HP Specter x360 13 (2019) review: Incredibly shrinking 2-in-1 CNET

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With premium laptops and two-in-one laptops like the 13-inch HP Specter x360, it is almost a matter of course that the latest model will be smaller and thinner than its predecessor. However, I have to say that the size difference was shocking when I saw the old and new x360 side by side. The updated design removes almost all of the top and bottom bezels – the forehead and chin – reducing the overall area of ​​something that was initially quite small. It looks amazing.

To like

  • Smaller without sacrificing performance, battery life
  • IR camera, fingerprint reader, webcam kill switch and microphone mute button for more privacy
  • Available with color-calibrated OLED display, Gigabit LTE

I do not like it

  • Loaded with HP software you may not want
  • The store cannot be updated after purchase

In addition, the x360, which runs a 10th generation Intel Core i7, clearly outperformed the last generation model a similar configuration with an eighth generation Intel CPU, It also has a battery that ran it for more than 10 hours in our tests. Combined with other helpful features and a nifty design, the 2019 HP Specter x360 13 is our current top premium two-in-one.

HP Specter x360 13 (late 2019)

HP Specter x360 13 (late 2019)

Price as rated

$ 1,300

Display size / resolution

13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 touch display

central processor

1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7

PC memory

8 GB LPDDR4X 3733 MHz

graphic

Intel Iris Plus graphics

camp

512 GB SSD plus 32 GB Optane

Networking

802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

operating system

Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

hp-specter-x360-late-2019-05

Old versus new: The latest Specter x360 13 (right) is significantly smaller than its predecessor (left).

Joshua Goldman / CNET

More than just looking good

Like last year's model, the new x360 has angular edges and cut corners that set it apart from other premium ultraportables, but also improve functionality. The power switch and one of the two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports of the laptop are located in the cut corners on the rear edge. Since the battery is charged via USB-C, you can charge the x360 via the angled connector without using the cable for using a mouse.

The position of the power switch in the left corner makes it easier to find it without looking and prevents it from being accidentally pressed in tablet mode. The button is also accessible regardless of the position of the display. In addition, the edges with two chamfers make it easier to grip and open the x360 from the front or from the sides.

The left side of the case has a USB-A dropdown connector and a headphone jack, while on the right side next to a microSD card slot and a second Thunderbolt 3 connector there is a kill switch for the webcam – no more sticky notes, to keep your camera private. There is also a microphone mute button on the keyboard, so you no longer have to browse through Windows 10's microphone privacy settings to turn them off. A fingerprint reader and, according to HP, the world's smallest IR webcam for facial recognition registrations with Windows Hello provide additional protection and security. This is basically the smallest regular webcam from Dell his XPS 13 2-in-1,

As for the display, I tested the 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display. However, there is also a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) OLED display option that is color calibrated at the factory. The Full HD display provides good colors and contrast for productive use, and the brightness is improved for better outdoor use.

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Wide keyboard caps add to the comfort of the keyboard.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

The keyboard is essentially unchanged from the previous model, which is good news. It is spacious and has large, legible markings. The keys have a good amount of leeway when you consider how flat the laptop deck is and significantly more than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. The keyboard is also illuminated with two brightness levels and switches off automatically after about 30 seconds of inactivity. A key press is required to wake up. The Windows Precision touchpad is a decent size considering the space HP has had to work with, and the performance is smooth and responsive.

More power for you

Premium ultraportables are the right choice if you want a long battery life. In our streaming video battery test, they regularly reached more than 10 hours, and some of them are better – like the latest generation Specter x360, which is exactly that at 13 hours and 18 minutes. This new version didn't last quite as long with the slightly smaller battery, but was still impressive at 10 hours and 39 minutes. This is in line with the battery life HP reports for its streaming video tests. According to HP, the Specter can be used for local video playback via headphones for over 20 hours.

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With the x360, HP offers a simple active pen and a protective cover. A tilt control pen is also available.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

The Specter components are designed for normal home and office use, such as word processing, web browsing, and email, but have enough muscle to handle even more demanding tasks, including tasks that come with the Intel Iris Pro chip are more graphic intensive.

The configuration I tested was not overloaded with a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome while other applications were running in the background. Streaming videos and music was also no problem. And it will handle more demanding photo and video editing tasks than Intel's UHD Graphics 620 and even some low-end games (yes, it will work) Fourteen days).

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The USB-C connector on the corner keeps the charging cable out of the way.

Joshua Goldman / CNET

It is a winner – for now

When I got my review of Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 I said it was the ultra portable two-in-one to beat. HP thinks it beats it, but not much. It is similar in size to the Dell and has an equally elegant design. While the XPS outperforms the HP in our benchmarks, it is probably due to the Dell we tested with 16 GB of RAM compared to the 8 GB of the HP. Regardless, the numbers don't differ drastically, and the HP had a slightly longer battery life.

The HP has overtaken the Dell with features like the discreet webcam kill switch and microphone mute button, including an active stylus that includes both a fingerprint reader and an IR camera for sign-in and a more comfortable keyboard. However, the latter is up for debate. You can also get it with 4G LTE cellular, which Dell doesn't offer.

While it is a bit annoying to have a number of HP and other software preinstalled on this premium computer, and you can't add more memory alone, the overall package is ultimately a little bit better than Dell's.

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

Note:

Longer bars mean better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

Note:

Longer bars mean better performance

Battery usage test for video playback (streaming minutes)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:

Longer bars mean better performance

system configurations

HP Specter x360 13

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512 GB SSD

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM 3.733 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512 GB SSD

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.9 GHz Intel Core i7-8665U; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 2,133 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated); Intel UHD Graphics 620; 1 TB SSD

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.3 GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 4,270 MHz; 128 MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 256 GB SSD

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

Apple MacOS Mojave 10.14.5; 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5-8257; 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133 MHz; 1,536 MB Intel Iris Graphics 645; 256 GB SSD