Notebookcheck

HP Spectre x360 13t (i7-8550U, FHD, SSD) Laptop Review

Daniel Puschina (translated by Martin Jungowski), 03/16/2018

Function follows form. No doubt about it: the Spectre is a premium convertible with a robust high-quality case, and it's up-to-date thanks to Intel's latest 8th generation Core i7-8550U processor. Let's take a closer look at what hides behind all these flashy specs, shall we?

The 13-inch HP Spectre x360 is yet another notebook that has been updated with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake-R Core i7-8550U but unlike the recently reviewed HP Spectre 13 (Core i7-8550U) Ultrabook, the Spectre x360 is a convertible. It has not only been updated on the inside but has also received a few case modifications compared to its Core i7-7500U predecessor. It is still identical in size but its ports have been rearranged, and its connectivity is superior to the Spectre 13 Ultrabook. In addition to a protective sleeve, the Spectre x360 comes with a stylus pen; unfortunately, the pen cannot be stowed inside or attached to the case.

Our review unit was equipped with a FHD display, 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB NVMe M.2 X4G-series SSD made by Toshiba. Unlike the Spectre 13 Ultrabook, last year’s Spectre x360 Convertible was already equipped with a 4K touchscreen. Thus, the hardware upgrades performed by HP are limited to the CPU, a fingerprint reader, and an added MicroSD card reader. Comparable 13-inch units equipped with the same Core i7-8550U processor are the Lenovo Yoga 920Dell XPS 13Acer Spin 5, Asus ZenBook 13, the x360’s own predecessor, and of course the recently released HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook.

HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng (Spectre x360 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 400 MHz, Memory: 1064 MHz, 22.20.16.4771
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2 x 8 GB LPDDR3-2133
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, multitouch, Chi Mei (CMN1376), IPS, 360° degree, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK, 1024 GB 
, SSD 1024 GB
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 Thunderbolt, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: audio combo jack, Card Reader: MicroSD, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, e-compass
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 13.6 x 306 x 218 ( = 0.54 x 12.05 x 8.58 in)
Battery
60 Wh, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 12 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HP TrueVision FHD IR camera with integrated dual-array microphone
Additional features
Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, protective case, USB Type-A to Type-C Dongle, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.26 kg ( = 44.45 oz / 2.78 pounds), Power Supply: 245 g ( = 8.64 oz / 0.54 pounds)
Price
1799 Euro

 

Case

the surface is almost immune to fingerprints
the surface is almost immune to fingerprints

Last year’s rounded edges and corners had to make room for this year’s more angular and square-cut shape mostly noticeable at the two front corners as well as the rear edge. Instead of a nicely rounded finish the current model features a fairly sharp edge. Where the Ultrabook had carbon fibre touches the Convertible’s case is made entirely out of CNC-routed aluminum and thus much more rigid and robust than the Ultrabook’s. Even moderate force wasn’t enough to twist and warp the case, and the sandblasted surface is practically immune to fingerprints.

The x360 features a 360 ° hinge
The x360 features a 360 ° hinge

The biggest difference between the Convertible and the Ultrabook is the former’s slightly higher display which can be tilted backwards by 360 ° thereby converting the notebook into a full-fledged tablet. Image orientation is always adjusted reliably and quickly regardless of the display’s orientation and opening angle thanks to the built-in orientation sensor.

The high-quality case is well-made, and it fits the Spectre’s premium aspirations. The hinges are moderately firm by and large, and both hands are required for opening or closing the lid due to the base’s low weight. Once opened the display can start tilting backwards if the case is subject to even minor rocking.

Two rubber feet are glued to the bottom of the device ensuring proper skid resistance. Available colors include “Natural Silver”, “Dark Ash”, and - our review unit’s color - “Pale Rose Gold”.

At 30.6 x 21.8 cm, the device’s footprint has remained identical but its thickness has been increased by 0.2 mm to now 13.6 mm. Apparently, slimming the case down even further was not on HP’s agenda due to the fact that the included stylus pen would have looked very chunky in comparison with an even slimmer case. However, HP did manage to decrease the Convertible’s weight slightly, from 1.29 to 1.26 kg.

size comparison: Spectre 13 (white) vs Spectre x360 (rose gold)
size comparison: Spectre 13 (white) vs Spectre x360 (rose gold)

In comparison with its competitors, the Spectre x360 is somewhere between the Dell XPS 13 and the Lenovo Yoga 920. Mainly responsible for the Dell’s reduced footprint is the unusual webcam position underneath the display instead of atop of it. HP’s more traditional positioning means that the Spectre x360 comes with a 17.35 mm thick top bezel that houses the webcam.

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Size Comparison

Connectivity

Where the HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook had some ports installed at the back of the device, the x360 has all its ports as well as the power button and volume rocker spread around the two sides. In everyday use, the x360’s positioning makes more sense given that one does not have to blindly reach behind the case hoping to find the correct port without much fiddling. We were positively surprised by the USB 3.0 Type-A port with support for “Sleep and Charge” on the x360’s left-hand side - something that is completely missing on the Ultrabook. It sits next to a 3.5-mm audio combo jack, the power button, and - another new feature - a MicroSD card reader.

