Notebookcheck

HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng (K3D42EA) Convertible Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 01/31/2016

All-in-one PC? We are not talking about a heavy laptop here, but rather an 850 gram (~1.9 lb) tablet that aims to emulate a full-sized PC with its fold-out stand and sleeve keyboard. Two Type C ports herald the start of the new generation of cabling. But just how can a flat-screen be connected?

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The modern PC or laptop replacement in HP's opinion: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng
The modern PC or laptop replacement in HP's opinion: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng

For the original German review, see here.

HP does not market its Spectre x2 as a tablet, but rather as a 2-in-1 device, and officially calls the 12-inch device a "detachable PC". Thus, it has not been designed as a big tablet that is occasionally coupled with a keyboard. The modern user - at least according to the manufacturer - uses the Spectre x2 productively at home and on the go to an equal extent. Of course, that was always possible with a laptop. But who wants to own a heavy millstone when the moderate power of a Core M system satisfies the PC needs of many people?

Therefore, HP fuses the best possible combination of a laptop and tablet in its version - and the outcome is impressive. However, we do not want to reveal too much at the beginning, but would like first to introduce the opponents: The Surface Pro 4 also claims to be a full-fledged laptop replacement. The system is available with a fan as well as a fanless Core M3. Lenovo's little Helix relies on a fixed display position on the keyboard dock. It is more expensive, but comes with mobile LTE network, and has a better battery life. The Portégé Z20t features a freely adjustable hinge, and looks like a purebred subnotebook in its dock.

The next four models also come within reach of the Spectre x2. However, they are equipped with the more frugal Core M SoC (apart from the Stylistic Q665), and are bulkier although very productive with many interfaces.

HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA (Spectre 12 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 515, Core: 950 MHz
Memory
8192 MB 
, dual-channel
Display
12 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, 10 fingers, native pen support, LGD04A5, IPS, WUXGA-UWVA BrightView, glossy: yes, detachable screen
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-Y Premium PCH
Storage
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006, 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: micro-SD, Sensors: accelerometer
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, 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
42 Wh, 3 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 3.6 MP 2560 x 1440
Primary Camera: 6 MPix Intel RealSense R200 Intel OV8858 ISO-47
Secondary Camera: 4 MPix Intel OV5670 ISO-80
Additional features
Speakers: 4x stereo @ tablet; stereo @ base; Bang & Olufsen, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, keyboard dock (backlit keyboard, trackpad), 45 watt power supply, 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
1400 Euro

 

Case

HP opts for aluminum for both the tablet and keyboard dock's construction. A total weight of 1229 grams (~2.7 lb) is achieved, including the heavy, solid, stainless steel stand. The tablet alone weighs 850 grams (~1.9 lb). Thus, we are facing a heavyweight among tablets: Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 m3 weighs 770 grams (~1.7 lb); the i5/i7 versions with a fan weigh 800 grams (~1.8 lb). Can the functionality, stability and quality make up for this drawback? 

The Spectre x2's features are compelling: The stand is released after pushing the slider, and can be pulled out to the desired angle. It allows opening the tablet to almost 170 degrees. The Surface Pro 4 also has an adjustable stand, but Lenovo's TP Helix 2 has a fixed 140 degree opening. The Spectre x2's stand always ensures a secure placement on a table, but we did not manage to use it that way on our lap.

We were very pleased about the magnetic keyboard fixture. The docking bar virtually jumps out of the tablet and connects to the tablet almost on its own even when less accurately aligned. That is, however, step one. The keyboard sleeve can then be pushed upward where the second magnet bar connects to the tablet, hiding HP's logo. These two fixture points now ensure a very tight connection between the tablet and the keyboard unit. We could even carry the tablet around shakily without the keyboard disconnecting despite its heavy weight.

The keyboard is designed as a sleeve. It protects the screen when closed, and its soft, textile substructure provides a pleasant, non-slip feel. The keyboard's aluminum casing is solid, i.e. there are no cavities under the wrist rest. This leads to an exceptional product quality, although typing on the keys feels slightly spongy due to their elasticity. The wrist rest area is beyond reproach. We could only force it to warp marginally under unduly high pressure.

Everything seems perfect here? No - the tablet's stability is not first rate. HP uses plastic in the body's upper tenth for the wireless modules. We could warp this area quite easily, causing the stand to jump out of its resting position involuntarily.

