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Hands on: HP Spectre x360 (2019) review

The thin gets thinner

What is a hands on review?
HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360. It's pretty.
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The HP Spectre x360 is a beautiful little 2-in-1 laptop, and we wouldn't expect otherwise. It's thinner, lighter and now even sports an OLED display - you won't be ashamed to carry this around in a coffee shop.

For

  • Beautiful display
  • Excellent design
  • Respectable specs

Against

  • A bit expensive

The HP Spectre x360 has always been among both the best 2-in-1 laptops and the best Ultrabooks. HP's flagship laptop / tablet has essentially set the stage for what a 2-in-1 should be in the modern age. And, it looks like this is going to continue with the 2019 model.

Not only is the laptop packed with the latest and greatest hardware, but the bezels have been shaved down around the display, which lets the new HP Spectre x360 come in with a smaller footprint than ever before. Add that in with the lightweight design and new webcam, and this is a laptop we can't wait to carry around in our backpacks.  

Still, this is 2019 and the best laptops and Ultrabooks keep getting better and better with every passing day. So, the major question here is: how does the HP Spectre x360 2019 compare with the rest of the flagships out there? 

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 can do tent mode

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability 

If you need the new HP Spectre x360 in your life – and we can't blame you – you'll be happy to know that you can order it starting TK. You should keep in mind, however, that this is a flagship laptop, so you're going to have to deal with a high price tag. 

The HP Spectre x360 will start at $1,099 (about £890, AU$1,600), and compared to something like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which starts at $999 (£1,649, AU$2,698), it pretty much falls in line. That does make it an expensive device, so if you're looking for a laptop under $500 you might want to look elsewhere. Who knows, though, you might find it cheaper during seasonal sales like Black Friday

No matter which model of the 2019 HP Spectre x360 you're getting, you'll get an Intel Core i7-1065G7, which features Intel Iris Plus graphics with 64 execution units, or EUs. The only difference between the two models is going to be an upgrade to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. That's definitely a meaty upgrade, but we don't know how much this upgrade will run.

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 keyboard feels pretty great. 

(Image credit: Future)

Design

Simply put, the HP Spectre x360 is a thing of beauty. These laptops have always been a sight to behold, but HP really stepped it up this time around.  

When we  walked up to a cramped room in a New York WeWork to look at the new  Spectre x360, HP put it right next to the 2018 model - the difference was immediately apparent. 

This new HP Spectre x360 has a jaw-dropping  90% screen to body ratio, but honestly if HP told us that it was 100% we would have believed it. That's probably due in large part to the OLED panel that's bright and colorful enough to distract us from everything going on around us.  This is definitely going to be a win for anyone that's looking for a device to watch some Netflix on the go. We imagine that when we finally get our hands on it for a full review we'll be doing exactly that.  

It's also a lot thinner than the 2018 model. You would think that the thinner design would mean that the keyboard and trackpad would suffer, but that's simply not the case. The HP Spectre x360 already has one of the best keyboards in the game, and the keyboard on this new model is just  as good if not better. Again, this is something that might change when we get more than  20 minutes with the device, but  we were certainly impressed with it.  

One of the coolest things about this device, however, is sitting behind the screen. Even with the super impressive 90% screen-to-body ratio, HP was able to fit an IR camera into the top bezel. Not only does this mean you won't have to show the contents of your nose to people you're in a video call with, but it means that the new HP Spectre x360 is compatible with Windows Hello facial login. There's no fingerprint scanner to be found, but at least you're still getting some form of biometric login.  

The only thing we can find to complain about is that the lack of ports. Now, don't get us wrong, we're happy that the HP Spectre x360 still has a single USB-A port and a headphone jack, but beyond that it's just got a single USB-C port. We'll give HP credit that they didn't go the Apple route of only including USB-C, but it's still awfully limiting. 

HP Spectre x360

It might not look like it, but the HP Spectre x360 is a powerhouse (according to the specs)

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Now, obviously, we haven't had the chance to run our rigorous suite of benchmark tests on the HP Spectre x360, but we can still look at the spec sheet make some educated assumptions about the power.  

This laptop is strapped with an Intel Core i7-1065G7, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of speedy SSD storage. This means that not only are you getting an LTE modem and Wi-Fi 6 right out of the box, but the more powerful Intel Iris graphics should even be able to do some light gaming. Though, it's more targeted to getting some light graphics work done on the go.

And, thanks to the Ice Lake processor and its 10nm manufacturing process, this laptop should feature some hearty battery life. HP claims this thing will last 22 hours on a single charge, and while we'll believe that when we see it, we do expect it to last noticeably longer than the 2018 model. We'll know exactly how long it'll last when we get it in-house. 

At the end of the day, this is an Ultrabook, and we expect it to trade blows with all the latest and greatest, like the Dell XPS 13.  

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 is even beautiful on the outside

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

The HP Spectre x360 2019 is shaping up to be just as good, if not better than previous models. It's thinner, lighter, and has one of the most beautiful displays we've seen on a mainstream laptop. Now, the thin and light design might present some problems for thermals, especially when you push it really hard doing things like video editing, but we'll see for ourselves soon enough. 

If you're looking for a stylish new 2-in-1 Ultrabook, we don't see any reason why this laptop wouldn't cut it, and it's shaping up to be the best laptops of the year, we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.  

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.