The right-hand side features two USB Type-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3.0 with transfer rates of up to 40 Gbit/s thanks to their PCIe x4 interface. Both ports can be used for charging the x360, and both ports can supply power to connected devices as well. The right-hand side also houses the fingerprint reader missing on the Spectre 13 Ultrabook as well as the volume rocker.

SD Card Reader

Spectre x360 MicroSD card reader
Spectre x360 MicroSD card reader

The MicroSD card reader was decently fast, and it offered transfer rates that were faster than the average Core i7-8550U notebook. In other words: the Spectre x360 has one of the fastest card readers ever tested. Unfortunately, a full-sized SD card reader would not have fit into the slim and compact case.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
191.1 MB/s ∼100% +22%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
180 MB/s ∼94% +15%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
157.2 MB/s ∼82%
Schenker Slim 15 L17
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
77.8 MB/s ∼41% -51%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (16.8 - 191, n=42)
70.2 MB/s ∼37% -55%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
69.7 MB/s ∼36% -56%
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-80A3
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
22.5 MB/s ∼12% -86%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
223.9 MB/s ∼100% +8%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
206.9 MB/s ∼92%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
204.9 MB/s ∼92% -1%
Schenker Slim 15 L17
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
85.6 MB/s ∼38% -59%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
84.9 MB/s ∼38% -59%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (23.3 - 224, n=42)
82.8 MB/s ∼37% -60%
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-80A3
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
24 MB/s ∼11% -88%

Communication

All things wireless are taken care of by Intel’s Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 adapter. It can utilize MU-MIMO for faster data transmission if the router it is connected to supports it as well. There is no support for WWAN at all, and thus no way to connect to LTE networks with the Spectre x360.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
648 MBit/s ∼100% +34%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
633 MBit/s ∼98% +31%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
619 MBit/s ∼96% +28%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
588 MBit/s ∼91% +21%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (62.3 - 668, n=55)
527 MBit/s ∼81% +9%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
522 MBit/s ∼81% +8%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
522 MBit/s ∼81% +8%
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-80A3
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
489 MBit/s ∼75% +1%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
484 MBit/s ∼75%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
659 MBit/s ∼100% +1%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
655 MBit/s ∼99%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
655 MBit/s ∼99% 0%
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-80A3
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
604 MBit/s ∼92% -8%
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
566 MBit/s ∼86% -14%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
557 MBit/s ∼85% -15%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (162 - 676, n=55)
513 MBit/s ∼78% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
511 MBit/s ∼78% -22%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
462 MBit/s ∼70% -29%

Security

touch fingerprint reader
touch fingerprint reader

Unlike the Spectre 13 Ultrabook, the Spectre x360 Convertible has a touch fingerprint reader located between the volume rocker and the two USB-C ports. A TPM module is also available.

Accessories

Included in the box is a matching protective sleeve with a velcro strip for the notebook itself but not the square white power supply (7.5 x 7.5 x 2.9 cm). Unfortunately, our review unit did not include the optional stylus pen which has also been updated: it now supports an eraser mode at the top of the pencil and can be charged via USB-C.

Maintenance

The Spectre x360 is not particularly easy to maintain. Some of the screws that have to be undone are located underneath the rear rubber strip that has to be removed very carefully. The front rubber strip can remain attached and does not have to be removed. It should be easily possible to reattach the rubber strip at least after the first removal without replacing the adhesive. That said, maintainability is limited to replacing the NVMe M.2 SSD; the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard and thus not upgradeable.

Warranty

As usual, devices sold in the US come with a 1-year limited warranty whereas devices sold in Europe are offered with a warranty twice that long. Optional warranty extensions are available.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Spectre’s chiclet keyboard was very pleasant to use, both physically as well as acoustically. Given the notebook’s thinness we were positively surprised by the fairly impressive key travel of 13 mm. The square keycaps are 16 x 16 mm large, are spaced wide enough apart, and allow for fast and accurate usage. The German keyboard layout was slightly unconventional, but we won’t go into detail since this does not affect the default US keyboard layout. If only the cursor up and down buttons weren’t half-sized.

The white keyboard backlight is not adjustable, and thus either on or off.

Touchpad

The glas touchpad’s 16:9 aspect ratio matches the display, and the touchpad was pleasant to use and quite responsive. Gestures and multitouch worked reliable and well. The touchpad lacks dedicated buttons and has these integrated into the lower half instead, and the buttons were precise and offered a very pleasant resistance. We didn’t have any trouble working with the touchpad for prolonged periods of time.

Display

subpixel geometry
subpixel geometry

Our review unit was equipped with the FHD display option (166 ppi) and featured a Chi Mei CMN1376 panel. In terms of design, the display has remained largely unchanged except for the slightly more rounded top corners and the ever so slightly thinner display bezels. For $150 more you can also opt for a 4K display. Both options feature an IPS panel with touch support and a Corning Gorilla Glass protective layer.

Our review unit’s maximum brightness of 311 nits and average brightness of 278 nits is almost identical to last year’s LG-equipped model (LGD054D) and the Spectre 13’s AU Optronics AUO422D panel. When compared to its competitors, the Spectre x360 turned out to be significantly brighter than the Lenovo Yoga 920 but was unable to keep up with the Dell XPS 13 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018 that is currently still in review.

