HP Spectre x360 (2018) review

This flagship 2-in-1 laptop gets the job done

HP Spectre x360

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We’ve tested the x360 over the course of a couple of weeks, and find it to keep up with almost anything we can throw at it. Switching between laptop and tablet mode occurs quickly, without any delay or stuttering as Windows 10 switches between modes.


Here’s how the HP Spectre x360 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 3,529; Fire Strike: 891; Time Spy: 344
Cinebench CPU: 506 points; Graphics: 46 fps
GeekBench 4: 4,625 (single-core); 13,575 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,055 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 5 hours and 4 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 7 hours and 28 minutes

The HP Spectre x360 was able to tackle several apps at the same time, from Mail to Chrome with multiple tabs and Slack. We don’t even remember hearing the fans kicking on for too long, or even if they did at all, since they were quiet enough to blend into the background.

The Spectre x360 and its lack of a dedicated GPU won’t prove to be a gaming machine, but it’s still powerful enough to handle casual gaming.

The Spectre x360 scored lower than the Yoga 920, and well below that of the Surface Book 2 on one of our benchmark tests, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a vastly slower laptop. 

In some cases, the scores were close enough that experiencing real-world difference in performance is unlikely. For example, with GeekBench scores for the single-core test of 4,625, 4,677, and 4,123 for the Spectre x360, Yoga 920, and Surface Book 2, respectively, are close enough to call it a tie. 

Not counting 3DMark score comparisons between the Surface Book 2 and the HP Spectre x360, the latter of which has a dedicated GPU compared to an integrated GPU in HP’s offering, the Spectre x360 holds its ground quite well.

Battery life

HP is proud of the Spectre x360’s battery life. On the website, it boasts up to 16 hours of use. While that may very well be the case with a minimal workload, we couldn’t quite get there. 

Both our looping video playback benchmark and our real world testing resulted in battery life just under 8 hours, or about half of what HP claims. 

Eight hours is plenty to get through a full day of work, no doubt – not to mention all flights across the US, Australia and western Europe. But, you’re not going to be able to work a full day and then go home and binge some Netflix without first hunting down the HP Spectre x360’s charger.

HP Spectre x360

Features and software

At first, we were a bit puzzled by the fingerprint sensor. It looks more like a power button, or some sort of covered up port, than it does a biometric scanner.

However, putting the fingerprint sensor on the side of the chassis is a great idea and makes for easy access no matter how you’re using the HP Spectre x360. When you’re in laptop mode, quickly resting your finger on the side feels totally natural. At the same time, in tablet mode, the fingerprint sensor is still readily available for signing into your account.

The same can be said for the power button and volume controls — both of which are readily available regardless of how you use the Spectre x360.

What we wish would stop being so readily available, though, is McAfee’s security suite. We are constantly being bugged to finish the signup process for McAfee’s software, no matter how often we exit the app or try to tell it to go away.

It’s mind boggling that this software is still pushed on consumers in such a disrespectful fashion. Users don’t need to be reminded every couple of hours to sign up for a service.

We liked

The HP Spectre x360 is one fine-looking laptop. It’s smooth appearance with polished highlights practically calls you to it. The fingerprint sensor tucked onto the side is convenient for use in any mode, and the stylus is included in the box.

We disliked

With an extra column of keys to the right of the Backspace, errant presses of a Home or Page Up key are all too common. While lengthy, battery life falls short of the 16.5-hour estimate.

HP Spectre x360

Final verdict

The HP Spectre x360 is a machine that’s full of surprises. Between a conveniently placed fingerprint reader and a touchpad that’s big and responsive, to a rather strange column of keys, there’s plenty to like and only a little to dislike. 

Overall performance is strong, and it’s a reasonably priced, premium-grade 2-in-1 laptop, especially when compared to the competition. Including an HP Pen is a nice touch, saving the end user a bit of money. 

We have no problem recommending the HP Spectre x360 to those in the market for a 2-in-1 that has enough battery to get through a workday, and can keep up with everyday use.

  • Images Credit: TechRadar