1. HP Spectre x360: The MacBook challenger

HP Spectre x360: The MacBook challenger

This 2-in-1 is a great device, but it has a price that takes it beyond those who would want to buy

By: | Published: July 16, 2015 12:11 AM

When Ultrabooks were first launched, the most stylish member of this new breed was a stunning device called the HP Envy 14 Spectre. But that was more than three years ago. Now, no one speaks about Ultrabooks, as even regular notebooks are as sleek, light and fast as they were supposed to be. Now, the buzz is all about the 2-in-1s, or slim notebooks that can transform themselves into large tablets when you want them to. And HP is ready with a Spectre for the occasion.

The Spectre x360 is almost like HP’s answer to MacBooks. The answer might have come years after the question, but it sure makes sense. It is without doubt among the most stylish Windows devices I have ever seen. Like the Lenovo Yoga convertibles, this one too can be used in tablet and tent modes and the transformation is both smooth and swift.

What is good?

The best thing about the device is its design which is both stylish and practical. The Spectre x360 has a solid metallic hinge that manages all the acrobatics easily. The other feature that I love is the extra large glass trackpad that makes working on this machine much easier. Yes, there is a touchscreen, but most of us are wired to use the traditional inputs more and it makes sense to make them better. The backlit keyboard is well spaced out and you will not be hitting a lot of wrong keys.

The Spectre x360 uses a QHD display that makes it ideal for those who love to, or need to, edit photos and videos on their notebook. You will not miss any details on this screen and it has good viewing angles too. Thankfully, the audio capabilities are just about manage to catch up.

Despite its slim and slender looks, this notebook is a beast when it comes to processing power. Most convertibles have been a bit underwhelming on this count, but not the Spectre x360. And that is why I have a feeling this will appeal to people who have to do heavy duty stuff but can’t opt for an Apple machine. The notebook manages to stay cool even with heavy duty activities and this despite the fact that there is just a small mesh on left side to manage the ventilation.

Usually, a thin build means you end up compromising on a lot of things. But the Spectre x360 has almost everything you need in a SD card reader, three USB ports, an HDMI port and a mini display port. All these have been accommodated on the sides as there is no space in the rear.

The battery life in the Spectre x360 should keep workaholics happy as I managed to squeeze out 10 hours hours of writing, video playback and surfing.

What is not that good?

There is a huge premium to be paid on this and that is just not funny. While this variant will cost you $1200 in the US, it costs almost 60% more in India. There is no tax in India that justifies this price escalation. So if you fall in love with this device, ask your cousin to get it for you—if it is not a device for which your employer is going to foot the bill.

I think the audio quality could have been better and louder. HP used to get this part right when it had the Beats partnership running. There seems to be a beat missing on this one.

Despite the slim build, the Spectre x360 is not really lightweight at 1.48kg. And unlike Ultrabooks, this one uses what is almost an old fashioned power adapter. So you will be lugging around almost 2 kilograms despite paying a premium for the form factor.

Should you buy?

If you want and extremely power and supremely stylish Windows computer and can afford it, or have someone else to foot the bill, then this should be what you end up buying. Otherwise, it is a great buy if you have someone to get it for you from outside the country.

* 64-bit Windows 8.1 OS
* 13.3 inch QHD LED BrightView Wide Screen (2560x1440p)
* Intel Core i7 5500U (2.4 GHz with Turbo Boost Upto 3 GHz)
* Intel HD Graphics 5500
* 8 GB DDR3
256 GB SSD
* 324.866 x 218.44 x 16.002 mm (1.48 kg)
* 3-cell, 56 Wh Li-ion
* Estimated street price: R1,25,000 +

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