267
cd/m²
294
cd/m²
255
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
279
cd/m²
271
cd/m²
258
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 311 cd/m² Average: 277.9 cd/m² Minimum: 14.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 270 cd/m²
Contrast: 1555:1 (Black: 0.2 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.98 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.57 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
99% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 64% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.51
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Chi Mei (CMN1376), , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
LG Philips LGD054D, , 3840x2160, 13.3
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
AU Optronics AUO422D, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
AU Optronics B139HAN03.0, , 1920x1080, 13.9
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
SHP1484, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Lenovo 40AE / B140QAN02.0, , 2560x1440, 14
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
AU Optronics B133HAN04.9, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
LC133LF102, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
-18%
18%
-23%
-79%
-24%
-6%
-44%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
36 (18, 18)
42 (20.8, 21.2)
-17%
27 (12, 15)
25%
46 (20.8, 25.2)
-28%
62.4 (32.4, 30)
-73%
56.8 (21.2, 35.6)
-58%
44 (22, 22)
-22%
49 (30, 19)
-36%
Response Time Black / White *
27 (13, 14)
32 (18, 14)
-19%
24 (14, 10)
11%
31.6 (18.4, 13.2)
-17%
45.6 (24.4, 21.2)
-69%
24 (6.8, 17.2)
11%
24 (13, 11)
11%
27 (15, 12)
-0%
PWM Frequency
25000 (40)
1008 (20)
-96%
1000 (20)
-96%
Screen
8%
5%
-27%
10%
27%
-2%
3%
Brightness middle
311
302.6
-3%
304
-2%
297.9
-4%
428
38%
562
81%
329
6%
295
-5%
Brightness
278
282
1%
287
3%
278
0%
405
46%
522
88%
306
10%
276
-1%
Brightness Distribution
82
83
1%
80
-2%
81
-1%
87
6%
86
5%
86
5%
88
7%
Black Level *
0.2
0.25
-25%
0.21
-5%
0.44
-120%
0.26
-30%
0.3
-50%
0.3
-50%
0.27
-35%
Contrast
1555
1210
-22%
1448
-7%
677
-56%
1646
6%
1873
20%
1097
-29%
1093
-30%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.98
2.4
40%
3.66
8%
5.1
-28%
3.8
5%
2.8
30%
4.07
-2%
2.97
25%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.48
4.9
42%
5.66
33%
11
-30%
7.2
15%
5.8
32%
7.05
17%
5.67
33%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.57
2.8
50%
3.51
37%
6.7
-20%
4.4
21%
4.5
19%
2.76
50%
3.12
44%
Gamma
2.51 88%
2.2 100%
2.55 86%
2.9 76%
2.21 100%
2.16 102%
2.56 86%
2.45 90%
CCT
7810 83%
6333 103%
6955 93%
6839 95%
7067 92%
7205 90%
6915 94%
6676 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
64
65.5
2%
59
-8%
64.1
0%
62.8
-2%
88.9
39%
56
-12%
62
-3%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99
97.1
-2%
91
-8%
91.7
-7%
96.4
-3%
100
1%
86
-13%
94
-5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-5% / 4%
12% / 7%
-25% / -26%
-35% / -10%
2% / 18%
-4% / -2%
-21% / -8%

* ... smaller is better

gray scale
gray scale
colors
colors
saturation
saturation

When measured in our lab with ColorChecker we were able to discover DeltaE deviations of 5.57 and 3.98 for gray scale and colors, respectively. These deviations from the reference color space are higher than on most competitors including the Spectre’s own predecessor and the Spectre 13 Ultrabook. In return, color space coverage has been improved drastically, and the display now covers 99 % of sRGB and 64 % of AdobeRGB.

vs. sRGB (99 %)
vs. sRGB (99 %)
vs. AdobeRGB (64 %)
vs. AdobeRGB (64 %)

As expected, the display was highly reflective when used outdoors. That said it was subjectively easier to read than the Spectre 13 Ultrabook due to its wider opening angle (Spectre 13: maximum 120 °). Reflections can thus be minimized simply by adjusting the angle between the spectator and the display. Still, a much brighter display with a brightness north of 400 nits would have been very welcome, especially considering that in addition to the reflections caused by the Gorilla Glass layer readability also suffered from the touchscreen’s unavoidable fingerprint smudges. At 340 nits the 4K display is supposed to be a bit brighter, at least according to HP. However, it also requires much more power than our review unit’s FHD display, which is going to have a detrimental effect on b

 


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
27 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 14 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. » 54 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 18 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. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.1 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 detected 25000 Hz ≤ 40 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 25000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 40 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 25000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8872 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Viewing angles were as wide as expected of an IPS display. However, the display did suffer from visible reflections when tilted forwards due to the highly glossy layer of Corning Gorilla Glass.

Performance

Just like the Spectre 13 Ultrabook, the Spectre x36 showed signs of massive throttling due to very conservative settings. Our guess is that the thin case is at least partly to blame for the trouble. However, the CPU upgrade from two to four cores worked as expected, and overall performance in benchmarks, particularly those that profit from higher core counts, has been significantly improved.

