Roughly a year ago, a peculiar Ultrabook, the HP Spectre x360, shocked the world with its unveiling at MWC 2015. Well alright, maybe not that much, but it was still touted by HP as its “most premium and versatile” laptop to date. But, now that it’s officially available off the consumer shelves, will it still be able to live up to its hype? Let’s get head to head with some of the other contenders out there to find out.
From its base specs, the HP Spectre x360 has everything you’d expect from something that’s clearly advertised as a portable power productivity hub. It has either a 13-inch or 15-inch touchscreen, both at full HD, with its optional (but expensive) Quad HD OLED feature further enhancing its already vibrant look. You have a choice of 6th gen i5 and i7 processors, SSD storage options of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB, and a user’s choice of either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. The 13-inch model weighs 1.45 kg and has a thickness of 15.9 mm, while the 15-inch model weighs 1.85 kg. The introductory price starts at $1000.
HP Spectre x360 vs Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 isn't exactly a direct competitor of the HP Spectre x360. For one thing, touchscreen is a secondary option, and is never included by default. Its graphics performance is also considerably lower, and it has a slightly lower battery life compared to most top contenders in the same category. That said, its overall performance is more or less similar to that of the HP Spectre x360, minus, of course, the transforming features and functions.
As for its price, while the $800 base price of the Dell XPS 13 makes it the cheaper option, users must take note that with this configuration, its base specs make it slightly inferior. What's worse, the Dell XPS 13's directly soldered RAM means that you need to buy a model with a higher RAM on the get go, as opposed to the HP Spectre x360's upgradeable RAM options. Finally, the silver-lined aluminum matte finish just doesn’t seem enough to beat the HP Spectre x360's high quality aluminum frame, even with its Gold Edition.
If you need something that you'd use purely for office productivity, consider the Dell XPS 13. Otherwise, keep the HP Spectre x360 at the top of your purchase list.
HP Spectre x360 vs MacBook Pro
Comparing the MacBook Pro with the HP Spectre x360 to mind one word: elegance. The externals on both laptops are almost flawless, with both having more or less the same premium design and finish. Base number crunching performance goes to the HP Spectre x360, with its slightly higher spec innards. The integral user experience however is better on the MacBook Pro. It has a flat and easy-to-access keyboard, magnificent 2304x1440 resolution, the 'magical' Force Touch touchpad, and of course, surprisingly strong audio, which is perhaps the worst point for the HP Spectre x360.
On the portability side, the HP Spectre x360 of course wins against the MacBook Pro due to its transforming functions and features. However, this is probably easily evened out by the fact that the MacBook Pro has a considerably longer battery life (at least 30% longer). Price point goes in favor of the HP Spectre x360, with the MacBook Pro having its standard pricey base tag of $1300, the usual biggest downside of MacBooks in general.
If you're a college student or budget-conscious user in need of a fast, reliable Ultrabook, skip the MacBook Pro. Otherwise, you might want to leave the HP Spectre x360 to enjoy its better premium user features.
HP Spectre x360 vs Surface Pro 4
The Surface Pro 4 is a direct contender with the HP Spectre x360 in the sense that both Ultrabooks are designed and advertised as 2-in-1 hybrids. Thus, both have about the same size, weight, specs, and most importantly, portability features and functions. There is of course the obvious service advantage as a Windows machine, and Surface Pro 4 base models usually have higher specs, but it isn't too large of a difference to say that the HP Spectre x360 would lag far behind.
That said, the Surface Pro 4 does have a very big flaw: its battery life. Technically able to last only around half the time using the same workload (about 6-7 hours), the Surface Pro 4 takes a huge point deduction in the portability department. It also doesn't help that it still has the inherent lap usage awkwardness that all its predecessors have, something that is relatively a non-issue for the flexible HP Spectre x360.
Regardless, the Surface Pro 4 proves to be a decent match overall for the HP Spectre x360, especially if you're a power stylus user, which is the one point on which the Surface Pro 4 would definitely not lose.
HP Spectre x360 vs Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
If you want a real 2-in-1 hybrid competitor, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is perhaps the HP Spectre x360's best match. Well, almost. Sure it has mostly the same design, size, finish, and 'yoga' features, but behind their equality in elegance lies a glaring disparity in price. The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro starts at $1300, which is like, already MacBook level in terms of price point.
The price makes the rather standard specifications even less stellar. Sure, the screen has a higher resolution, but it can't perform well in high graphics settings compared to the HP Spectre x360 (which is already not too focused on a smooth hi-res graphics display to begin with). The Core M processor does get big points in terms of operation efficiency however, even if it's not exactly Core i5 or i7 tier.
All in all, the HP Spectre x360 still proves to be the superior option with its lower price point, better base specs, and slightly longer battery life. Don’t dismiss the Yoga 3 Pro yet though, because it still has all of the outstanding touch optimization features that the HP Spectre x360 can't even afford to offer.
Balance is perhaps the one key factor that made the HP Spectre x360 such a competitive Ultrabook. Sure, it loses out a bit here and there, but it never falls out as an option in any category. It remains a solid option whether as an investment, a productivity hub, or just an updated all-around 2-in-1 hybrid.