HP Spectre x360 13-inch review – the 2-in-1 ultraportable to get


  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.

  22. Carlos

    January 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Hello Dereck,

    I have read all your complete information about the "HP SPECTRE X360" and the different comments of your followers.

    I already bought this laptop for my wife, but I could not find the "Dell Active Stylus 750-AAGN", do you have another pen reference that works well? Do you know the "HP Stylus Active"? Is it compatible with the HP SPECECT X 360?


    • Derek Sullivan

      January 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      You have to be careful when buying pens from HP because they also sell pens for the Spectre x2, which is a different brand digitizer(Wacom I believe). The x360 is Synaptics brand so there's a good chance that if the pen is Synaptics, it'll probably work.

  23. Key

    May 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Dereck
    I was thinking to get Asus UX360CA Zenbook Flip 13.3" Core M3-7Y30 8GB 512GB SSD and I can get it for 884 euro. But I sudenly founded your review, and I haven't seen better review writer then you. So I founded HP Spectre Pro x360 G2 13.3 QHD Touch, Intel® Core™ i5-6200U, 8GB, 256GB SSD, Intel® HD 520 and I can get it for 970 euro, but it is from RENEW program, and I dont cnow if I shoud be afraid of that renew program items, and as far as I understand this is an older version. I'm searching ultrabook for dayly use, I'm not a gamer but Asus has a glossy screen and isn't so powerful compared with Hp. Thank you in advance for help choosing

    • Derek Sullivan

      May 3, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I've never heard of that program. It could be just old stock that's still new in the box or it could be refurbished. It's Skylake though, so it's not really that old. Considering the prices are so close, that's a tough decision. The x360 will easily outperform the UX360CA, but you might not really need that performance. The Zenbook is fanless though, so that's a plus. My dealbreaker would be the keyboard not being backlit and the screen being dim. If either of those were better, the Zenbook would probably be my pick, mainly because it's thinner and lighter. But since I use my laptop a lot at night, I would want my keys lit or at least have a bright enough screen to make them visible.

      Your call, but if it were me, I would probably go the x360 route.

  24. Adam

    August 3, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Hey there Derek. Are you still updating this? Haven't heard from you yet. Thanks man.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 3, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      I haven't touched on this one in some time, especially after the new one came out. Did you have a particular question on it?

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