Processor

Coming from an Intel Core i7-7500U the new Core i7-8550U CPU is the Spectre x360’s single most important upgrade. Intel’s 8th generation Kaby Lake-R brings double the cores and an increased turbo boost speed of up to 4 GHz on up to two cores, and up to 3.7 GHz on all four cores. The integrated GPU is now referred to as UHD Graphics 620. Additional technical data and specs can be found in our CPU compendium.

What the Core i7-8550U is capable of was revealed during the Cinebench R15 benchmark. While single-core performance was almost identical to its predecessor multi-core performance was where the new Spectre x360 truly shined: a 58 % performance increase thanks to twice the cores running at 3.7 GHz is impressive. That said the x360 performed between 8-10 % slower than the average Core i7-8550U and UHD 620 equipped notebook.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Intel Core i7-8550U
170 Points ∼100% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel Core i7-8550U
168 Points ∼99% +17%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (108 - 170, n=23)
157 Points ∼92% +9%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Core i7-8550U
150 Points ∼88% +4%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
145 Points ∼85% +1%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼85% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼85% 0%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
144 Points ∼85%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Core i7-7500U
143 Points ∼84% -1%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel Core i7-8550U
699 Points ∼100% +40%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
669 Points ∼96% +34%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Core i7-8550U
630 Points ∼90% +26%
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Intel Core i7-8550U
576 Points ∼82% +15%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (301 - 708, n=25)
553 Points ∼79% +10%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel Core i5-8250U
534 Points ∼76% +7%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
515 Points ∼74% +3%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
501 Points ∼72%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Core i7-7500U
317 Points ∼45% -37%
Intel XTU tool
Intel XTU tool

The culprit behind the Spectre x360’s comparatively poor performance was determined fairly quickly. Unlike during our Cinebench loop, which we are going to discuss in more detail later on, we only run Cinebench R15 once in order to determine the single-core and multi-core scores. Accordingly, the CPU is able to utilize its “Turbo Boost Short Max” thresholds with a preconfigured maximum duration and power consumption. To our surprise, the Spectre 13 Ultrabook showed a 20 second window for “Turbo Boost Short Power Max” according to Intel’s XTU tool. The Spectre x360 was allowed to run at those speeds for up to 28 seconds (a much more common timespan), however at a “Turbo Short Power Max” setting of just 30 W. Compare that to the Acer Spin 5’s 44 W or the Dell XPS 13’s 51 W and connecting the dots becomes a no-brainer: the competition is able to pull ahead during these first 28 seconds of maximum power consumption, which subsequently results in higher Cinebench scores.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
7508
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17960
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
501 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
144 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
45.13 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

We were particularly interested in the Spectre x360’s sustained load capabilities, and as usual used a Cinebench multi-core loop to determine the convertible’s long-term performance stamina. At first, we noticed the 28 second long performance burst at a thermal limit of 30 W as reported by Intel’s XTU tool.

After these 28 seconds had passed, the power limit (PL1) was gradually reduced from 15 to 12 W, and CPU temperature dropped from 83 °C to 78 °C. HP refers to this behavior as “Hybrid Thermal Design”: surface temperatures are monitored by an infrared sensor and power limits are adjusted accordingly. Consequently, the Spectre x360 remained in the 15 W bracket for a noticeable amount of time during the first iteration of our loop and dropped to a reduced power window of 12-13 W afterwards.

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Cinebench R15 Multi Core i7-8550U

The first iteration yielded a high-score of 501 points, and the Spectre x360 settled between 440-450 points afterwards. Accordingly, the x360’s power throttling was determined to be around 11-12 %.

HWInfo
HWInfo

System Performance

System performance is measured with PCMark 8, and as expected the new Spectre x360 surpassed its own predecessor in this test and yielded 20 % higher scores in the Work Score Accelerated as well as the Home Score. It was thus about as fast as the Spectre 13 Ultrabook and by and large slightly below average for an i7-8850U notebook. Despite its thin case and the rather conservative power settings the Spectre x360 with its 2,133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM is a stable and snappy everyday workhorse.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5154 Points ∼100% +15%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4906 Points ∼95% +10%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4811 Points ∼93% +8%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (3518 - 5343, n=46)
4736 Points ∼92% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4719 Points ∼92% +6%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4563 Points ∼89% +2%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
4562 Points ∼89% +2%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
4463 Points ∼87%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3706 Points ∼72% -17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3999 Points ∼100% +11%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3994 Points ∼100% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3824 Points ∼96% +6%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3780 Points ∼95% +5%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (3145 - 4438, n=52)
3719 Points ∼93% +3%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3705 Points ∼93% +3%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
3605 Points ∼90%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3197 Points ∼80% -11%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
3023 Points ∼76% -16%
PCMark 7 Score
5682 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3605 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4998 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4463 points
Help

Storage Devices

Crystalmark 3.0
Crystalmark 3.0

All things SSD are handled by Toshiba’s XG4-series, in our case a THNSN51T02DUK SSD. The 1 TB NVMe SSD was connected via PCIe x4 and was able to keep up with the highly acclaimed Samsung PM961. Particularly worth mentioning are its Write 4k QD32 and Read 4k QD32 scores, where it was practically on a par with the PM961.

