We were big fans of the latest Spectre x360 13 when we reviewed it last year. The Ice Lake edition is lightweight, well-built and has decent battery life. The AU Optronics AUO5E2D panel in our review unit fared well too, with the 1080p display offering good viewing angles, colour space coverage and high maximum brightness. HP calls this a BrightView display and it is one of the two 1080p IPS panels that the company offers in the US. HP also sells a 4K AMOLED option, which is a US$100 upgrade from the entry-level display.
However, HP does not sell a BrightView 1080p panel for the Spectre x360 in some markets, like the UK. Instead, the only 1080p panel that it offers is the Sure View one, which is currently equipped in the following SKUs:
So, we thought we would see how the Sure View panel performed, especially after our time last year with a Sure View-equipped EliteBook x360 1030 G3. We purchased two 13-aw0115na units, which HP equips with the Core i7-1065G7, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The 13-aw0115na is almost identical to the Spectre x360 13-aw0013dx that we reviewed in December save for the chassis colour, display and lack of Intel Optane Memory. As such, we shall only be discussing our impressions of the Sure View display in the Spectre x360 13.
In short, the Sure View panel in the Spectre x360 ruins what is otherwise an excellent laptop. Unlike the EliteBook x360 1030 G3, the Sure View panel on the Spectre x360 13 has a glossy finish, but that is way down on our list of gripes with the Sure View panel here.
Our units both have the InfoVision M133NVFD R2 (IVO8584), which is rated for 72% NTSC coverage and a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. According to Laptop Media, the IVO8584 covers 91% of sRGB and has a peak brightness of 815 nits, which is still impressively bright. The additional light directing layer that HP includes on Sure View panels means that the display does not look much brighter than 400 nits.
Sure View is enabled by pressing F1, which HP designates as a "how to get help in windows 10" shortcut. Switching off Sure View does not entirely disable its effects though as the technology is hardware and software-based. In our experience, the Sure View panel has terrible viewing angles, even with the feature disabled. Viewing angles are akin to old TN panels, so it feels like Sure View is always enabled. it is impossible to show someone our display without turning it towards them, for example. This is also true if we are looking at the device at an off-angle.
Anecdotally, multiple people have complained that the display makes their eyes hurt after a few moments of looking at it. I do not think that this relates to PWM, but more to the huge variances in brightness relating to poor viewing angles. This is even true when looking square-on at the display.
Overall, we would recommend giving the Spectre x360 13 a miss in the UK unless you are willing to spend more on the 4K IPS or 4K OLED SKUs. The Sure View IPS panel simply makes too many compromises on image quality and viewing angles.