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HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng Convertible Review

Sebastian Jentsch, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 07/27/2016

Smaller is better. The m3 version of the Spectre x2 12 offers an LTE modem for 899 Euros (~$990). Does the device offer good performance for the investment or does it throttle the SoC as in the m7 version?

HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng: an upgrade or downgrade with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 and a LTE modem?
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng: an upgrade or downgrade with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 and a LTE modem?

For the original German review, see here.

We first tested the HP Spectre x2 12 in January of 2016. We were immediately excited by the 12-inch tablet: the adjustable stand and good input devices makes working on the Spectre x2 12 a fun experience. This model aims to be more of an all-rounder device and offers decent brightness, good camera modules (including RealSense) and microphone in a slim device. 

The HP Spectre x2 12 ran smoothly thanks to its Intel Core m7-6Y75 and SSD. However, we believe that the main contribution is made by the solid-state drive, as the processor offers less performance than its competitors. Hence, we are testing the test model with the m3-6Y30, which costs less and offers longer run times. 

We ran all our tests on the test model and re-evaluated its ratings with the m3 processor. In this update review, you will find out why the test model has a better rating than the i7 sister model (86%). Furthermore, we investigate if the Core m3 throttles the same as the Core m7 and whether it offer decent run times. 

Certain aspects, such as, the case, connectivity, input device, display and speakers, have remained identical to the previous review. As such, we are leaving them out of this update review and information about these sections can be found in review of the HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng (Core m7-6Y75).

Note: the test model is equipped with a 256 GB SSD and an LTE modem. As a result, the device has a SIM card slot next to the SD card reader. The m7 model did not have such a slot.

HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng (Spectre x2 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 515, Core: 950 MHz
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3L Dual Channel
Display
12 inch 3:2, 1920 x 1280 pixel 192 PPI, 10 Finger, LGD04A5, IPS, WUXGA-UWVA-BrightView, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-Y Premium PCH
Storage
Liteon L8H-256V2G, 256 GB 
, M.2 SSD
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: Line + Mic, Card Reader: microSD
Networking
Intel Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 13.1 x 303 x 209 ( = 0.52 x 11.93 x 8.23 in)
Battery
43 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 3.6MP 2560x1440
Primary Camera: 8 MPix Intel RealSense 3D R200
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: 4x: Stereo @Tablet; Stereo @Base; Bang & Olufsen, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, KeyboardDock (backlit keyboard, Trackpad), 45 W power adapter, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
1.229 kg ( = 43.35 oz / 2.71 pounds), Power Supply: 328 g ( = 11.57 oz / 0.72 pounds)
Price
1250 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case & Connectivity

Photos of the HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng (Core m7-6Y75) without LTE modem and SIM card slot.

Size Comparison

303 mm / 11.9 inch 209 mm / 8.23 inch 13.1 mm / 0.516 inch 1.2 kg2.71 lbs293 mm / 11.5 inch 224 mm / 8.82 inch 14.5 mm / 0.571 inch 1.1 kg2.38 lbs291 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 11 mm / 0.4331 inch 1.3 kg2.84 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 202 mm / 7.95 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 1.1 kg2.35 lbs278.8 mm / 11 inch 194.1 mm / 7.64 inch 6.9 mm / 0.2717 inch 1.2 kg2.57 lbs
Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac 2x2:2 (876 Mbps)
534 MBit/s ∼100% +22%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
439 MBit/s ∼82%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Broadcom BCM4356 802.11ac 2x2:2 (876 Mbps)
453 MBit/s ∼100% +40%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Wireless-AC 7265
323 MBit/s ∼71%

Performance

Processor

Prime95 @1.2 GHz constant (58 degrees Celsius on the SoC)
Prime95 @1.2 GHz constant (58 degrees Celsius on the SoC)

The Core m3-6Y30 (see details) has a normal clock speed of 900 MHz: if the cooling lasts, the CPU can reach up to 2.2 GHz. When both cores are loaded, the CPU reaches a max of 2.0 GHz. After 30 seconds, the clock speed varies between 1.5 and 1.8 GHz and the SoC reports temperature of 67 degrees Celsius (~153 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Long term, the m3 only offers a mere 1.2 to 1.3 GHz. Depending on the temperatures at the start of the test, the device drops to these levels slowly or quickly. We cannot talk about throttling in this case, as the 900 MHz base clock speed is never exceeded. The performance of the m3 model in Cinebench R15 matches that of the m7 Spectre x2 12. In the single core test, the m7 can perform 20% faster. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 teases more performance out of the same SoC (also without a fan), which means that HP does not have the best system to draw out the potential of the m3.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel Core i5-6200U
114 Points ∼52% +84%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
107 Points ∼49% +73%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel Core m5-6Y54
99 Points ∼45% +60%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
88 Points ∼40% +42%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel Core m7-6Y75
80 Points ∼37% +29%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Core m3-6Y30
62 Points ∼28%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Intel Core i5-6200U
289 Points ∼7% +68%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
Intel Core m5-6Y54
232 Points ∼5% +35%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
206 Points ∼5% +20%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Intel Core m5-6Y54
200 Points ∼5% +16%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Intel Core m7-6Y75
177 Points ∼4% +3%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Core m3-6Y30
172 Points ∼4%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
62 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
172 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
28.92 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home