Connectivity

2x USB 3.1 (Type C) - The charging cable can be inserted on either the left or right
2x USB 3.1 (Type C) - The charging cable can be inserted on either the left or right
Type A peripherals can be connected via a hub (not included)
Type A peripherals can be connected via a hub (not included)

The list of connections is short and not much more than 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and an audio jack. Although every USB Type A plug can be inserted in the USB 3.1 Type C via an adapter, where can a monitor be connected? Of course, to the Type C port with adapters, such as USB 3.1 Type C-to-DisplayPort or to-HDMI. USB 3.1 Gen1 is nothing else but a USB 3.0 with a two-sided Type C connector. USB 3.1 Gen2 achieves higher transfer rates. Thus, the user can and must fall back on one of the widely distributed USB 3.0 docking stations to connect monitors via HDMI or DisplayPort or to even add Ethernet to the Spectre x2. This is not a novelty, but the tablet can be recharged via the docking solution.

Micro-SD, USB 3.1 (Type C) with charging LED
Micro-SD, USB 3.1 (Type C) with charging LED
Stand slider, USB 3.1 (Type C) with charging LED, volume, headphone/microphone combo
Stand slider, USB 3.1 (Type C) with charging LED, volume, headphone/microphone combo
Included: Active stylus and USB Type A adapter
Included: Active stylus and USB Type A adapter

Communication

LTE or not LTE - that is the question. Although our shop device carries the label "Mobile network: LTE", it does not have a SIM card reader. It should be situated on the right between the speaker opening and SD-card slot. Thus, only Intel's Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 and Bluetooth 4.0 are available for connecting to a smartphone or Wi-Fi network. The Spectre x2 performed our freehand test outside the office quite well; the 40-meter (~131 ft) point outdoors was reached without losing the connection.

Accessories

A battery powered, active stylus is included in the box. HP adds a USB Type C-to-Type A adapter, making it possible to use old existing USB flash drives or hard drives immediately.

Warranty

HP includes a 24-month limited warranty that has to be activated via online registration directly after purchase - at least a window that recurrently pops up demands that. As usual, Care Packs can be ordered to extend the warranty period. HP Protect, for example, includes accidental damage protection, pick-up and return service for 3 years for 131 Euros (~$142).

Webcam / RealSense Camera

The cameras in the tablet surprise us. Both have an exceptionally high resolution for a tablet, and the quality is - particularly that of the 6 MP primary camera - very good. In addition, it is a RealSense by Intel. RealSense is a chip by Intel that enables the camera to perceive depth. It combines the camera module with an infrared sensor and can be used for more than just face recognition. Objects can be scanned in three dimensions with the corresponding app, and processed on the computer. However, that still seems to be a long way off since not even Intel's RealSense showcase had an app for the rear-facing R200. Some apps are available for the front-facing F200: The front-facing camera can be used to control the device, e.g. via gestures or used for logins via face recognition. The R200 in our Spectre x2 appears to be made for professional use of scanning objects.

Given the apparently untapped possibilities of RealSense, we will have to be satisfied with the image quality of the base camera or video utilization. The photos in 3200x1800 pixels exhibit a fairly decent quality (click on the screenshot) even in low-light conditions. The entire image is focused and grids are only obvious in details. Colors are high contrast and vivid. Naturally, the primary camera will not replace an SLR that essentially produces more natural colors. The primary camera reproduces colors too strongly and  exaggerates the contrast.

The colors of the front-facing camera are not quite true, and image noise becomes visible here. Areas blur quite quickly, but the overall result is useful for a webcam. Almost all laptop webcams not only have a lower resolution of 1280x720, they also operate with an inferior sensor that shoots blurred photos and delivers pale colors. In view of that, both cameras in the Spectre x2 are a real ray of hope in the market.

6 MPix Intel RealSense R200 Intel OV8858
6 MPix Intel RealSense R200 Intel OV8858
Primary camera 3200 x 1800 Pixel, low light
Primary camera 3200 x 1800 Pixel, low light
Primary camera, in daylight
Primary camera, in daylight
Reference Canon EOS 1100D
Reference Canon EOS 1100D
Webcam 2560 x 1440 Pixel, in daylight
Webcam 2560 x 1440 Pixel, in daylight
Webcam 2560 x 1440 Pixel, low light
Webcam 2560 x 1440 Pixel, low light

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keys feature an impressively clear drop, which is unusual for a flat sleeve keyboard. The key base's low thickness has the drawback of a wobbly stroke. This can be reduced when placing the keyboard on a table. It is possible to set up the keyboard either at an angle with a small hollow space or flat in front of the tablet. The keys are level and not conic. Their pressure point is particularly crisp, and thus users with a soft, gentle typing style will find this input device pleasing. The spongy stroke will not annoy them. However, users who type more energetically on the keys will not be happy with the clattering feedback.

