The size and weight difference is pretty significant too. If you’re bent on using tablet mode, I think the Radius 14 will be too heavy for a lot of people. Really, you’re getting what you pay for with both, but if the price was affordable for either, I would choose the x360 no question.

  11. ALEX

    September 7, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Excellent review!!! Thanks!

  12. Martin

    September 9, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Can you please provide additional details regarding how you tested the battery life? I want to reproduce an identical test on my Spectre x360 since I am having difficulty squeezing even 6.5-7 hours of very light use battery life out of mine. I have the i5 1080p one. I think something might be wrong with my unit and if I can’t match your battery life with an identical test, I am returning mine.

    – What software did you use for the video playback?
    – What codec was the 720p video using? DivX/XviD? h264?
    – You mention you use the stock “Power Saving” profile. By default, this profile has the screen turn off after X minutes of idle time. Was the screen off during the video playback or was it on the entire time?

    Also, does your trackpad miss left clicks about 15% to 30% of the time? If not, can you please tell me the exact version of the Synaptic drivers you have installed? Maybe this is a Win 8 issue with this laptop — I have seen it reported at other places.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 10, 2015 at 5:22 am

      I used WMP on Windows 8.1 for my test. Video was H.264 and the screen was set to not turn off. It won’t turn off during video playback anyways.

      My trackpad never missed a left click – at least not that I noticed.

      • Martin

        September 14, 2015 at 4:02 am

        OK, mine’s definitely going back tomorrow to BestBuy. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with my next one.

  13. Hamdy

    September 23, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Thank you for the detailed review that convinced me to order the Spectre X360 directly from HP and take advantage of their limited time 20% discount. I have been for sometime now reviewing and comparing specs and reviews of Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo X1 Carbon to find out which is a better ultrabook for my needs and budget. I was also hoping to get an ultrabook with a 6th generation Intel Skylake processor but decided not to wait longer for it as it would not have large differences from the current 5th generation to justify a longer wait (probably will be available in ultrabooks by October-Novermber).

  14. Muradori

    October 4, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Derek. Thanks a million for your review which is so easy to read. You just choose the right words, think about writing books for a minute ;-)
    I got this machine for over four months now. First time I returned it, was because my battery seemed not to be enduring and the fan was always on. Second time because of poor performance of loud speakers (they cracked). Third and fourth time because I wanted to get the credit note…
    In the meantime, I switched from Win8 to 10 and one thing I was really disappointed in, was the Synaptics in Win10. Do you think they’ll revert the option to use the 3-finger swipe for navigating back and forth?
    You wrote that there’s no big difference between 256gb and 512gb SSD in this machine, why? And last question: Do you think there’ll be a cool unit coming out with Skylake soon (convertible) which is worth waiting?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 4, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of losing the three finger swipe either. It looks like all the Synaptics and Precision touchpad drivers across the board got updated to remove that feature, while the Elan drivers retained it. The Elan drivers on the other hand don’t have the app quick switching feature like the Synaptics does(three or four finger up – can’t remember off hand). So far, none I’ve seen are perfect and they barely give you any options to switch anything. I wish they would let us decide what gesture does what and be done with it.

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply there was no difference between the SSDs. The only thing I was getting at was there would be little reason to upgrade the SSD except for the size. I was referring to the speed differences in case people thought the SSD was too slow.

  15. Rob

    October 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Derek, one of the things I keep coming back to is how this will compare with my several year old gaming laptop. I have an ASUS G-73JH which has actually preformed very well over the years, priorities in life have just changed and I need something less obnoxious with more battery life. While I understand this isn’t a gaming machine I’m hoping the advancements over the last 5 years have brought integrated chips to at least exceed what I have now. With skylake models releasing over this weekend I’m considering pulling the trigger but I’d hate to actually have a downgrade on performance.