Our m3 system can almost catch up to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 in system performance: the difference is a mere 15%.

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
3281 Points ∼54% +55%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
2733 Points ∼45% +29%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
HD Graphics 515, 6Y54, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
2717 Points ∼45% +28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2426 Points ∼40% +15%
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Liteon L8H-256V2G
2116 Points ∼35%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2116 points
Help

Storage Device

Watch out! HP uses a different drive in the m3 model: the LiteOn L8H-256V2G instead of the SanDisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G (m7 model). Both drives are 256 GB SSDs. The LiteOn is faster, but the difference is not noticeable.

HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Liteon L8H-256V2G
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
Kingston RBU-SNS8152S3256GG2
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
Samsung MZNLN128HCGR-000L2
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1027
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-9%
4%
12%
-5%
18%
Write 4k QD32
195.8
147.8
-25%
197.1
1%
154
-21%
149.2
-24%
178.2
-9%
Read 4k QD32
223.4
196
-12%
272
22%
389.5
74%
243.7
9%
269.6
21%
Write 4k
57.37
53.52
-7%
76.83
34%
95.48
66%
68.02
19%
64.47
12%
Read 4k
23.48
27.4
17%
29.3
25%
36.2
54%
30.14
28%
31.83
36%
Write 512
264.6
241.6
-9%
201
-24%
154.5
-42%
158.2
-40%
295.2
12%
Read 512
369.2
260.8
-29%
374.9
2%
401.2
9%
313.1
-15%
376
2%
Write Seq
270.1
316
17%
199.9
-26%
153.5
-43%
158.2
-41%
462.1
71%
Read Seq
516.5
410.1
-21%
518.1
0%
497.9
-4%
662.5
28%
512.3
-1%
Liteon L8H-256V2G
Sequential Read: 516.5 MB/s
Sequential Write: 270.1 MB/s
512K Read: 369.2 MB/s
512K Write: 264.6 MB/s
4K Read: 23.48 MB/s
4K Write: 57.37 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 223.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 195.8 MB/s

Emissions and Energy

Temperature

Max. Load
 36.6 °C
98 F
42.4 °C
108 F
38.1 °C
101 F
 
 34.4 °C
94 F
36.9 °C
98 F
34.6 °C
94 F
 
 36.3 °C
97 F
37 °C
99 F
37.3 °C
99 F
 
Maximum: 42.4 °C = 108 F
Average: 37.1 °C = 99 F
38.4 °C
101 F
43 °C
109 F
39.7 °C
103 F
37 °C
99 F
38.7 °C
102 F
38 °C
100 F
35.1 °C
95 F
36.3 °C
97 F
34.9 °C
95 F
Maximum: 43 °C = 109 F
Average: 37.9 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  54.1 °C = 129 F | Room Temperature 22.6 °C = 73 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 37.1 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42.4 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 35.4 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43 °C / 109 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 29.8 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 37.3 °C / 99.1 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29 °C / 84.2 F (-8.3 °C / -14.9 F).
Front - Idle
Front - Idle
Back - Idle
Back - Idle
Front - Stress Test
Front - Stress Test
Back - Stress Test
Back - Stress Test

Speakers

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.234.22531.730.13131.832.84031.431.85030.433.86326.827.68026.827.910026.126.61252627.21602527.120024.324.825022.725.13152232.940021.34150020.653.763019.65580019.156.1100018.862.2125018.660.1160018.864.2200018.360.2250018.664.5315018.666.4400018.767.2500018.864.7630018.967.2800019.166.7100001961.91250018.856.21600018.756.6SPL31.276.1N1.634.3median 19median 56.6Delta1.312.531.331.733.430.429.528.926.227.234.531.237.939.536.646.749.358.665.465.259.863.261.764.464.862.763.767.274.668.855.446.97868.73921.8median 59.810.8hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHP Spectre x2 12-a001ngAcer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM

Frequency diagram in comparison (Check boxes above can be selected!)
Value 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Value 2: Audio off

Power Consumption

The power consumption is slightly higher than the m7 model, especially while idling. Compared with the IdeaPad Miix 700 and the Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA, the m7/m5 models consume less power while they are idle.

