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HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx Convertible Review

4K UHD update. The recently released Spectre x360 15 is available in FHD and UHD display options. Are those smaller pixels really worth the extra cost? We compare the two models to see what drawbacks and benefits one may have over the other.

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Multimedia notebooks and Ultrabooks are increasingly becoming available with QHD or UHD options in addition to the standard 1080p SKUs. These higher resolution displays always come with higher price tags, but users must be aware that the higher resolutions may come with sacrifices to battery life and other potential drawbacks related to the display.

We published on the 1080p version of the Spectre x360 15 not too long ago and walked away impressed by its quality and usability considering the large 15.6-inch screen size. We recommend checking out our previous review page for more information on chassis quality and features. Is this 4K UHD version worth the added costs?

HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx (Spectre x360 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 MHz, Memory: 933 MHz, 20.19.15.4360
Memory
16261 MB 
, 532 MHz, 10-10-10-28, Dual-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel, Capacitive, IPS, Name: LG Philips LGD04E0, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Combo, Card Reader: SD reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 16 x 375.9 x 247.6 ( = 0.63 x 14.8 x 9.75 in)
Battery
65 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 3-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD
Additional features
Speakers: Bang & Olufsen with subwoofer, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Manual, cleaning cloth, warranty card, McAfee AntiVirus, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.853 kg ( = 65.36 oz / 4.09 pounds), Power Supply: 155 g ( = 5.47 oz / 0.34 pounds)
Price
1350 USD

 

Display

A quick glance at the 4K UHD screen reveals crisper texts and images than its FHD counterpart, of course. The higher resolution naturally allows for better multi-tasking and more screen real-estate for multiple windows. Our measurements show brightness levels to be essentially equal to the less expensive FHD SKU at just under 300 nits.

The underlying panel is the LG Philips LGD04E0 compared to the LG Philips LP156WF6 on the FHD version. Perhaps more interestingly, the 4K UHD SKU utilizes a RGBW subpixel matrix instead of the standard RGB matrix as found on the FHD SKU. In theory, this should give the 4K UHD panel more accurate colors out-of-the-box compared to its FHD counterpart, which our measurements show to a slight degree. Contrast, however, is essentially halved as a result.

Uneven backlight bleeding is minimal and difficult to notice. Playing a movie with black borders on top and bottom will probably be the most common way to see the slight bleeding around the edges.

Very slight backlight bleeding on bottom edge
Very slight backlight bleeding on bottom edge
RGBW subpixel array
RGBW subpixel array
311.6
cd/m²
307.8
cd/m²
305.3
cd/m²
274.5
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
290.6
cd/m²
277.5
cd/m²
284.9
cd/m²
306.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 311.6 cd/m² Average: 295.2 cd/m² Minimum: 20.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 298 cd/m²
Contrast: 523:1 (Black: 0.57 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.43 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.4
ΔE Greyscale 2.45 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
87.8% sRGB (Argyll) 57.2% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.45
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
15.6, 3840x2160
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
15.6, 1920x1080
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
15.6, 1920x1080
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
15.6, 1920x1080
HP Envy 15-w103ng x360
15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
14, 1920x1080
Response Times
-16%
26%
-87%
-7%
-7%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
32.8 (14.8, 18)
40 (14, 26)
-22%
24 (12, 12)
27%
64 (27, 37)
-95%
37 (38, 36)
-13%
43 (22, 21)
-31%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (4.8, 23.2)
30.4 (10, 20.4)
-9%
21 (6, 15)
25%
50 (12, 38)
-79%
28 (24, 32)
-0%
23 (8, 15)
18%
PWM Frequency
50 (30)
Screen
-2%
2%
3%
-32%
-64%
Brightness middle
298
289.9
-3%
294
-1%
371.5
25%
208
-30%
249
-16%
Brightness
295
275
-7%
285
-3%
356
21%
205
-31%
235
-20%
Brightness Distribution
88
88
0%
83
-6%
92
5%
80
-9%
87
-1%
Black Level *
0.57
0.289
49%
0.26
54%
0.252
56%
0.26
54%
0.44
23%
Contrast
523
1003
92%
1131
116%
1474
182%
800
53%
566
8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.43
5.24
-18%
5.07
-14%
5.55
-25%
6.97
-57%
9.47
-114%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.62
9.55
-44%
9.33
-41%
10.95
-65%
15.41
-133%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.45
4.46
-82%
4.25
-73%
7.1
-190%
7.37
-201%
10.22
-317%
Gamma
2.45 98%
2.31 104%
2.49 96%
2.1 114%
2.34 103%
2.34 103%
CCT
6326 103%
6818 95%
6597 99%
6823 95%
11451 57%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57.2
54.7
-4%
54
-6%
63.4
11%
38
-34%
39
-32%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
87.8
83.3
-5%
83
-5%
97.9
12%
59
-33%
57
-35%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-9% / -4%
14% / 6%
-42% / -12%
-20% / -27%
-36% / -54%