    Secondly, they want something like $350+ for the 512GB SSD, thoughts on buying and installing yourself to save some money?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Even though the 5870 mobility is a little dated, it’s still better than integrated graphics. Broadwell’s HD 5500 is equivalent to AMD’s 6550D if you want to compare benchmark specs directly. There’s no benchmarking comparisons for Skylake yet but I doubt the added performance fills the gap to your desires. You might want to look for an Ultrabook with a dedicated graphics card such as the Asus UX303 series.

      As for upgrading the SSD, you can buy a 500GB M.2 drive on Amazon for roughly $180.

      • Rob

        October 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm

        Thanks for the quick response, I was afraid that was going to be the answer. I enjoy the trackpad on the 360 so much more, which is really important for the couch surfing I find myself doing these days. From your quick breakdown of the x360 during the review did you think getting to the SSD was pretty simple? Were there any warranty stickers you had to go through to get there? I’m rather tech savy and don’t mind doing the upgrade myself if it isn’t too crazy.

        • Derek Sullivan

          October 5, 2015 at 1:44 pm

          It’s nothing too crazy. The hardest part was figuring out which way to get the clips to release off the cover. Once you do that, the SSD is right at the top. You can see in the picture that all you have to do is remove a screw and lift a flap back to get the SSD out.

        • Derek Sullivan

          October 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

          One more thing to pay attention to is the Wifi card is right at the top edge and is pretty easy to accidentally disconnect the antenna wires.

          • Rob

            October 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm

            Thanks, do you think the move to an asus 303 line notebook would both worth it in gaming performance or do you think we’re still a few generations off from decent ultrabook gaming?

          • Derek Sullivan

            October 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm

            Actually, compared to what you have now, the UX303UB is practically equivalent. There are some benchmarks of the 5870 mobility that are a little higher, but I don’t really understand where those numbers came from and they are possibly the desktop variant. The 940M should be more powerful in every category. The CPUs are about equal though and all the memory is clocked faster. I think it will be fine as long as you’re willing to downscale the resolution. You might want to read all the warnings Andrei wrote about the 4k screen though. If you can find a 1080p version, I’d go with that.

            Gaming Ultrabooks are actually becoming the norm. I’d guess in a couple years, most gaming laptops will be thin and only the major hardcore ones will be over an inch. I currently use a GS60 which has a 970M and a quad core CPU. It tackles pretty much everything I throw at it and it’s both thin and light. The only drawback is the HQ processor isn’t made for battery life. That’s where the U processors come in, but you sacrifice some performance if you choose to go that route. In general, the U processors are paired nicely to the 950M series and below and the HQ processors should be paired with 960M thru 980M. The higher the graphics card number, the more heat and thus the thicker it will need to be in order to run properly.

          • Rob

            October 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm

            Really appreciate the feedback on gaming notebooks. Time to check out the HP Omen!

  16. wem

    October 21, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Dear Mr. Derek,
    Thank you for excellent review on HP X360 i7.

    Actually, I have been going to and fro between this laptop and thinkpad Lenovo yoga 14 i7 for my next working companion.

    I usually do lots of emails, documents and spreadsheets, plus sending photos for product presentation.

    I would love to have a good screen for photo editing because accurate colour rendition I think is quite important. Some occasional games are Ok too.

    How would you compare between these Two?
    Any suggestions?
    I really appreciate your time and opinions.

    Thank you and best regards.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 21, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      I really can’t compare since I’ve never spent more than 10-15 minutes with a Yoga of any variant. I can say that the HP x360 Spectre will be more than fine for your needs. The measured color accuracy is also really good. My wife does photo edits on a similar screen with a Haswell Ultrabook i5 processor and has no problems at all. The only reason I didn’t keep this for her is it was 13″ and she prefers to edit on 15″

      • wem

        October 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm

        Dear Mr. Derek.
        Thank you for your quick reply.

        You just saved my day!
        I know what to get now.
        Hp X360 it is.

        Best regards

  17. Khalid

    October 26, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Hi Derek,

    Trust you’re well. Just wanted to add my sentiments to those already received; your review is thorough, refreshingly “real world usage” centric and as a result empowers informed decisions by readers. An elusive and very welcome combination in a space of simple opinions and observations.