Touchpad

The ClickPad does its job without clattering. It supports the usual multitouch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling. Three fingers open Cortana search, which can be disabled. We very much like the sleek but not slippery surface, and the feel also benefits from the clear drop and crisp pressure point.

Stylus

Inputting with the stylus is more accurate than with a finger, although we cannot complain about the accuracy of finger entries. Inputs are implemented quickly and accurately up to the edges. Unfortunately, we did not find a possibility to attach the pen magnetically to the tablet, not to mention of inserting it somewhere. This is solved better in the Surface Pro 4.

Clear drop but spongy stroke
Clear drop but spongy stroke
Single-level light
Single-level light
Wide ClickPad with clear drop and crisp pressure point
Wide ClickPad with clear drop and crisp pressure point

Display

Subpixel array LGD04A5 IPS
Subpixel array LGD04A5 IPS

The 12-inch device (16:9) has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (WUXGA or Full HD), which equals a pixel density of 183 PPI. The pixels are just visible; otherwise, the crisp and sharp display from every angle makes a very good impression. The LG panel achieves a contrast of 800:1, which is not a top rate as the rivals prove in the chart. Microsoft's devices in particular can boast here. The brightness is within the average of the opponents, and it remains stable in battery mode. The Spectre x2 does not have a brightness sensor.

340
cd/m²
340
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
353
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
358
cd/m²
366
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 366 cd/m² Average: 347.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 353 cd/m²
Contrast: 802:1 (Black: 0.44 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.09 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 6.24 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
71% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 46% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.41
HP Spectre x2 12
1920x1080
MS Surface Pro 4
2736x1824
Lenovo TP Helix 2
1920x1080
Toshiba Z20t-B
1920x1080
MS Surface Book i5
3000x2000
Acer AS R7-371T
1920x1080
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
1920x1080
Response Times
-9%
-15%
-83%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
47 (16, 31)
46 (17.2, 28.8)
2%
48.4 (19.6, 28.8)
-3%
74 (28, 46)
-57%
Response Time Black / White *
26 (5, 21)
31 (6, 25.2)
-19%
32.8 (7.6, 25.2)
-26%
54 (20, 34)
-108%
PWM Frequency
50 (50)
211 (147)
Screen
33%
20%
-17%
44%
15%
25%
Brightness middle
353
389.2
10%
365
3%
342
-3%
430.9
22%
321
-9%
332
-6%
Brightness
347
392
13%
342
-1%
301
-13%
410
18%
322
-7%
321
-7%
Brightness Distribution
91
92
1%
86
-5%
76
-16%
93
2%
83
-9%
86
-5%
Black Level *
0.44
0.27
39%
0.329
25%
0.393
11%
0.254
42%
0.32
27%
0.19
57%
Contrast
802
1441
80%
1109
38%
870
8%
1696
111%
1003
25%
1747
118%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.09
3.61
41%
4.37
28%
9.69
-59%
2.06
66%
4.79
21%
5.56
9%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.24
3.8
39%
2.8
55%
9.27
-49%
2.22
64%
2.67
57%
7.01
-12%
Gamma
2.41 100%
2.16 111%
2.3 104%
2.95 81%
2.13 113%
2.52 95%
2.27 106%
CCT
7238 90%
5969 109%
6595 99%
6010 108%
6520 100%
6835 95%
8459 77%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
46
63
37%
40.4
-12%
64
39%
63
37%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
71
97
37%
96
35%
97
37%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
12% / 25%
20% / 20%
-17% / -17%
15% / 34%
15% / 15%
-29% / 6%

* ... smaller is better

AdobeRGB 46%
AdobeRGB 46%
sRGB 71%
sRGB 71%

Unfortunately, the color accuracy is not quite satisfactory. The IPS panel exhibits a light bluish cast in factory state before calibration. However, it is not as severe as in many TN screens. The screen does not always display exactly what it should, particularly in the magenta range. This leads to a relatively high DeltaE of 6, which will already deter professional users - particularly since alternatives like MS' Surface Book i5 with a DeltaE of 2 exist. The color space coverage is quite low with only 71% of sRGB. The Surface Pro 4 manages 97%.

