Spectre x360: Luxury gets a slight revamp

Mirza Mohammed Ali Khan | Updated on: Apr 24, 2019
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Some design changes, some new features on the premium range from HP

In February this year, HP launched multiple high-end luxury laptops in the Folio range that is made in leather, as well as revamped models in its Spectre range. One of the highlights of the Spectre range has been its premium looks and its design has underlined that its target customers are those with money to spare — a notion the laptops’ price confirms. HP has also typically gone with high-end specs on the Spectre. Here is how the revamped laptop behaved.

The model we received for review was the higher-end version, with an Intel Core i7 eighth-gen processor and 512 GB of SSD storage. There’s a lower version too, with an i5 eighth-gen processor and 256 GB of storage.

HP has gone full stylish, with the box also sleek in a golden and black ensemble. The new Spectre x360 gets cut-away edges next to the hinges and these also functionally help when prising the laptop from its box. Tipping the scales at a little over 1 kg, HP has kept things pretty light with an all-aluminium design. The unit came in a Poseidon Blue colour and it exudes class as well as a professional charm. The gilted edges keep things glamorous and the gem-cut design ensures that it grabs eyeballs when set on a desk or workstation.

Flip the Spectre 360 open and you are greeted with a familiar-looking keyboard layout and a smooth trackpad with the fingerprint sensor set to its right — the whole arrangement making it intuitively easy to reach. The keys could feel cramped but only very slightly and that also depends on how big/small your palm and fingers are. Overall, the backlit keys have good travel and typing is hassle-free. The trackpad is quite responsive and feels nice to touch and slide along.

The cut-away edges of this laptop have some utility attached to them, although we found it a tad awkward. The power button is on the left edge and there is a USB Type C port on the right edge. The Type C port is located well if you want to use it to charge the laptop as the cable easily snakes around the screen and slots in. But one could well spend some time looking for where the power button is as it is uniquely placed. There is another Type C slot on the right along with a 3.5 mm audio jack and card reader. There’s also a tiny light indicating charge and battery. On the left, you get one regular USB slot and maybe design constraints prevented HP from putting in another one, which would have been welcome.

On the hardware front, one innovation that the Spectre x360 gets is a camera-kill switch that cuts off the webcam when toggled, so those concerned about privacy needn’t cover up the webcam during use.

The screen and display is standard premium HP fare in a positive way. Lovely colour reproduction, very accommodating viewing angles, adequate brightness and legibility are all the pros of the 13-inch full-HD display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, which is a good thing given that it’s a touchscreen too.

Touch response was good too, but obviously not as buttery smooth as on high-end phones. However, that is something that is pretty much common across convertibles. The Spectre flips all the way back as the ‘x360’ suffix suggests and switches seamlessly between tablet and laptop mode. In tablet mode, the device is comfortable to work with if held when sitting upright or when set on a table, but don’t expect it to be easy to lie down with to watch something or read an e-book. The size makes that slightly taxing. With an i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, this laptop handled everything thrown at it. If it had a bigger screen, even professional designers could have used this as their only machine given its performance prowess. HP also threw in its pen and we did have some fun doodling. But on the flipside, the Spectre was quick to heat up and this heat is felt even more uncomfortably in the tablet mode. After a while of use, we even felt the heat seep to the keys. We wonder how laptop-makers in general will reconcile compact design with efficient heat management.

The 61 Wh battery did well, giving us well over six hours on a single charge with regular use. So it looks like it will serve varied heavy uses also quite satisfactorily. It also charges up fairly quick, in a little less than three hours, in our experience. Bang & Olufsen audio does well in a small room, but with the window AC on, we found ourselves reaching for the headset.

The Spectre x360 is for those who want looks as much as performance. If you have the money to spare and are looking at non-Apple laptops, this line-up might warrant your attention.

Price: Starts at ₹1,39,990

Pros: Premium looks, top notch specs, good performance, good display and battery life

Cons: Heats up quick, audio at this price needs to be better

Published on April 24, 2019

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