Power Usage

HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 43 Wh
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6Y75, HD Graphics 515, 42 Wh
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 37 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 41 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 38 Wh
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 33 Wh
Power Consumption
13%
-19%
-3%
-8%
Idle Minimum *
6
4.5
25%
7.3
-22%
4
33%
7.4
-23%
Idle Average *
8
7.7
4%
10
-25%
8.6
-8%
11.6
-45%
Idle Maximum *
10.6
8.3
22%
10.15
4%
9.3
12%
11.6
-9%
Load Average *
21.5
19.8
8%
25.2
-17%
18.6
13%
16.8
22%
Load Maximum *
22
20.6
6%
29.3
-33%
36.3
-65%
19.1
13%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.26 / 1.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6 / 8 / 10.6 Watt
Load midlight 21.5 / 22 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Life

The battery life is the same for both m3 and m7 models: 6 hours in our Wi-Fi test. For this test, our script loads various websites and simulates a web surfing experience. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 takes first place with a run time of 8 hours.

Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 43 Wh
681 min ∼142%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6Y75, HD Graphics 515, 42 Wh
954 min ∼200%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 37 Wh
640 min ∼134%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 41 Wh
861 min ∼180%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 38 Wh
791 min ∼165%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 33 Wh
478 min ∼100%
WiFi v1.3 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 43 Wh
364 min ∼138%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6Y75, HD Graphics 515, 42 Wh
361 min ∼137%
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-56HM
6200U, HD Graphics 520, 37 Wh
321 min ∼122%
Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 41 Wh
440 min ∼167%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
6Y30, HD Graphics 515, 38 Wh
488 min ∼186%
Huawei MateBook m5-6Y54
6Y54, HD Graphics 515, 33 Wh
263 min ∼100%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 21min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 41min

Pros

+ Power supply via USB Type-C
+ Robust, practical keyboard dock
+ Good typing quality
+ Backlit keyboard with speakers
+ Bright IPS touch panel
+ Rear real-sense camera
+ Good picture quality
+ Reliable microphone
+ Adjustable feet stand
+ Silent

Cons

- No workmanship flaws
- CPU performance slightly under expected level
- Weak performance despite a Core m3

Verdict

In review: HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng. Test model provided by HP Deutschland.
In review: HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng. Test model provided by HP Deutschland.

The greatest weakness of the m7 sister model can be found in the m3 model as well: the run time is limited to a mere 6 hours in our practical Wi-Fi test. Thankfully, the test model offers an LTE modem, which opens up additional options for users. 

The performance of the m3 is a little under the expected level, as shown by the higher level of performance of the SoC in the Surface Pro 4. The m3 and m7 Spectre x2 12 models are two of the weakest convertibles available in this section (in terms of system performance and processing power). In a head-to-head comparison, the two models are very close and they trade strong points: the m7 takes a lead in the single core test and the faster LiteOn SSD of the m3 system offers more storage performance. 

The price of the HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng (P0T72EA) is impressive: in some shops it is offered for as little as 899 Euros (~$990). At this price, the HP Spectre x2 12 is an exciting offer. A price of 1000 Euros (~$1100), it would have been too expensive, but at 899 Euros ~$990) it is a clear recommendation.

On the other hand, many competitors cost around 1250 - 1300 Euros (~$1376 - ~$1431). A price drop was sure to come when models such as the Acer Aspire Switch 12 Alpha came out with a price tag of 800 Euros (~$880; liquid cooling, Core i5 6200U and 3K TFT panel). The Alpha targets the same customer base as our test model: Windows users who want a mobile device with good performance for everyday and business use. 

The market is very exciting in this segment: see our list of Top 10 Convertibles. The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700, the Surface Pro 4 and the new Huawei MateBook (currently being tested) should also be considered by potential buyers.

HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng - 07/20/2016 v5.1
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
86 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
41 / 80 → 52%
Weight
72 / 35-78 → 86%
Battery
88%
Display
84%
Games Performance
0 / 68 → 
Application Performance
62 / 87 → 71%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
63 / 91 → 69%
Camera
83 / 85 → 98%
Average
79%
87%
Convertible - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP Spectre x2 12-a001ng Convertible Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2016-07-27 (Update: 2018-05-15)