AS SSD had trouble benchmarking the Toshiba X4G SSD due to a known bug that affects other SSDs as well: the RST driver enables a feature called “Forced Unit Access” (FUA), which in turn results in write operations bypassing the SSD’s onboard cache and accessing the SSD’s NAND flash directly instead. Accordingly, real-world write speeds are much faster than reported by AS SSD, as can be seen among others in the CrystalDiskMark results.

HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
43%
4%
44%
-5%
-48%
-42%
Write 4k QD32
437.3
225.6
-48%
476
9%
573.1
31%
339.86
-22%
257.2
-41%
292
-33%
Read 4k QD32
541.6
518.3
-4%
543
0%
432.9
-20%
381.77
-30%
356.8
-34%
247.3
-54%
Write 4k
138.1
139.4
1%
144
4%
142.4
3%
127.49
-8%
78.63
-43%
91.58
-34%
Read 4k
45.99
54.66
19%
60
30%
56.16
22%
34.18
-26%
30.37
-34%
27.52
-40%
Write 512
575
1229
114%
546
-5%
831.5
45%
353.88
-38%
256.6
-55%
361.9
-37%
Read 512
619.9
864.8
40%
515
-17%
1252
102%
839.63
35%
258.1
-58%
325.2
-48%
Write Seq
776.3
1550
100%
878
13%
1125
45%
352.7
-55%
263
-66%
439.9
-43%
Read Seq
918.5
2065
125%
907
-1%
2070
125%
1875.2
104%
435.6
-53%
462.7
-50%
Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
Sequential Read: 918.5 MB/s
Sequential Write: 776.3 MB/s
512K Read: 619.9 MB/s
512K Write: 575 MB/s
4K Read: 45.99 MB/s
4K Write: 138.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 541.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 437.3 MB/s

GPU Performance

Kaby Lake-Refresh not only adds cores to the CPU but also incorporates the new Intel UHD Graphics 620 with an increased maximum clock speed of 1,150 MHz. Given that the UHD 620 does not have access to its own dedicated memory and utilizes the system’s main memory instead, running your RAM in dual-channel mode is highly recommended: it can be up to 20 % faster than single-channel mode. Fortunately, our review unit was equipped with two 8 GB modules in dual-channel mode, and our GPU was thus running at peak performance.

In 3DMark 11 (Performance GPU) the new Spectre x360 performed about as fast as last year’s model; in 3DMark (Cloud Gate Standard Graphics) it was slightly faster. By and large the x360 convertible met our expectations. A dedicated GPU is not available for the Spectre x360 - considering the device’s thin and small case it would be almost impossible to implement.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3461 Points ∼100% +131%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1869 Points ∼54% +25%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1776 Points ∼51% +19%
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1709 Points ∼49% +14%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1440 - 1915, n=20)
1698 Points ∼49% +13%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1607 Points ∼46% +7%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1587 Points ∼46% +6%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1569 Points ∼45% +5%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1497 Points ∼43%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
18346 Points ∼100% +113%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
10493 Points ∼57% +22%
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
9678 Points ∼53% +13%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 10493, n=19)
9109 Points ∼50% +6%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
8787 Points ∼48% +2%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
8654 Points ∼47% +1%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
8600 Points ∼47%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
7636 Points ∼42% -11%
3DMark 06 Standard
10323 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1688 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7354 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
961 points
Help

Gaming Performance

As expected, with its U-class CPU and its integrated UHD Graphics GPU the Spectre x360 wasn’t made with gaming in mind, and it’s in good company with all the other UHD 620 equipped laptops. Even low details weren’t enough to achieve smooth and enjoyable frame rates.

However, the notebook’s Thunderbolt 3.0 port might become a gamer’s best friend as it supports external GPUs at full speed thanks to its internal PCIe x4 connection. Keep in mind though that games heavy on the CPU might suffer drastically from the device’s conservative 12-15 W TDP limit. We can thus not recommend the Spectre x360 Convertible for serious gaming.

F1 2017
1920x1080 High Preset AA:T AF:8x
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
9 fps ∼100% 0%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
9 fps ∼100%
1920x1080 Medium Preset AF:4x
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
13 fps ∼100% 0%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
13 fps ∼100%
1280x720 Ultra Low Preset
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
31 fps ∼100%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
30 fps ∼97% -3%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
10.3 fps ∼100%
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
6.8 fps ∼66% -34%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
5.5 fps ∼53% -47%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
12.7 fps ∼100% +4%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
12.3 fps ∼97% +1%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
12.2 fps ∼96%
1024x768 Lowest Preset
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
22.9 fps ∼100% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
21.3 fps ∼93% +6%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
20.1 fps ∼88%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
18.6 fps ∼81% -7%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
15.6 fps ∼100% +174%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
5.7 fps ∼37%
1366x768 Medium Graphics & Postprocessing
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
28.1 fps ∼100% +184%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
10.7 fps ∼38% +8%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
9.9 fps ∼35%
1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
46.4 fps ∼100% +227%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
16.8 fps ∼36% +18%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
14.2 fps ∼31%
Final Fantasy XV Benchmark
1920x1080 High Quality
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
8.2 fps ∼100% +215%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
2.6 fps ∼32%
1920x1080 Standard Quality
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
13.8 fps ∼100% +182%
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK
4.9 fps ∼36%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
4.3 fps ∼31% -12%
1280x720 Lite Quality
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
28.3 fps ∼100%
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
9.3 fps ∼33%
low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 14.29.95.7fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.112.210.3fps
F1 2017 (2017) 31139fps
Final Fantasy XV Benchmark (2018) 4.92.6fps

Emissions

System Noise

The fans were completely off when idle, and only started spinning under load. Subjectively, the new Spectre has become a bit quieter than its predecessor, and is now on a comparable level as its competitors: 30 dB(A) when idle and 33 dB(A) under load.

