HP Spectre (2019) x360
HP Spectre (2019) x360 REVIEW
It’s thin, it’s gorgeous, it’s got speed and power to spare. PAT PILCHER is totally smitten by HP’s new Spectre.
You don’t often hear the words ‘sexy’ and ‘PC’ in the same sentence, but HP’s 2019 Spectre x360 could change all that. It’s a beautifully engineered head-turner that’s got more grunt than a bacon factory.
The Spectre range has always been where you’d find flagship features on HP PCs and this year’s model is no exception. It marries impressive specs and performance along with a sleek design and is a 2-in-1 convertible with a gorgeous OLED display. In short, there’s a hell of a lot to like.
There are two models of the 2019 HP Spectre x360, both of which come with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. This is 10th generation Intel silicon and features Intel Iris Plus graphics. The big difference between the two models is RAM and storage (the high-end model comes with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD).
The design of the Spectre is angular yet also smooth thanks to some slick and near-invisible (and very subtle) curves which round out its angular design. Like its larger siblings, the top left and right corners are diagonal, which gives it a unique look. The chassis is also shallower than last year’s model, making it easier to tuck into its bundled leather folio sleeve and carry around. It also comes with a dedicated microphone mute key.
Top Of The Shelf
The Spectre’s styling exudes a top-shelf look and feel. Its dark chassis has gold accents and feels satisfyingly solid when picked up and opened. On its left-hand corner is a power button while the right has a USB-C port. Its speaker grille (which runs along the top of the keyboard) sports a slick machined design that protects the Bang & Olufsen speakers sitting behind it.
There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the right below the keyboard. If you choose to use your dabs to log into Windows, you can do it super quickly, and it worked like a charm during my HP x360 review.
The Spectre is first and foremost a notebook PC. The secret sauce comes in the form of a 360-degree screen hinge. This means that while it can be used as a notebook, the screen rotates all the way around to the back, which makes it a tablet-like device. The hinge design also allows you to use it in tent mode, which is great for watching media.
Speaking of screens, it’s one of the first things you’ll notice when you power the Spectre up. It has a 90 percent screen to body ratio and its OLED panel is bright enough to do double duty as a portable tanning clinic. Its display delivers deep inky dark blacks and brilliant whites, so contrast levels are excellent. Colours are also super vivid. For bingeing on streaming TV, I found the Spectre really was the business.
Another side benefit of an OLED display is that backlighting is not needed. This means the Spectre’s screen lid is super skinny, which helps reduce its overall waistline. Its wafer-thin design doesn’t affect its keyboard either. While I found the keyboard a tad cramped – I’m used to a more substantial 15–inch notebook – it had excellent travel, and its keys were well spaced.
About the only real fly in the Spectre ointment is its sticker price. But while it’s not cheap you do get a hell of a lot of notebook for your money.
HP has also equipped the Spectre with an infra-red camera in its top screen bezel. This makes it compatible with Windows’ Hello login so I could use my mug as a password, which proved particularly handy when my hands were occupied (like when I was eating lunch).
About the only real compromise with the Spectre was its lack of ports. Its super slim design doesn’t leave a lot of room for ports, but to their credit, HP equipped it with a USB-A port, headphone jack, and a USB-C port.
Under the hood sits an Intel Core i7-1065G7, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. You also get an LTE modem and Wi-Fi 6 out of the box, which makes the Spectre a go anywhere connected device that runs like a cut cat. Intel’s Iris graphics aren’t the complete dog the company’s integrated graphics have been in the past, and they’re fine for light gaming with detail levels turned down to medium or low.
The real gain from using a 10th generation Intel Ice Lake processor is stellar battery life. HP talked up battery life, and their hype came close to reality. Running a looped 1080p video with the screen brightness at 60 percent I got just over 12 hours before it finally conked out. Your mileage will vary depending on what you’re using the Spectre for.
More CPU, storage and graphics-intensive apps will shorten battery life. Still, for long haul travel catching up on some downloaded Netflix binge viewing, the Spectre should get you from Auckland to LAX with battery to spare. That HP has managed to deliver such excellent battery life with no noticeable compromises in performance is very impressive indeed.
HP x360 Review – Summary
The HP Spectre x360 2019 isn’t just thinner and lighter than the previous model, it’s also incredibly stylish with a drop-dead gorgeous display. Add to this a spec that allows for almost any chores you’d throw its way and a battery that won’t quit, and it’s hard not to be smitten. Because of this, it earns Witchdoctor’s coveted 10/10 in my HP x360 review.