The new HP Spectre 13 x360 2017 is thinner, smaller, more angular, and 30 percent faster
It’s time for a refresh of the Spectre 13 x360, and HP has come out swinging. The new 2017 model is thinner, lighter, and has a longer battery life, although none of these have changed majorly compared to the 2016 Kaby Lake model.
When comparing the 2017 model to the earlier 2016 model, we see a tiny thickness change from 13.8 mm to 13.6 mm (0.543 to 0.535 inches), and a weight reduction from 1.29 kg to 1.26 kg (2.85 to 2.78 pounds). HP has also revised the manufacturer predicted battery life which was “up to 16.25 hours” but is now “up to 16.75 hours” for the FullHD model, the 4K version has a manufacturer predicted value closer to 10 hours. The Chassis is a full aluminum CNC machined design, which does look very sleek and modern.
In the processor department, HP has given us an upgrade to Intel 8th generation quad-core U-series chips (including the i7-8550U), but interestingly they are only advertising a 30 percent performance improvement over Kaby Lake, rather than the 40 percent being touted by Intel and other OEMs. We found that on older models there was more aggressive throttling enabled to help reduce temperature and improve battery life. This policy is likely in place again, which would explain the lower speed claims.
Based on the model you choose, storage will vary from a 256 GB to 512 GB M.2 NVMe drive (supports up to 1 TB drives). Memory options are 8 GB or 16 GB of LPDDR3, and the 16 GB option is particularly welcome where most non-upgradeable convertibles are still offering 8 GB as the largest choice.
Based on previous models we would expect the screen to have a satisfactory level of coverage in the sRGB color range, but not to meet professional standards for AdobeRGB. The side bezels have been shrunk down to 5.75 mm, which are fractionally bigger on paper than Dell’s infinity bezels but unlikely to look any bigger to the eye. The top bezel is noticeably thicker like a traditional laptop bezel, but this has been done to allow the web camera and sensor equipment for Windows Hello to be installed up top, rather than being forced down the bottom like the Dell looks-up-your-nose design.
The Backlit keyboard is edge-to-edge with keys such as Del, Home, and End placed in a vertical column down the right-hand side. Key travel is 1.3 mm. WiFi is 802.11ac with a 2x2 antenna design for improved speeds. There are two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and one USB3 type A, accompanied by a 3.5 mm combo jack. Login options include traditional password-based authentication, as well as a fingerprint reader and Windows Hello IR camera for hands-free access to the operating system. Acknowledging that people use ultra-portable devices in public places, there is an optional privacy filter to reduce off-center readability, which can be enabled using a keyboard shortcut
One of the complaints that people had about the previous HP Spectre 13 x360 was the lack of an SD-card reader on a device that was well suited to enthusiast creative design and editing, thanks to the 90 percent sRGB rating, folding design, and pen support (pen not included with all previous models). Based on this, HP has added a microSD slot, which won’t help for most enthusiast cameras, but does provide a convenient way to copy data from a smartphone or GoPro when you can’t find the data cable. Unfortunately, the pre-release materials don’t show if the microSD slot allows the card to sit flush with the body when inserted, so we can’t comment yet on how feasible it would as a way to expand storage.
Pricing starts at US$1150 for i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, FHD screen and goes up to US$1600 i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, 4K screen. Pricing for all models shown in the slides below
HP has made an interesting and beautiful 2-in-1 convertible for 2017, and it will be interesting to see if the Spectre 13 x360 can beat the 85% rating we awarded its older brother.
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