If you happened to catch the Windows Build 2015 conference, you may have noticed that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was pretty excited about some new PC hardware. It wasn’t the Surface Pro 4 that made an appearance, though.
It’s easy to see why. The new HP Spectre 360 combines the flexibility of Lenovo’s (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) pivoting lid Yoga Pro series with the lightweight machined aluminum chassis and slim profile of an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13.
Beyond its appearance, Microsoft worked closely with Hewlett-Packard on the new HP Spectre design, making it the closest thing going to an actual Microsoft laptop.
For those of us not lucky enough to snag a freebie from Microsoft, is the HP Spectre x360 worth buying? Read on to find out some of the top features.
HP Spectre x360 Review: Built to Showcase Windows 10
A Hewlett-Packard VP detailed the company’s partnership with Microsoft. From Gizmodo’s HP Specter x360 review:
“HP gave Microsoft unprecedented access to the product throughout its development: Microsoft helped test and benchmark the prototypes, assisted in rewriting drivers and optimizing sensors.”
In other words, the new HP Spectre has Microsoft’s fingerprints all over it, and every aspect of the convertible laptop was optimized to ensure the PC is a showcase for Windows 10.
That optimization includes the fantastic rotating hinge that lets users flip the display over to use the device in tablet mode, a minimum Full HD multitouch display, the latest generation Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core CPUs and enough RAM for the laptop to run Windows 10 comfortably.
If you want a great laptop for Windows 8.1 that’s going to be boss for showing off the Windows 10 Insider Preview release, the HP Spectre x360 should be on your short list.
HP Spectre x360 Review: Looks and Power
It really does seem as though HP (and collaborator Microsoft) sat down to build a device that combines best-in-class features from the current crop of leading ultraportables.
Like the MacBook Air, the HP Spectre has a wedge-like CNC machined body. It also uses a Core CPU (Core i5 or Core i7) for power. The hinge is very reminiscent of the Yoga Pro. And the touchscreen display blows away the MacBook Air’s, including a Quad HD option that gives it the kind of resolution that makes the Dell XPS 13 stand out.
The HP Spectre x360 packs a full array of ports, including three USB 3.0 ports. That way, there’s no doubt that the laptop isn’t just a showpiece; it’s fit for power users.
On the downside, that ultra thin design with a full intel Core CPU (instead of the mobile version Apple chose for its new MacBook) can result in heating issues. Crank the CPU for too long and you get the combination of fan noise and throttling that reduces performance until things cool down.
HP Spectre x360 Review: Specs
- 13.3-inch Full HD LED backlit multitouch display (QHD upgrade available)
- Dual core Intel Core i5 CPU (Core i7 upgrade available) with Intel HD Graphics 5500
- 4GB RAM, not user replaceable (8GB upgrade available with one user accessible slot)
- 128GB mSATA SSD (maximum 512GB SSD upgrade)
- Full-sized backlit keyboard with touchpad
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- HP TrueVision Full HD webcam
- 3x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, SD Card slot
- 3-Cell, 56 Wh Li-ion battery rated for all-day use
- Runs Windows 8
- 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches, weighs 3.26 pounds
HP Spectre x360 Review: Conclusion
There’s a reason why Microsoft was giving this new HP Spectre laptop away to Windows 10 developers at Windows Build 2015: It may just be the ideal device for getting the full Windows 10 experience, including the Continuum UI transition effect when shifting from laptop to tablet mode.
This isn’t just the new convertible ultra-portable flagship entry in Hewlett-Packard’s product lineup. It’s a device that Microsoft had an unusual degree of direct involvement in designing and perfecting.
The HP Spectre x360 isn’t perfect — it has flaws like CPU throttling under heavy load, and it weighs a bit more than other new ultra portables. However, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft have combined for a compelling laptop that ticks all the boxes for practical usability while providing the wow factor of a 360-degree hinge and everything needed to make the most of Windows 10 once it arrives.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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