* ... smaller is better

Color coverage is approximately 57 percent and 88 percent of AdobeRGB and sRGB standards, respectively. The denser panel does not offer tangible color gains over its FHD counterpart. It is, however, still a massive improvement over the panel on the Envy 15 x360.

vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. Spectre x360 15 FHD
vs. Spectre x360 15 FHD
vs. Envy 15 x360
vs. Envy 15 x360

Further display measurements reveal an average grayscale with better color accuracy than the FHD counterpart. A quick calibration improves grayscale noticeably and colors just slightly. Colors become less accurate at higher saturation levels due to imperfect sRGB coverage.

It's worth noting that the grayscale on the FHD SKU can be even better than the 4K UHD SKU after calibration as shown by our measurements.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

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
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 4.8 ms rise
↘ 23.2 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. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.1 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
32.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14.8 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. » 19 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.7 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 10390 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Outdoor usability is the same as on the FHD panel. The lower contrast, however, can cause the screen to look slightly more washed out. The difference is otherwise subjectively insignificant when outdoors under shade or sunlight.

Viewing angles are very wide as expected due to the IPS panel. Extremely shallow angles can cause colors to gray or redden as seen on the top left side of the display on our example screenshot. This is a common occurrence on most panels.

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz for single-threaded processes
Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz for single-threaded processes

While the Spectre x360 15 4K UHD includes options for the faster Core i7-6500U and i7-6560U, our particular unit uses the same Core i5-5200U CPU as our previous FHD test unit. Thus, performance results are essentially the same as on our previous review page. Onboard RAM has been doubled from 8 GB to 16 GB with all else remaining identical save for the SSD manufacturer.

LatencyMon shows no hard page faults after uninstalling the pre-installed McAfee software.

 

Processor

Raw performance is only a few percentage points within most other ULV models down to even the Haswell generation. The gap widens when compared to the Core i7-6650U, but the differences are still barely in the double digits. More power-hungry quad-core processors like the older Core i7-4700HQ will still handily outperform the ULV Skylake core in multi-core processes.