Oddly enough we have noticed a very irritating coil whine - which could be originating from the fans as well - while running the BatteryEater tests. The high-pitched noise disappeared during subsequent reruns, and we have failed to reproduce it ever since.

Noise Level

Idle
30.13 / 30 / 30.13 dB(A)
Load
33.4 / 33 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.13 dB(A)
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
7500U, HD Graphics 620
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Lenovo Yoga 720-13IKB
8550U, UHD Graphics 620
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
8250U, UHD Graphics 620
Noise
-8%
1%
1%
-1%
-2%
off / environment *
30.13
28.7
5%
30.13
-0%
29.1
3%
30.5
-1%
30.4
-1%
Idle Minimum *
30.13
28.7
5%
30.13
-0%
29.1
3%
30.5
-1%
30.4
-1%
Idle Average *
30
34.2
-14%
30.13
-0%
29.1
3%
30.5
-2%
30.4
-1%
Idle Maximum *
30.13
35.8
-19%
30.13
-0%
29.1
3%
30.5
-1%
30.9
-3%
Load Average *
33.4
35.8
-7%
31.5
6%
32.2
4%
32.8
2%
34
-2%
Load Maximum *
33
39.6
-20%
33.5
-2%
37.3
-13%
34.7
-5%
33.5
-2%

* ... smaller is better

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204646.144.2462541.943.240.241.93134.832.331.634.84031.431.431.531.45030.231.330.230.26332.231.730.532.28027.828.127.227.810030.229.928.430.212526.827.625.426.816028.629.42728.620025.125.223.425.12502626.624.12631525.525.522.525.540025.725.122.125.750024.124.32124.163023.123.219.923.180022.422.719.222.4100022.121.718.922.1125020.820.61820.8160020.819.917.120.8200022.321.11722.3250021.120.116.721.1315020.519.716.420.5400020.519.616.220.5500019.418.516.219.4630018.11816.318.1800017.717.716.317.71000017.817.816.417.81250018.11816.718.11600018.318.217.118.3SPL33.43330.133.4N21.91.42median 22.1HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ngmedian 21.1median 18median 22.1Delta3.13.23.33.144.946.146.744.244.939.343.241.540.239.332.131.731.831.632.13132.131.231.5313031.130.330.23031.433.83230.531.429.13031.127.229.130.531.730.828.430.526.327.626.125.426.327.229.128.62727.225.226.72523.425.226.327.125.924.126.326.126.924.822.526.125.826.724.122.125.826.32723.92126.325.626.322.519.925.626.826.723.419.226.826.726.722.918.926.726.126.321.71826.126.326.521.217.126.326.426.520.81726.426.827.221.416.726.826.92720.916.426.927.327.420.616.227.325.325.420.416.225.320.821.117.616.320.818.918.817.316.318.917.91817.516.417.917.717.817.416.717.717.91817.717.117.937.83833.530.137.82.9321.42.9median 26.3HP Spectre 13-af033ngmedian 26.7median 21.7median 18median 26.31.722.13.31.734.535.132.535.234.533.531.832.438.433.538.938.137.638.538.930.930.931.932.130.931.128.228.229.331.129.327.327.526.629.327.227.427.225.727.229.726.426.226.429.725.925.324.526.125.923.824.52423.723.824.624.722.322.724.624.323.821.721.624.325.325.62120.825.324.425.520.32024.425.525.919.419.425.525.325.618.618.825.326.426.318.218.326.430.530.317.717.630.528.628.317.817.828.630.330.217.617.530.330.630.617.417.530.629.929.817.617.429.9303017.717.83027.527.518.617.927.526.326.518.118.126.322.922.918.318.322.921.220.918.718.421.219.419.318.418.419.418.818.618.418.318.818.518.418.718.318.540.140.130.430.440.13.33.31.41.43.3median 25.5HP Spectre 13-v131ngmedian 25.6median 18.6median 18.3median 25.52.62.21.81.92.633.136.830.134.236.329.228.629.529.730.133.429.529.530.23431.628.927.23032.539.638.427.927.540.927.226.426.626.82823.725.825.124.925.725.827.323.823.826.523.623.822.8232521.622.422.721.921.721.92222.721.721.721.521.621.32121.822.220.621.219.520.120.319.819.919.119.921.619.819.918.220.22219.62018.219.722.119.719.217.319.724.520.42017.320.225.320.419.616.720.225.921.520.41619.626.821.120.115.620.227.120.919.215.919.927.721.618.916.11927.22018.116.4182618.417.716.517.622.818.317.716.917.620.117.617.417.117.318.417.517.517.117.317.617.417.417.117.217.117.117.11717.137.332.231.229.131.32.51.71.51.21.5median 22.2Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5median 20.4median 19.9median 17.1median 19.92.81.61.31.51.734.535.134.634.434.533.433.433.23933.440.139.236.542.240.13433.232.335.43434.330.832.237.834.33028.229.429.63026.125.72528.826.126.425.82628.326.425.72624.825.625.723.324.423.923.323.323.62322.522.723.622.622.421.921.522.622.122.121.820.822.121.921.420.420.421.921.120.419.319.321.120.520.11918.520.522.821.118.218.222.824.322.118.317.924.322.920.818.117.922.921.719.617.817.721.723.321.217.917.823.324.221.417.817.724.22320.817.818.12324.1221818.224.123.82018.418.323.820.219.118.318.520.219.619.118.618.619.619.118.818.618.619.118.818.818.418.418.818.81918.518.518.834.832.830.630.634.82.21.81.41.42.2median 22.8Lenovo Yoga 720-13IKBmedian 21.1median 18.5median 18.5median 22.81.61.11.81.81.6hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Temperature

