» » HP’s Spectre x360 13 seems like an improvement in almost every way
Category

Vote

Please, rate the engine
Results   All polls
Tags
Archives
HP’s Spectre x360 13 seems like an improvement in almost every way
 
 
HP’s Spectre x360 13 has undergone a fairly drastic makeover for 2019. It’s still very much a Spectre: the premium 2-in-1 has glossy edges, a cleverly placed power button, and one USB-C port embedded into its two diagonally cut corners. But HP has cut away a lot of the excess from the old design, making its latest version smaller. Still, somehow, it feels bigger when you use it. And this model’s trackpad ditches Synaptics trackpad drivers in favor of Windows Precision drivers, like HP’s Envy lineup did earlier this year.

That effect is achieved in part by its significantly trimmed-down top and bottom bezels, giving it a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. The top bezel is 5.8mm thick, seemingly too thin to fit a webcam. But HP has engineered the world’s smallest Windows Hello-enabled IR webcam for that bezel. It’s 2.2mm thick, and while that’s impressive, I’m skeptical that such a small camera will yield good picture quality.

 
The new model (top) is significantly smaller but just a bit thicker than the previous version (bottom). Image: HP
The chassis is 23mm shallower than last year’s model, making it easier to tuck into your arm and carry around. It requires less space on your desk, and it’ll fit a little easier on a train or airplane seat tray. Thankfully, that still leaves enough space for the same keyboard layout with a new, dedicated microphone mute key, though the trackpad is just a bit smaller.

You can opt for an OLED screen with 4K resolution this time around, which is borrowed from this year’s HP Spectre x360 15. It looks just as crisp, and it’s capable of deep, inky blacks and rich contrast. The event space where I saw the machine was flooded with natural light, and the screen was still easy to make out looking at it straight on and from multiple viewing angles.

HP’s new Display Control feature is designed to help you get more accurate colors from the OLED. It lets you switch between color gamuts (DCI-P3, sRGB, and Adobe RGB), depending on the kind of content you’re looking at. This feature can be adjusted; HP demonstrated this by comparing the color of a shirt with how it looked online using the different modes. If you purchased the shirt while looking at it via, say, movie (DCI-P3) mode, you’d probably be disappointed with the shirt’s color when it arrived. But web mode (sRGB) was almost a perfect match.

AIMED AT FIXING LOW POINTS OF THE PREVIOUS GENERATION
The $1,099 baseline model of the Spectre x360 13 has a full HD LED screen, an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SATA SSD. The high-end model built with an OLED screen features the Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and 16GB of RAM. That model is available in two configurations, each costing $1,499: one with an anti-reflective screen and a 512GB NVMe SSD or a standard OLED screen with 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. A fourth option will be made available later in 2019 featuring HP’s Sure View display tech that digitally limits the viewing angle to help you feel protected from onlookers. (The price isn’t available yet.)

Every configuration of the Spectre x360 13 features Intel’s 10th Gen Ice Lake quad-core processor and Iris Plus graphics. HP says that this is a Project Athena-certified laptop, which means it can last for up to 22 hours (depending on the type of screen your model has). The default FHD LED uses 1W of power, but the OLED — with and without HP’s anti-reflective screen or with the Sure View tech — will use more.

 
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge
There will be a few different configurations released in October: two are being built for sale at Best Buy, while HP will offer a few models through its site directly, starting at $1,099. It will also allow people to customize the laptop through HP.com.

My colleague Dan Seifert praised the previous version of the Spectre x360 13 for its great build quality and impressive performance. The new model is aimed at fixing a few of its low points, like making its bezels smaller, but we’ll soon see how the rest of it holds up in our upcoming full review.

Update 12:20PM ET, Sept 30th: Updated to reflect that the new Spectre x360 13’s trackpad uses Windows Precision drivers.