CalMAN Grayscale - light bluish tint
CalMAN Grayscale - light bluish tint
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker

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Reflections proved to be distracting even on cloudy days. The camera underexposed the first two screenshots; it was brighter outdoors than it looks. The positive effect of the bright screen is obvious when avoiding direct light and looking at the screen from the front.

Despite 353 cd/m² in battery mode - ...
Despite 353 cd/m² in battery mode - ...
... the touchscreen looks dark in direct light.
... the touchscreen looks dark in direct light.
It looks better in the shade, ...
It looks better in the shade, ...
... but reflections can get annoying.
... but reflections can get annoying.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5 ms rise
↘ 21 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 45 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
47 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 31 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 75 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10727 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Changing the viewing angle will not be an issue for the user thanks to the IPS panel. Content can be viewed without inverting or color tints from all directions.

Viewing angles: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng, LGD04A5, WUXGA-UWVA-BrightView
Viewing angles: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng, LGD04A5, WUXGA-UWVA-BrightView

Performance

Two cores from the Skylake architecture by Intel clock in the Core m7-6Y75 SoC. It is the premium-range model of the Core M lineup. HP also offers its Spectre x2 with a Core m3-6Y30. This chip is also found in Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 Core M3 version. The m7-6Y75 has been optimized for passive cooling with its low maximum TDP of 4.5 watts.

Intel's HD Graphics 515 graphics card is integrated in the SoC. Typically, a dedicated solution is not offered for the tablet. The iGPU is the weakest model in the Skylake HD Graphics family. As for memory configuration, HP has a four gigabyte version (m3-6Y30 model) and an eight gigabyte alternative available. The 256 GB SSD (M.2) storage device is identical in both versions. Thus, the difference is ultimately only found in CPU and LTE/Wi-Fi.

System info CPU-Z CPU
System info CPU-Z Cache
System info CPU-Z Mainboard
System info CPU-Z Memory
System info GPU-Z HD Graphics 515
HWinfo Summary
Latency Checker
Latency Checker

Processor

Prime95 multi-CPU test @1.6 GHz
Prime95 multi-CPU test @1.6 GHz

Intel speaks of a "configurable TDP" in its specs. This means that the manufacturer can vary between passive cooling capacities of 3.5 watts (cTDP down) and 7 watts (cTDP up). This is related to the Turbo Boost bandwidth, which should be 3.1 GHz here. We did not come close to recording that rate in our tests. HP has probably opted for a conservative setting. Prime95 runs at 1.6 GHz, which is slow. Thus, our HP review sample lags behind the Core M3 in the Cinebench tests (5 to 16% multi-core). The difference is not as big in single-core (4 and 10%). Even once, the Spectre x2 takes the lead in the old R10 test. No matter how it is looked at, the Core m7-6Y75 scores unreasonably poor. That follows hard on the heels of application performance.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
0.94 Points ∼40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
0.98 Points ∼42% +4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1.4 Points ∼60% +49%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1.51 Points ∼65% +61%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
1.13 Points ∼48% +20%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
1.15 Points ∼49% +22%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1.41 Points ∼60% +50%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
1.27 Points ∼54% +35%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.2 Points ∼51% +28%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
0.93 Points ∼40% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2.15 Points ∼9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2.27 Points ∼10% +6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3.4 Points ∼14% +58%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3.8 Points ∼16% +77%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
2.04 Points ∼9% -5%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
2.14 Points ∼9% 0%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3.42 Points ∼14% +59%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
2.79 Points ∼12% +30%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2.86 Points ∼12% +33%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1.67 Points ∼7% -22%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
80 Points ∼39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
88 Points ∼43% +10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
122 Points ∼59% +53%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
132 Points ∼64% +65%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
95 Points ∼46% +19%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
97 Points ∼47% +21%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
122 Points ∼59% +53%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
109 Points ∼53% +36%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
108 Points ∼52% +35%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
79 Points ∼38% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
177 Points ∼6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
206 Points ∼7% +16%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
306 Points ∼10% +73%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
342 Points ∼12% +93%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
184 Points ∼6% +4%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
190 Points ∼6% +7%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
305 Points ∼10% +72%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
255 Points ∼9% +44%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
258 Points ∼9% +46%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
148 Points ∼5% -16%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
5022 Points ∼55%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4297 Points ∼47% -14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
6050 Points ∼67% +20%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
6787 Points ∼75% +35%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
4985 Points ∼55% -1%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
5068 Points ∼56% +1%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
6065 Points ∼67% +21%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
8461 Points ∼12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
8886 Points ∼13% +5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
13382 Points ∼19% +58%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
14833 Points ∼21% +75%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
8432 Points ∼12% 0%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
8486 Points ∼12% 0%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
13656 Points ∼20% +61%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
7263
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6356
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3839
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6992 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
8461 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5022 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.15 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
19.82 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.94 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
177 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
80 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.9 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
25.94 fps
Help