See our dedicated CPU page on the Core i5-6200U for more technical information and benchmarks.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
123 Points ∼60%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
125 Points ∼61% +2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
132 Points ∼64% +7%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
115 Points ∼56% -7%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G2
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
121 Points ∼59% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
129 Points ∼63% +5%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
310 Points ∼11%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
490 Points ∼17% +58%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
342 Points ∼12% +10%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
293 Points ∼10% -5%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G2
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
277 Points ∼9% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
272 Points ∼9% -12%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1.37 Points ∼59%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.46 Points ∼62% +7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1.51 Points ∼65% +10%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1.33 Points ∼57% -3%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G2
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1.46 Points ∼62% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
1.46 Points ∼62% +7%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3.42 Points ∼14%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5.29 Points ∼22% +55%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3.8 Points ∼16% +11%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3.42 Points ∼14% 0%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G2
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3.14 Points ∼13% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
2.95 Points ∼12% -14%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
6493 Points ∼72%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
6787 Points ∼75%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
6336 Points ∼70%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
18887 Points ∼27%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
14833 Points ∼21%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 20AQ006BGE
GeForce GT 730M, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
11967 Points ∼17%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
497.941 s * ∼6%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
323 s * ∼4% +35%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
445.593 s * ∼5% +11%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
481.807 s * ∼6% +3%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
655.981 Seconds * ∼3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% +13%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
612.745 Seconds * ∼3% +7%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
675.153 Seconds * ∼3% -3%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
7669
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9730
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4802
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
34.42 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.42 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.37 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
38.95 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
310 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
123 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks place the HP convertible in line with other 15.6-inch multimedia notebooks. Both the XPS 15 and Surface Pro 4 Core i7 consistently rank slightly higher than the HP due to their faster CPU and integrated GPU.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
5326 Points ∼62%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5799 Points ∼67% +9%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
5739 Points ∼67% +8%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441231
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
4921 Points ∼57% -8%
HP Envy 15-w000ng x360
GeForce 930M, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
2558 Points ∼30% -52%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3576 Points ∼55%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4052 Points ∼62% +13%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
4696 Points ∼72% +31%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441231
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
3746 Points ∼57% +5%
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
4095 Points ∼63% +15%
HP Envy 15-w000ng x360
GeForce 930M, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
3914 Points ∼60% +9%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3796 Points ∼40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
4431 Points ∼47% +17%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
4659 Points ∼49% +23%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441231
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
3465 Points ∼36% -9%
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
3593 Points ∼38% -5%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2847 Points ∼47%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3394 Points ∼56% +19%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3753 Points ∼62% +32%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441231
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
2554 Points ∼42% -10%
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
2961 Points ∼49% +4%
PCMark 7 Score
5326 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2847 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3796 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3576 points
Help

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Storage Devices

The 256 GB SanDisk M.2 SSD offers very similar performance levels as the Lite-On SSD in our FHD test unit according to AS SSD. Other SATA III-based systems are also quite similar including the Envy 15 x360 and Satellite L50-C. Systems with NVMe SSDs like the recent XPS 15 will easily outperform the HP Spectre x360 15.

See our growing table of SSDs and HDDs for more comparisons and benchmarks.

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Transfer Rate Minimum: 356.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 421.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 414.7 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 47.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.5 %
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
HP Envy 15-w103ng x360
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
AS SSD
1%
6%
134%
-3%
8%
Copy Game MB/s
307.73
208.15
-32%
178.33
-42%
804.65
161%
196.09
-36%
197.58
-36%
Copy Program MB/s
215.26
185.56
-14%
105.25
-51%
325.29
51%
137.94
-36%
168.74
-22%
Copy ISO MB/s
403.38
224.22
-44%
244.09
-39%
1126.61
179%
436.79
8%
236.03
-41%
Score Total
850
882
4%
1080
27%
2410
184%
950
12%
1032
21%
Score Write
250
353
41%
381
52%
675
170%
303
21%
336
34%
Score Read
397
352
-11%
463
17%
1180
197%
432
9%
460
16%
Access Time Write *
0.057
0.05
12%
0.041
28%
0.035
39%
0.044
23%
0.041
28%
Access Time Read *
0.08
0.067
16%
0.102
-28%
0.038
52%
0.131
-64%
0.067
16%
4K-64 Write
143.84
252.9
76%
271.8
89%
512.73
256%
201.83
40%
222.97
55%
4K-64 Read
318.02
274.76
-14%
380.8
20%
989.81
211%
356.52
12%
376.61
18%
4K Write
78.28
74.05
-5%
81.8
4%
105.42
35%
78.25
0%
82.84
6%
4K Read
31.04
26
-16%
32.34
4%
31.86
3%
25.25
-19%
33.12
7%
Seq Write
278.08
263.21
-5%
273.88
-2%
569.97
105%
226.44
-19%
298.72
7%
Seq Read
475.3
513.18
8%
498.03
5%
1578.67
232%
507.03
7%
500.17
5%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

The integrated HD Graphics 520 shows healthy leads over the HD Graphics 5500 and HD Graphics 4400 from the two previous generations with comparatively wider gaps in performance over raw CPU power. Users who demand even more GPU power may want the higher-end SKU with the Core i7-6560U and integrated Iris Graphics 540, which should provide performance levels close to the Core i7-6650U according to our benchmarks from the XPS 13.