    I plan to wait for Skylarke and dive in early 2016. Do you think 2560 x 1880 will cause too many scaling issues for an average user or are more publishers/ content providers embracing this increasing resolution. Your perspective greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance…Khalid, Sydney, Australia.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      It should be ok, but I think the resolution is 2560×1440, not 2560×1880. 2.5k+ screens have been on Ultrabooks since Haswell, so Skylake should be able to handle it pretty easily. If you plan on playing any games though, I’d opt for the FHD screen or plan on downscaling a lot when you play. From what I’ve seen, 2560×1440 interpolates down to 1920×1080 pretty well when you have to scale, so it shouldn’t be an issue which ever choice you make. You might want to wait on an initial review of the screen though. I’ve seen both good and bad 2.5k screens, so hopefully they keep it consistent with the quality of the FHD screen.

      I’ve always liked the 2560×1440 resolution for 13″ screens. I really think it’s the sweet spot between having a crisp picture and not having scaling issues. 1080p is still fine by me though.

  18. Sebastian Riedel

    October 28, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Now did you keep it in the end over the SP3? Or did you even get a SP4 already?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 28, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      No, I kept the SP3. Main reason was how much lighter and thinner it was. I’ll probably be getting the SP4 – just not sure when. It’s very expensive though… My eyes are also on the Spectre 12 x2 which releases in the US next week.

      • ace01

        November 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm

        Derek, have you considered the Yoga 900? All that the x360 offers but in a thinner lighter package.

        • Derek Sullivan

          November 4, 2015 at 1:31 pm

          I’ve only seen other articles about it. I’m hoping to see one in person soon. It looks like a great machine though.

        • brian marshall

          November 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

          Does the Yoga 900 work with an active digitiser pen?

  19. Roger

    December 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Excellent review: thanks.

    Here in Australia it’s difficult to get sensible information on the Spectre: HP “contact” are hopeless.

    A big retailer (Harvey Norman) told me yesterday (3 Dec 2015) that the i5 128GB model is being discontinued, yet the HP website still shows it. Any comments?

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 4, 2015 at 1:56 am

      Sorry, I have no idea about HP’s availability. In the US, we literally only have two models for sale in a single store and the HP site has more options. I’m guessing your retailer is just narrowing down their stock and limiting to what they thing will sell.

  20. Windsor Furr

    February 6, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Derek, you mentioned being able to do CAD on this machine. What CAD package would you recommend? Thanks.

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 7, 2016 at 1:46 am

      I use Solidworks. It runs pretty decently on integrated graphics but you have to change the settings around a little bit for it to be optimized.

  21. Kr

    September 1, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Derek,

    I loved your review. I’ve been on the fence between the Dell XPS 13″ and The x360 for a couple of weeks now. What has pushed me slightly further into the x360 camp, is its versatility. I loved the tablet option, and on an off note I am not a fan of shallow keys( as the Dell XPS 13 has been accused of having.)

    What has now scared me, is the mountain of complaints regarding the x360’s cracked screen. Perhaps, I am exaggerating but most of the complaints are eerily similar, where they all closed their laptops, whether overnight or over a couple of hours, only to find it cracked upon opening.

    Since you have now spent quite a while with it. Have you encountered any issues such as this or heard of any since February? Or am I simply being paranoid

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Kr,

      I haven’t really spent that long with it – I only reviewed it for a short time before I moved on. I haven’t really heard any complaints on cracked screens until now though. It looks like a number of users had issues with them in the HP forums. I don’t know, it sounds like its a small amount of people though. A quick glance at Amazon and out of 200 reviews, only 2 had the issue that I could see. It’s a terrible problem because I doubt HP would ever warranty that. If you’re that concerned, maybe look into an accidental damage coverage plan as well. I’m with you on the keyboard though. I liked the X360 a little better. The touchpad was fantastic too. The XPS 13 is still a really nice laptop too though. My wife still uses the XPS 15 which is a bigger version and she loves it.

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