System Performance

Fortunately, the Spectre x2 levels out the above described CPU differences to a high extent, and even an advantage is found in HP's device. It even surpasses Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 with Core M3 by 15 to 20%. Our HP even takes the lead in the Work Score, and outclasses the Surface Pro 4 Core i7. These placings are again turned around in the Creative and Home Scores. The results of the CPU benchmarks and application performance are thus inconsistent, which might be due to the different outputs of the installed SSDs. PCMark 7 unfortunately could not be performed.

PCMark 8 v2 Home
PCMark 8 v2 Home
PCMark 8 v2 Work
PCMark 8 v2 Work
PCMark 8 v2 Creative
PCMark 8 v2 Creative
PCMark 8 v2 Storage
PCMark 8 v2 Storage
PCMark 8
Storage Score v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4895 Points ∼96%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4078 Points ∼63%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3186 Points ∼49% -22%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3697 Points ∼57% -9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4052 Points ∼62% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
3806 Points ∼58% -7%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
3936 Points ∼60% -3%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3644 Points ∼56% -11%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
3641 Points ∼56% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3827 Points ∼59% -6%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3574 Points ∼55% -12%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3362 Points ∼35%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2968 Points ∼31% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
3736 Points ∼39% +11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4431 Points ∼47% +32%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
3090 Points ∼32% -8%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
3263 Points ∼34% -3%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3694 Points ∼39% +10%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
3317 Points ∼35% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3358 Points ∼35% 0%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3028 Points ∼32% -10%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2675 Points ∼44%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2426 Points ∼40% -9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
2770 Points ∼45% +4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3394 Points ∼56% +27%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
2690 Points ∼44% +1%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
2816 Points ∼46% +5%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2814 Points ∼46% +5%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
2805 Points ∼46% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2841 Points ∼47% +6%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2588 Points ∼42% -3%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2675 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3362 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4078 points
Help

Storage Device

HP's Spectre x2 cannot particularly score with its SSD (SanDisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006). On average, all rivals achieve a higher score. For example, Microsoft's Surface Book achieves an over twice as high Total Score in AS SSD. Apart from Lenovo's TP Helix 2, all opponents accomplish on average higher ratings via both HDD benchmarks. However, the Helix 2 with its Toshiba SSD is the taillight.

HP Spectre x2 12
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G
MS Surface Pro 4 m3
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
MS Surface Pro 4 i7
Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Lenovo TP Helix 2
Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU
Toshiba Z20t-B
Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
MS Surface Book i5
Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
Samsung PM851 MZNTE256HMHP
AS SSD
53%
120%
3%
42%
121%
29%
Score Total
722
1759
144%
2518
249%
1152
60%
954
32%
2712
276%
943
31%
4K Write
49.2
63.18
28%
89.23
81%
41.14
-16%
76.82
56%
84.96
73%
77.62
58%
4K Read
23.12
31.39
36%
33.47
45%
14.63
-37%
21.4
-7%
34.31
48%
30.4
31%
Seq Write
216.91
138.05
-36%
274.8
27%
216.38
0%
457.22
111%
275.22
27%
232.73
7%
Seq Read
439.12
844.83
92%
1312.22
199%
473.93
8%
513.1
17%
1223
179%
508.77
16%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
12%
62%
-17%
32%
25%
Write 4k
53.52
68.02
27%
106.3
99%
43.08
-20%
88.24
65%
90.61
69%
Read 4k
27.4
30.14
10%
40.75
49%
19.44
-29%
22.91
-16%
34.32
25%
Write Seq
316
158.2
-50%
304
-4%
247.4
-22%
473.3
50%
242.1
-23%
Read Seq
410.1
662.5
62%
833.7
103%
422.7
3%
529.5
29%
526.1
28%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
33% / 35%
91% / 94%
-7% / -6%
37% / 37%
121% / 121%
27% / 27%
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Sequential Read: 410.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 316 MB/s
512K Read: 260.8 MB/s
512K Write: 241.6 MB/s
4K Read: 27.4 MB/s
4K Write: 53.52 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 196 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 147.8 MB/s