See our dedicated GPU page on the HD Graphics 520 for more technical details and benchmarks.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1404 Points ∼3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2450 Points ∼5% +75%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1334 Points ∼3% -5%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
957 Points ∼2% -32%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
735 Points ∼1% -48%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1565 Points ∼5%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
2624 Points ∼9% +68%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1504 Points ∼5% -4%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
1045 Points ∼3% -33%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
814 Points ∼3% -48%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
303 Points ∼2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
553 Points ∼5% +83%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
307 Points ∼3% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
208 Points ∼2% -31%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
177 Points ∼1% -42%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4737 Points ∼18%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5372 Points ∼21% +13%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
4792 Points ∼19% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
3284 Points ∼13% -31%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
2433 Points ∼9% -49%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
883 Points ∼2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1477 Points ∼4% +67%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
864 Points ∼2% -2%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
574 Points ∼1% -35%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
532 Points ∼1% -40%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
825 Points ∼3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1395 Points ∼5% +69%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
816 Points ∼3% -1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
545 Points ∼2% -34%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
491 Points ∼2% -40%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3338 Points ∼8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3639 Points ∼9% +9%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3367 Points ∼9% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
2353 Points ∼6% -30%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
1766 Points ∼4% -47%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
6217 Points ∼3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11650 Points ∼6% +87%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
6151 Points ∼3% -1%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
4979 Points ∼3% -20%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
5107 Points ∼3% -18%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
5217 Points ∼11%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
7822 Points ∼16% +50%
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
5196 Points ∼11% 0%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
3989 Points ∼8% -24%
Dell Vostro 3546 JAN15HSW1601_1K9_Win
HD Graphics 4400, 4005U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
3595 Points ∼7% -31%
3DMark 11 Performance
1565 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
41767 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5217 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
825 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
373 points
Help

Stress Test

We stress the system again to more or less confirm our results from our previous test unit. Core temperatures are slightly higher this time around, but stable clock rates remain essentially identical.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average Core Temperature (C)
Prime95 Stress 2.7 -- 72
FurMark Stress -- 900 73
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.3 800 64 - 68
Unigine Heaven Stress 2.7 - 2.8 950 - 1000 66 - 69

Emissions

System Noise

Fan noise (Gray: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
Fan noise (Gray: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Green: Prime95+FurMark)

Fan behavior mimics the FHD SKU both when idling and when under load. The system is silent under low loads and will jump to a steady 38 dB(A) when running Unigine Heaven or other very demanding applications. This means that the fan rarely pulsates during regular use.

HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
HP Envy 15-w103ng x360
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441231
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 512 GB MZ7TE512HMHP
Lenovo Yoga 500-14ISK
GeForce 920M, 6200U, WDC Slim WD10SPCX-24HWST1
Noise
2%
-10%
-4%
-14%
-8%
off / environment *
29.5
22
25%
31.3
-6%
Idle Minimum *
29.5
31.3
-6%
32.9
-12%
29.2
1%
29.6
-0%
32.8
-11%
Idle Average *
29.5
31.3
-6%
32.9
-12%
29.3
1%
31.1
-5%
32.8
-11%
Idle Maximum *
29.6
32.2
-9%
32.9
-11%
29.5
-0%
34.3
-16%
32.8
-11%
Load Average *
38.1
36.4
4%
37
3%
36.5
4%
45
-18%
39.4
-3%
Load Maximum *
38.2
36.6
4%
46
-20%
47.7
-25%
49.2
-29%
39.2
-3%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29.5 / 29.5 / 29.6 dB(A)
Load
38.1 / 38.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29.5 dB(A)

Temperature

Surface temperatures are flat when idling with the warmest spot on the bottom of the notebook closest to the CPU. This same spot can be as warm as 50 C when under Prime95+FurMark load. Our measurements are again warmer than our FHD SKU due in part to the differing ambient temperatures during the tests.

Power Saver Idle (Top)
Power Saver Idle (Top)
Power Saver Idle (Bottom)
Power Saver Idle (Bottom)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Top)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Top)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Bottom)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Bottom)
Max. Load
 38.1 °C39.9 °C32.2 °C 
 37.2 °C36.4 °C30.7 °C 
 34.2 °C31.2 °C31.5 °C 
Maximum: 39.9 °C
Average: 34.6 °C
33.6 °C41 °C40.9 °C
32.9 °C38 °C39.1 °C
31.9 °C34.2 °C35.1 °C
Maximum: 41 °C
Average: 36.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.2 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | FLIR One

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power draw is measurably higher on the 4K UHD model compared to the FHD model. The differences are more noticeable when idling, of course, at about a 3 W to 4 W delta when on the maximum brightness setting. Though small, this translates into shorter runtimes as shown in the next section.

HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
HP Envy 15-w103ng x360
GeForce 930M, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441229
GeForce GTX 960M, 4710HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Power Consumption
14%
8%
17%
-62%
-120%
Idle Minimum *
6.5
5.8
11%
4.7
28%
4.15
36%
4.3
34%
12.5
-92%
Idle Average *
13.3
9.9
26%
9.9
26%
8.2
38%
7.8
41%
19.6
-47%
Idle Maximum *
15.1
11.1
26%
10.1
33%
8.2
46%
10.6
30%
22.8
-51%
Load Average *
30.8
30.6
1%
36
-17%
34.6
-12%
99.7
-224%
102
-231%
Load Maximum *
38.5
36.2
6%
51
-32%
48
-25%
112.3
-192%
107
-178%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.16 / 0.73 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.5 / 13.3 / 15.1 Watt
Load midlight 30.8 / 38.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Life

Whereas we were able to run our FHD test unit for almost nine hours of constant WLAN use, the exact same conditions for our 4K UHD SKU lasted for just over 7 hours instead. Nonetheless, this should be more than sufficient for most users. The XPS 15 carries an even denser battery pack than the HP with discrete Nvidia GPU graphics and can still outlast our HP on a single charge.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx
65 Wh
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
65 Wh
Toshiba Satellite L50-C-275
45 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
84 Wh
HP Envy 15-w103ng x360
48 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50-70-59441229
56 Wh
Battery Runtime
25%
-20%
20%
-8%
-41%
Reader / Idle
705
823
17%
979
39%
WiFi v1.3
431
537
25%
345
-20%
544
26%
398
-8%
254
-41%
Load
113
149
32%
106
-6%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 45min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 11min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 53min

Pros

+ identical maximum brightness levels as the FHD SKU
+ slightly more accurate colors out-of-the-box
+ very crisp texts and images
+ very minimal uneven backlight bleeding

Cons

- reduced battery life compared to FHD SKU
- lower contrast

Verdict

In review: HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx. Test model courtesy of HP US.
In review: HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx. Test model courtesy of HP US.

Should you purchase the costlier 4K UHD SKU over the less expensive FHD SKU? The advantages are obvious including sharper texts and images for potentially better multi-tasking. We're also relieved to see no major reductions in backlight brightness due to the denser pixel count.

While the move to a RGBW matrix has resulted in slightly more accurate colors before calibration, contrast has suffered and grayscale is worse than on FHD counterpart. Battery life has taken a notable hit by up to two hours during WLAN use. We can only assume that the higher-end SKU with the more powerful Core i7-6560U and Iris Graphics 540 would reduce battery life even further. Still, seven hours of real-world use is very good for a 15.6-inch system.

The small handful of drawbacks aren't significant enough to dissuade potential buyers. They should, however, be made more clear to users as specifications like backlight brightness, contrast, or color accuracy aren't always explicitly stated by the manufacturer for each display option. This applies to all manufacturers and not just HP as we have recorded different levels of brightness, contrasts, and gamuts between XPS 13 SKUs, Zenbook UX303 SKUs, and others due to resolution differences.

The Spectre x360 15 4K UHD SKU offers an even more gorgeous touchscreen as expected. Battery life and contrast both take sizable hits, but this is otherwise still one of the best 15-inch convertibles currently available.

HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx - 02/27/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
84 / 98 → 86%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
56 / 80 → 70%
Weight
64 / 35-78 → 67%
Battery
89%
Display
82%
Games Performance
59 / 68 → 86%
Application Performance
78 / 87 → 89%
Temperature
93%
Noise
90%
Audio
65 / 91 → 71%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Average
75%
81%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP Spectre x360 15-ap012dx Convertible Review
Allen Ngo, 2016-03- 3 (Update: 2016-03- 3)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.