The latest version of HP’s flagship convertible notebook boasts numerous improvements over its predecessor. The overall design hasn’t changed. It still features sharply chiseled edges and has a highly angular profile with bold accents, but it’s much more compact thanks to smaller bezels.
The thickness of the bezels has been more than halved. 11.5mm have been shaved from the top bezel, bringing it down from 17.35mm to just 5.85mm. Fortunately, this hasn’t come at the expense of the web camera, which remains above the display and still supports Windows Hello. The bottom bezel sees an equally big reduction – from 25.82mm to 11.09mm. The net effect of all this bezel shrinking means the new Spectre x360 13 has an 11% smaller footprint than its predecessor. And if you are obsessed about screen-to-body ratios, the new Spectre x360 13’s 90% count totally trumps its predecessor’s 78%.
There are big changes on the inside too. The newest Spectre x360 13 is powered by Intel’s 10th generation Ice Lake processors. As usual, there will be several configurations to choose from, with options up to Core i7 processors, 16GB of memory, and 2TB of speedy PCIe M.2 SSD storage. The unit we tested has a Core i071065G7, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Spectre x360 13’s bezels are much smaller.
The cooling system has been improved too. Larger air intakes and vents improve air circulation, while a beefier internal cooling system consisting of two fans and three heat pipes draw heat more efficiently away from the processor to improve performance.
The trackpad has also been improved. It now uses Microsoft’s Precision drivers, which means better responsiveness and accuracy. However, it still remains woefully small at 11cm across and 5.5cm from top to bottom. But it’s not as if HP didn’t try, they used up all the available space to make the keyboard and trackpad as large and comfortable as they could.
The keyboard remains great to use with large keycaps, good key pitch, a decent amount of key travel. It also has the right amount of resistance so it feels firm and pleasant to type on. My only gripe is that the layout isn’t entirely conventional as there’s an extra column of keys to the right (Home, Pg Up, Pg Down, End). As a result, first-time users will likely miss the Enter key for at least the first couple of hours but I think that this layout is something users will get over with a little practice.
Port selection remains the same, which is a good thing because the old Spectre x360 13 was a leader in this regard. Users will find two USB-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3, a single USB-A port supporting USB 3.1, and a microSD card reader. The notebook’s support for Thunderbolt 3 should not be overlooked as it means it will play well with any of your existing accessories and peripherals and it will also work with any modern accessory that you may want to add on, such as an external graphics dock or Thunderbolt 3 dock.
In our benchmarking tests, general computing performance was good but graphics was slightly below average. Battery life, however, was one aspect that the new Spectre x360 13 excelled in. When running general computing tasks like web browsing and spreadsheets, it lasted an incredible 9 hours and 39 minutes, and that’s with the display at maximum brightness. That’s nearly 4 hours longer than the closest rival.
The Spectre x360 13’s convertible form factor means it’s more versatile than your typical clamshell notebook.
All things considered, the HP Spectre x360 13 is easily one of the best ultraportable notebooks you can buy today. For a start, build quality is excellent and it has a convertible design so that it can be used as a traditional clamshell notebook or a tablet. While graphics performance is lacklustre, it makes up for it with its ultra-long battery life, which I think people looking for such a device will value over running games a tad faster.
It’s on the pricey side, but to be fair, that’s comparable with rivals such as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7. If you are in the market for a high-end ultraportable portable notebook, the HP Spectre x360 13 does a lot of things right, making it a wonderful place to start your search.
This is easily one of the best ultraportable notebooks you can buy today.
AT A GLANCE
PROCESSOR Intel Core i7-1065G7
STORAGE 512GB SSD