Graphics Card

The HD 515 is a lower version of the HD 520, which we also clearly notice in the synthetic benchmarks. The HD 515 lags behind by approximately 20%. 6000 points in 3DMark (2013) would also mark the end, if Microsoft had not installed an Iris Graphics 540 (6650U) in its Surface Pro 4 Core i7. It reaps in almost 8000 points, and is on par with Microsoft's Surface Book with a dockable GeForce 940M. A look at the former Broadwell with Core M-5Y31 generation, we find the HD Graphics 5300 installed here as much as 30% behind the new HD 515.

The HD 515 shares the system RAM (dual-channel). Being a low-end GPU, it is not suitable for up-to-date games or for sophisticated hardware support, e.g. video editing. Furthermore, the performance among the different HD 515s can be very different because the manufacturer can influence the maximum clock rate and TDP setting - after all, the manufacturer does that for the entire SoC. As usual, a video decoder for unloading the Core m7-6Y75 is on board.

At most, old tracks from the early days of gaming can be played smoothly with the HD 515. High details in the native Full HD resolution are unthinkable. However, the playlist can be extensive. The user will just have to take games from before 2010. Browser-based games should not be a problem for the Spectre x2 thanks to their low requirements. 

3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
6298 Points ∼3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
6597 Points ∼4% +5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
7455 Points ∼4% +18%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11650 Points ∼6% +85%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
4363 Points ∼2% -31%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
4441 Points ∼2% -29%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11340 Points ∼6% +80%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
6397 Points ∼3% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
6440 Points ∼3% +2%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3744 Points ∼2% -41%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4546 Points ∼9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
4604 Points ∼9% +1%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
5853 Points ∼12% +29%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
7822 Points ∼16% +72%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
3522 Points ∼7% -23%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
3585 Points ∼7% -21%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
7424 Points ∼15% +63%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
5059 Points ∼10% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4928 Points ∼10% +8%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3064 Points ∼6% -33%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1007 Points ∼6%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1370 Points ∼8% +36%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1509 Points ∼9% +50%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2255 Points ∼13% +124%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
682 Points ∼4% -32%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
677 Points ∼4% -33%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2580 Points ∼15% +156%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
1042 Points ∼6% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1051 Points ∼6% +4%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
657 Points ∼4% -35%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
996 Points ∼2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1206 Points ∼2% +21%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1402 Points ∼3% +41%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2450 Points ∼5% +146%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
669 Points ∼1% -33%
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
693 Points ∼1% -30%
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2548 Points ∼5% +156%
Acer Aspire R7-371T-52EL
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
1008 Points ∼2% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
979 Points ∼2% -2%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
620 Points ∼1% -38%
3DMark 06 Standard
6293 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1098 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
42545 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4546 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
660 points
Help
low med. high ultra
Crysis 3 (2013) 20.212.98.3fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 38.329.615.1fps
Battlefield Hardline (2015) 25.920.58.3fps

Emissions

System Noise

The system does not have a fan and is cooled passively.

Temperature

Stress test FurMark+Prime95 CPU @1.0 GHz
Stress test FurMark+Prime95 CPU @1.0 GHz
Stress test CPU ultimately settles at 900 MHz.
Stress test CPU ultimately settles at 900 MHz.

We put the Spectre x2 under permanent load for a good hour via the stress test. This is a rather uncommon situation for mobile use, but the passive cooling has to show its behavior in an extreme case. Temperature-related shutdowns did not occur, however, we have not seen that with modern SoCs for years. Nevertheless, the clock rates of both the graphics card and processor drops. Intel's SoCs typically favor the GPU in stress situations, i.e. the processor is heavily throttled while the GPU can continue to run at a high clock. This is not the case here. The HD 515 starts at 700 MHz and slows down to 548 MHz in the course of the test. The CPU drops below its standard clock of 1.2 GHz after only a few minutes, and then settles at stable 900 MHz.

