HP Spectre x360 (2017) Review: A Beautiful And Impressively Quiet Convertible

Final Thoughts On The Spectre x360 (2017)

Performance Summary: With an Intel Core i7-8550U processor underneath the hood, HP's Spectre x360 for late 2017 generally put up some high scores in benchmarks such as Cinebench and PCMark 8, as we suspected it would. And battery life was very good, too. The more time we spend with Intel's 8th Generation Core processors for laptops (Kaby Lake-R), the more impressed we become. That said. HP did sacrifice a bit of performance for a quieter computing experience. For example, in 3DMark's Cloud Gate test, the Spectre x360 scored near the top, but trailed Dell's similarly configured XPS 13. We saw the same thing in Sky Diver and other intensive benchmarks.

HP Spectre x360 Main

Intel's new crop of mobile processors based on its 8th Generation Core architecture has given system builders incentive to release new and revised laptops and 2-in-1 devices. Like others, HP seized the opportunity, though the company did not just stuff an upgraded CPU inside its existing Spectre x360 and call it a day. HP also took the opportunity to make some subtle changes to its premium 2-in-1. Nothing too crazy, mind you—rather than go back to the drawing the board, HP made a few refinements that collectively add up to a superior product.

The Spectre x360 is a little thinner and lighter than the previous generation. HP also managed to trim a bit of the bezel from the display. It is not quite an edge-to-edge display, but it is still remarkably thin, especially if you are upgrading from a notebook that is now several years old.

Addressing customer feedback, one of the biggest changes HP made was to acoustics. The Spectre x360 is much quieter than the previous generation. Noise reduction is not something that comes easy on a powerful 2-in-1 that is also thin and light. However, some clever engineering went into the cooling scheme that made this possible. It also required a compromise with performance. Specifically, the fans do not kick on as often or as fast, and with that being the case, the CPU and GPU heat up quicker than before. As a result, throttling kicks in pretty quickly when there is a sustained load on either component. This manifested in some of our benchmarks, with the Spectre x360 trailing similar configs.

On the flip side, the Spectre x360 is one of the quieter 2-in-1 devices out there, at this performance level. Yes, heavy workloads can suffer a bit from throttling, but for general purpose computing, the vast majority of users are not going to notice a performance drop. However, they will appreciate how quiet this system runs, compared to other high performance convertibles (and laptops in general). So, there's your trade off, and something to consider based on your needs.

Overall, we are really impressed with the Spectre x360 and like the direction that HP has gone. It's a fantastic looking 2-in-1 with a brilliant display, it's fast, runs quiet, and has very good battery life to boot. If you're in the market for a premium convertible, the Spectre x360 is one to consider.

Hothardware Recommended

  • Premium build quality
  • Even thinner and lighter than the previous generation
  • Fast SSD and good overall performance
  • Bright display
  • Runs quiet
  • Quiet operation comes at the expense of performance throttling
  • Keyboard feels a little slick

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