Temperatures are fairly flat between top and bottom, which could be caused by the thin case without much room to spare between the bottom cover and the keyboard. Under load, the x360 got a bit warmer than the Spectre 13 Ultrabook and reached a maximum of 46.5 °C at the rear edge close to the fan exhaust. Much more importantly though the palm rests remained comparatively cool by and large, and never exceeded 28 °C (2 °C more than the Ultrabook). The Dell XPS 13 reached a maximum of 31 °C under load, but HP managed to divert the heat emissions towards the rear of the convertible.

Max. Load
 34.5 °C
94 F
46.5 °C
116 F
39.4 °C
103 F
 
 28.6 °C
83 F
35.7 °C
96 F
32.1 °C
90 F
 
 28 °C
82 F
28 °C
82 F
29.1 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 46.5 °C = 116 F
Average: 33.5 °C = 92 F
37.6 °C
100 F
46.5 °C
116 F
34.5 °C
94 F
34.1 °C
93 F
37.1 °C
99 F
31.5 °C
89 F
30.5 °C
87 F
31.1 °C
88 F
29.3 °C
85 F
Maximum: 46.5 °C = 116 F
Average: 34.7 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  36.5 °C = 98 F | Room Temperature 21.6 °C = 71 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
heatmap top (load)
heatmap top (load)
heatmap bottom (load)
heatmap bottom (load)
heatmap top (idle)
heatmap top (idle)
heatmap bottom (idle)
heatmap bottom (idle)

Speakers

Bang & Olufsen speakers
Bang & Olufsen speakers

The convertible sounded much better than the Spectre 13 Ultrabook. Its maximum volume was much higher than expected of a very thin device without a sound box thanks to a total of four Bang & Olufsen speakers. The Spectre is also 3.2 mm thicker than the Ultrabook and made mostly of aluminum, which might have had a positive effect on sound quality. The 3.5-mm headphone jack is located on the left side of the case.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204444.2442544.440.244.43140.631.640.64041.231.541.25043.130.243.16343.330.543.38045.327.245.310046.128.446.112545.625.445.616049.32749.320052.223.452.225056.124.156.131562.222.562.240062.222.162.250063216363065.419.965.48006919.269100070.918.970.9125072.41872.4160072.617.172.6200067.91767.9250069.416.769.4315065.416.465.4400065.316.265.3500066.316.266.3630062.816.362.880006316.3631000065.816.465.81250065.816.765.81600063.817.163.8SPL80.430.180.4N48.11.448.1median 65.3HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ngmedian 18median 65.3Delta3.33.33.334.230.529.729.430.228.43028.227.529.126.82824.925.723.832.12335.121.948.621.752.62157.419.558.119.158.718.262.718.26517.371.917.371.816.772.11672.615.672.715.968.616.168.916.465.916.571.616.973.717.172.617.167.217.163.71755.329.182.81.255.8median 17.1Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5median 65.91.58.63739.132.635.929.832.429.230.227.630.731.435.928.13125.337.523.648.323.354.723.653.820.658.120.758.120.1621965.218.563.417.656.317.958.217.356.217.260.917.270177116.865.91763.91762.917.267.717.365.217.355.91754.317.361.329.777.71.340.3median 17.3Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017)median 60.91.84.1hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (72.56 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13.4% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.5% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (11.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 11%, average was 22%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 6% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 93% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 48% of all tested devices in this class were better, 6% similar, 47% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 27% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 67% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook Air 13.3" 1.8 GHz (2017) audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (77.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 9.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 13% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 83% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 8% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 89% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Spectre x360 65 W power supply
Spectre x360 65 W power supply