The passively cooled SoC needs 15 seconds to recover its normal computing strength after disabling the FurMark part of the stress test. The CPU part of the test runs stably again at 1.5 to 1.6 GHz. This clock speed is also reached under basic CPU load, which is unfortunately below the Turbo potential of this SoC.

The waste heat on the surfaces climbs up to 44 degrees Celsius (~111 degrees Fahrenheit). The average on the upper side and underside is 36 degrees Celsius (~97 degrees Fahrenheit). These are stress test temperatures; the idle temperatures will probably prevail when holding the tablet in a hand in everyday use. They are on average below 30 degrees Celsius (~86 degrees Fahrenheit).

HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Heat
-2%
-24%
9%
0%
1%
10%
-5%
Maximum Upper Side *
43.5
43.6
-0%
52.3
-20%
45.4
-4%
42.1
3%
48.3
-11%
44.2
-2%
50.8
-17%
Maximum Bottom *
42
45.2
-8%
51.4
-22%
43.2
-3%
42.3
-1%
43.2
-3%
41.2
2%
45.1
-7%
Idle Upper Side *
33
32.4
2%
43.2
-31%
25.2
24%
31.3
5%
28.9
12%
26
21%
33.1
-0%
Idle Bottom *
29.3
29.6
-1%
36
-23%
24
18%
31.3
-7%
27.7
5%
23.8
19%
28.1
4%

* ... smaller is better

 28.6 °C29.7 °C28.1 °C 
 27.9 °C28.4 °C27.3 °C 
 28.8 °C32.1 °C33 °C 
Maximum: 33 °C
Average: 29.3 °C
27.6 °C29.3 °C28.3 °C
27.7 °C28.3 °C27.4 °C
27.2 °C27.4 °C27 °C
Maximum: 29.3 °C
Average: 27.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  29.4 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket
The maximum temp on the upper side is 43.5 °C, compared to the average of 35.9 °C ranging from 21.1 °C to 71 °C for class Convertible.

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

The speakers are found in the tablet (right and left) and in the keyboard sleeve under the perforation as support for high-pitched tones. The sound and volume are not particularly impressive despite the 4.0 system. The acoustics remain mid-heavy and completely lack low tones. Trebles are comparatively clear, but the sound of a better stereo laptop output with high-quality drivers is not achieved. The dual-array microphone is impressive; speech is recorded clearly and noise-free up to a distance of approximately 1.5 meters (~5 ft). The microphones are situated on the webcam's left and right.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption is slightly higher than category average. Other Core M systems are satisfied with two to five (Portégé Z20t-B-10C) or two to six watts (Helix 2). The limitation during load also becomes evident in the power consumption at the outlet. We measure 20 watts here, while the Core M-5Y71 in the Helix 2 and Z20t consistently drain 30 watts.

HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
HD Graphics 515, 6Y75, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
Toshiba Portege Z20t-B-10C
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GVNU
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Power Consumption
-8%
13%
18%
-26%
29%
Idle Minimum *
4.5
4.4
2%
2
56%
2.4
47%
3.6
20%
3.3
27%
Idle Average *
7.7
9
-17%
6
22%
4.6
40%
8
-4%
5.2
32%
Idle Maximum *
8.3
10.7
-29%
6.6
20%
5.6
33%
8.9
-7%
6.4
23%
Load Average *
19.8
19.6
1%
17.6
11%
15.6
21%
32.7
-65%
13.6
31%
Load Maximum *
20.6
19.9
3%
29.7
-44%
30.7
-49%
35.7
-73%
14
32%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.5 / 1.4 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.5 / 7.7 / 8.3 Watt
Load midlight 19.8 / 20.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

The battery life is appropriate for rather moderate for the upper price range. Six hours in mixed Wi-Fi use with a reduced brightness is not enough for a workday. At least the integrated battery is fully recharged within 2:30 hours via the 45-watt adapter at the USB 3.1 Gen1 while the Spectre x2 is in use. We tested the Spectre x2 while connected to the keyboard dock. The runtime will probably be only marginally longer without it.

