HP Spectre x360 (2015) review

A sublimely thin 2-in-1 laptop that's almost perfect

HP Spectre x360 review

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Together, HP and Microsoft have put together one of the sharpest looking 2-in-1 convertible laptops ever. Without any foreknowledge, most people would think the HP Spectre x360 was nothing more than an attractive, all-aluminum laptop.

Thanks to a pair of well-engineered gear hinges, the transforming element of this laptop adds almost no extra weight, awkward proportions or clunky mechanics. Instead, the x360 only inherits the added flexibility of a 2-in-1 machine; letting you use it more ways than just on your lap.

We liked

There's a long laundry list of things to like about the HP Spectre x360. The all-aluminum body is solid and sleek. Performance is more than adequate for anything you might need to do from word processing to image editing to playing a few games. Frankly, the overall showing is pleasing, with a glossy screen that's a joy to use and enjoy media with a decent pair of speakers backing it up.

And that's just using the Spectre x360 as a laptop.

Transforming this machine is a cinch, thanks to a pair of smooth geared hinges, which also firmly hold the laptop in any mode you wish. As a tablet, the Spectre x360 is an excellent, albeit heavy, handheld computing device. Alternatively, the extra modes and ways in which you can orient the screen makes it so much easier to set up as a personal movie screen when the airplane tray is too tiny or you're squeezed into a tight train seat.

We disliked

The overly wide trackpad is by far my biggest complaint for the HP Spectre x360 – it should be replaced with a narrower pointing device. The extra few inches don't help much with navigating the laptop's 16:9 screen. The trackpad only ends up getting in the way while I type. A narrower surface would also likely fix the unresponsive click button, as it takes firm pressure to actuate such a broad switch.

Then there's the fact that this machine weighs so dang much. You'll need a firm grip and endurance to hold this heavyset convertible up for long.

Final verdict

Buy the HP Spectre x360. It easily comes as one of my most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at $999 (£899, AU$1,899). If more screen resolution is a priority for you, then the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi comes at a steal for its WQHD display.

If it weren't for a few missteps with the trackpad and being too hefty for tablet use, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the Asus ZenBook UX305 and Dell XPS 13, two of the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.