Compared to last year’s model, HP has optimized the Spectre even further and managed to reduce idle power consumption by a third. Under load, our review unit was the only FHD-equipped notebook with an average of less than 30 W. Accordingly, the 65 W power supply is amply dimensioned. Charging from near empty to full takes around 1.5 hours, and the battery charge level reads 50 % after 30 minutes already.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.39 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.2 / 6 / 9.2 Watt
Load midlight 29.5 / 35.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba NVMe THNSN51T02DUK, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, IPS, 3840x2160, 13.3
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.9
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2018-20LES01W00
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, IPS Dolby Vision HDR, 2560x1440, 14
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
8550U, GeForce MX150, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Power Consumption
-30%
-1%
0%
-5%
-51%
2%
-8%
Idle Minimum *
3.2
5.3
-66%
2.8
12%
3.1
3%
3.14
2%
3.4
-6%
2.2
31%
3.9
-22%
Idle Average *
6
9.6
-60%
6.2
-3%
6.6
-10%
5.22
13%
8.8
-47%
5
17%
8.2
-37%
Idle Maximum *
9.2
10.1
-10%
9.4
-2%
7
24%
6
35%
11.9
-29%
8
13%
8.8
4%
Load Average *
29.5
34.4
-17%
32.2
-9%
35.2
-19%
38.5
-31%
50.4
-71%
33
-12%
28.5
3%
Load Maximum *
35.6
34.8
2%
36.6
-3%
34.6
3%
50.4
-42%
71.2
-100%
49.4
-39%
30.7
14%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

We have to admit that we were somewhat disappointed by the Spectre 13 Ultrabook’s battery life. While power consumption was very low HP also skimped on battery capacity and equipped the Ultrabook with a tiny 43 Wh battery. In comparison, the convertible’s 60 Wh battery is significantly larger, and it shows: the Spectre x360 lasted for 8-9 hours in our Wi-Fi test and 2.5 hours in BatterEater’s load test. Thus, the new model not only easily outperformed the Spectre 13 Ultrabook but also last year’s model.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
8h 47min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
17h 50min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 46min
HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 57.8 Wh
HP Spectre 13-af033ng
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 43 Wh
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB-80Y7
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 70 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
8550U, GeForce MX150, 50 Wh
Schenker Slim 15 L17
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 44 Wh
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 53.9 Wh
Battery Runtime
-15%
-36%
7%
-9%
-28%
-57%
-5%
Reader / Idle
792
1655
1417
1240
442
H.264
1070
649
-39%
831
-22%
534
-50%
255
-76%
WiFi v1.3
527
537
2%
352
-33%
685
30%
644
22%
538
2%
275
-48%
500
-5%
Load
166
114
-31%
104
-37%
140
-16%
119
-28%
105
-37%
86
-48%

Verdict

Pros

+ almost 100 % sRGB color space coverage
+ very decent black level
+ enjoyable keyboard and touchpad
+ high-quality good looking CNC-routed case
+ USB 3.0 Type-A and 2x Thunderbolt 3.0
+ MicroSD card reader

Cons

- low TDP and thermal power throttling
- underwhelming GPU performance
- mediocre brightness, highly reflective display
- soldered RAM
- poor maintainability

While running our Spectre x360 tests and benchmark we asked you, our readers, what the most important features of a premium convertible are, and portability, battery life, coil whine, performance, and case rigidity were among the most important factors. Generally speaking, a convertible is supposed to be portable to a certain degree; the case must be rigid and battery life must be long enough. The x360’s case is very robust considering its weight and thickness. It obviously isn’t entirely immune to flexing and warping, but much more so than the Spectre 13 Ultrabook. The hinges seemed to be more durable and firm as well.

The second portability aspect - battery life - has been addressed by the 60 Wh battery (compared with the Ultrabook’s tiny 43 Wh battery). Thanks to low power consumption and an active dynamic throttling policy the Spectre x360 even managed to outrun the Lenovo Yoga 920 with its 70 Wh battery. The price you pay is a lower system and CPU performance - the Lenovo Yoga 920 is much faster in all regards than the Spectre x360. If battery life is of utmost importance we suggest staying away from the 4K model since it will reduce battery life significantly.

The Core i7-8550U’s overall performance was solid, save for graphically intensive workloads or games where the UHD Graphics 620 was noticeably slower than on other comparably equipped notebooks. Everyday workloads are no real challenge, though. Touchpad and touchscreen worked well, unfortunately we were unable to review the optional stylus.

The price may seem exaggerated when looking at the Spectre’s performance rating, but build quality and design make up for it.

Spectre x360. Review unit courtesy of HP Germany.
Spectre x360. Review unit courtesy of HP Germany.

The price obviously depends on your choice of hardware, and the device can be configured according to your individual liking in HP’s web store. The base model starts at $999 and includes an i5-8250U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 360 GB SSD (currently a free upgrade from the usual 256 GB SSD); a fully specced model (4K display, i7-8550U, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) will cost you almost $1,700.

If you find the Spectre x360 too expensive maybe the 13-inch Acer Spin 5 (i7-8550U, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD) might be an option. Its performance is comparable to the Spectre x360 but it lacks a Thunderbolt 3.0 port. It is also 1 cm thicker and cannot really compete with the x360 in terms of design.

HP Spectre x360 13-ae048ng - 03/01/2018 v6
Daniel Puschina

Chassis
87 / 98 → 89%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
68 / 80 → 85%
Weight
72 / 35-78 → 86%
Battery
95%
Display
82%
Games Performance
57 / 68 → 84%
Application Performance
88 / 87 → 100%
Temperature
90%
Noise
94%
Audio
69 / 91 → 76%
Camera
66 / 85 → 77%
Average
80%
88%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP Spectre x360 13t (i7-8550U, FHD, SSD) Laptop Review
Daniel Puschina, 2018-03-16 (Update: 2018-03-16)