42 Wh are not at all bad in comparison. The Spectre x2 achieves a fairly good idle runtime of 15 hours with that. The opponents - except for Toshiba's Z20t-B with 72 Wh - cannot keep up with that. Unfortunately, it is not enough for runtimes that can compete with a Surface Pro 4 in the real world Wi-Fi test. Too bad, since that HP has installed a frugal SoC and a lower resolution screen - two aspects that should actually lead to a longer battery life.

We repeated the Wi-Fi test again with the keyboard after installing all updates, including BIOS, Power Plan, Wi-Fi drivers, UEFI and Bluetooth, via HP's Support Assistant. Very praiseworthy: this update can be performed extremely easily with only a few clicks. However, this did not change the runtimes; it remained at five hours in the Wi-Fi test.

Update 01/26/2016:

We measured the Wi-Fi runtime twice, before and after the large-scale driver / BIOS update. Whereas previously the Wi-Fi test resulted in five hours (313 minutes), now the Spectre x2 achieves six hours (361 minutes). This, however, does not have an impact on the rating.

HP Spectre x2 12
42 Wh 1920x1080
MS Surface Pro 4 m3
38 Wh 2736x1824
MS Surface Pro 4 i5
38 Wh 2736x1824
MS Surface Pro 4 i7
38 Wh 2736x1824
Lenovo TP Helix 2
35 Wh 1920x1080
Toshiba Z20t-B
72 Wh 1920x1080
Fujitsu Stylistic Q665
38 Wh 1920x1080
Battery Runtime
0%
-7%
-34%
10%
97%
37%
Reader / Idle
954
791
-17%
899
-6%
654
-31%
964
1%
1616
69%
WiFi v1.3
361
488
35%
427
18%
293
-19%
760
111%
495
37%
Load
166
138
-17%
111
-33%
79
-52%
197
19%
348
110%
H.264
360
787
WiFi
396
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 54min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 46min

Pros

+ power supply via USB Type C
+ robust, convenient keyboard dock
+ keys' good typing qualities
+ backlit keyboard with speakers
+ bright IPS touchscreen
+ rear-facing RealSense camera
+ decent photo quality
+ good microphone
+ adjustable stand
+ decent overall performance
+ noiseless

Cons

- minor weaknesses in build
- lowest gaming performance
- below average CPU computing speed

Verdict

In review: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de
In review: HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.de

With its very stable stand and the sleeve keyboard that is "attached" to the tablet, the Spectre x2 can be used as a laptop on the table to a very high degree. The USB Type C ports recharge the device, and provide a cabled connection to existing Type A peripherals via a hub or adapter (included). The primary camera on the tablet's back takes very nice photos and videos. We have not seen that for a long time in a Windows tablet. Furthermore, the RealSense camera enables 3D scanning - at least in the future. It can measure the structural depth of e.g. a face.

The Spectre x2 also has some minor yet tolerable downsides. Some users will miss a card reader for standard SD cards. The stand jumps out of its resting position when the tablet is warped slightly. The runtimes are not bad, but seven to eight rather than just six hours of Wi-Fi use would have been desirable in view of the price and Core M.

The computing power that only reaches that of the Surface Pro Core M3 is disappointing. The potential buyer might just as well opt for the m3-6Y30 version (2x 900 MHz) that is probably even more frugal in undemanding mobile use. The price is the same; the "weaker" processor is paired with an LTE modem. Users should stick to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 Core i5/i7 in terms of performance. They also come with a faster NVMe SSD.

In case more power is needed in an HP, its big brother, the Spectre x360 13 with an i5-6200U convertible, achieved 84% in our rating. Microsoft's Surface Book, Acer's Aspire R7-371T-52EL, Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 12 as well as Microsoft's Surface Pro (i5/i7) are in the same SoC performance category. Although power users should look at these devices, it is not a criterion for excluding the Spectre x2. It is generally possible to work well with the 2-in-1 device. The determined application performance is quite competitive despite the slow clocking M7.

HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA - 04/18/2016 v5.1
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
86 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
39 / 80 → 49%
Weight
72 / 35-78 → 86%
Battery
88%
Display
84%
Games Performance
55 / 68 → 81%
Application Performance
73 / 87 → 84%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
63 / 91 → 69%
Camera
83 / 85 → 98%
Average
78%
86%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng (K3D42EA) Convertible Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2016-01-31 (Update: 2018-05-15)