HP Spectre X2 Review: A Core m Powered Surface Alternative

Design and Build Quality

The HP Spectre X2 looks and feels like a premium device. The 12” WUXGA+ screen, which has a native resolution of 1920x1280, looks great, the metals and glass used throughout are sturdy and attractive, and the device’s features and connectivity options are top notch.
hp spectre x2 10
At first glance, the HP Spectre X2 could be mistaken for Microsoft Surface Pro, but HP undoubtedly injected their own flavor and flare into this device. Though the keyboard detaches like a Surface, and the Spectre X2 sports a built in kickstand too, the similarities on the hardware front essentially end there.
hp spectre x2 3
The Spectre X2’s screen doesn’t pack in an exorbitant number of pixels, but its 1920x1280 resolution is more than adequate for a 12” panel in our opinion. Although not as sharp as a Surface Pro 3 or 4’s screen, the Spectre X2’s screen still looks great, with excellent sharpness and saturation and very good viewing angles too. The more mainstream resolution also mitigates any of the issues associated with legacy apps running under Windows 10 on HiDPI displays. Touch response is also great and there are minimal parallax issues, because the actual screen is bonded tightly with the external glass. As is typical for a device of this type, embedded in the top bezel is a front-facing webcam (5MP), along with a pair of microphones.
hp spectre x2 2
The Spectre X2 has a brushed aluminum finish over the majority of its chassis, and on the detachable keyboard deck as well – which makes sense considering the chassis is machined from a single piece of aluminum. There is a glossy, chrome HP logo emblazoned on the back on the device, however, along with a black strip of glass at the top, which accommodates the rear-facing 8MP Intel RealSense 3D cameras and various antennas for the built-in wireless networking options (802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi and Verizon LTE). And along the bottom edge of the device is a U-shaped kickstand, that’s also chrome like the HP logo. HP went with this more minimalistic kickstand design to maximize the internal volume of the Spectre X2 and make room for a larger battery. The kickstand on a Surface, for example, is a plate that’s roughly 1/2 the size of tablet itself. Going with the U-shaped kickstand allowed HP to pack in a slightly thicker battery, without making the entire device thicker as well. The kickstand works well and is adjustable to any position up to 150 degrees.
hp spectre x2 4
The detachable keyboard is held in place by magnets and a couple of notches, similar to Microsoft’s method. The Spectre X2’s keyboard, however, is quite similar to a full laptop keyboard. In our opinion, it is superior to Microsoft’s Type Cover, both aesthetically and functionally. The Spectre X2’s keyboard is more rigid and the keycaps are more traditional, though it’s still not at sturdy as a true clamshell device. The backlighting works well and key-travel is better than expected, considering how thing the keyboard is. There is also an additional set of speakers along the top edge of the keyboard, which project sound directly toward a user and complement the stereo speakers built into the tablet section. We should mention that we had some slight warping in our sample keyboard (which you can see in a couple of images below), but it didn’t affect functionality in any way.
hp spectre x2 5
The touchpad is decent on the Spectre X2’s detachable keyboard, but it’s not stellar. We didn’t have any specific issues per se, but tracking wasn’t quite as smooth as we’d like and palm rejection wasn’t ideal. The HP Spectre X360 spoiled us with its stellar palm rejection and excellent touch-pad, so we expected a similar experience here.
hp spectre x2 7
hp spectre x2 8
Inspecting the edges of the Spectre X2 reveals a custom connector along the bottom for the detachable keyboard, and a USB Type C / charging jack, speaker grille, SIM card slot, and a microSD card slot along the left side. The top is home to only the power / sleep button, and the right edge houses the kickstand release, another USB Type C / charging jack, a speaker grill, volume rocker, and a 3.5mm headset jack. We like the fact that HP allows the power adapter to be connected via USB C port as well, and we should also mention that a full-sized USB to USB Type C adapter is included to connect to standard USB devices.

Related content