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HP Specter x360 13 Review

In the Specter range of HP, we can discover the most beautiful machines of the brand. After the ultraportable Specter 13, it is the turn of his hybrid cousin, Specter x360 13, to come and defend the colors of the American. His goal is clear: to prevail against the reference of the moment, the Lenovo Yoga 920.

Announced last fall , this new HP Specter x360 13 is the slightly overhauled version of the hybrid notebook released at the end of 2016 . Among the novelties put forward by the American manufacturer are to mention the slimming 0.3 mm housing, the possibility of having a panel Full HD or 4K touch depending on the versions and also the transition to Intel processors 8th generation ( Kaby Lake Refresh ).

In terms of autonomy, HP announces up to 17 hours since the Specter x360 13 is equipped with a Full HD screen. This is good, it is precisely the type of slab that equips the device we received. We will hasten to check that.

But above all, specify that the war name of the device is 13-ae001nf and its advertised price is 1400 euros. That\’s 200 euros less than its designated competitor, the Lenovo Yoga Y920-13IKB, equipped in the same way.

HP Specter x360 13 Revi

Just like his cousin, the ultraportable very thin Specter 13 , the Specter x360 13 first put on his physique to make us crack. A map of the seduction he plays with reason because it is very difficult to blame anything in terms of aesthetics and finishes to this laptop convertible hybrid.

This Specter also adopts the colors anthracite gray and pinkish bronze that we had already admired on the ultraportable version. Note that if these two colors are not to your liking, the x360 is also available in silver (brushed and shiny).

HP Specter x360 13 Revi

Anxious to verify HP\’s claims, we grabbed our beloved calipers to see if the Specter x360 had lost weight. Yes, on a very small portion of the machine (that is, at the front near the flare) because, for the rest of the measurements, nothing has moved.

On the scale, the new iteration has still lost a few grams, 30 to be precise, from 1.266 to 1.236 kg. On the other hand, the small power adapter has increased somewhat: it now weighs 350 grams against 288 previously.


Another area where nothing moves between the two generations of Specter x360 13: the connector. Unlike the classic ultraportable version that only relies on the USB Type-C ( Thunderbolt 3 compatible ), the convertible continues to offer a USB 3.0 full-size and two type-C connectors (also compatible Thunderbolt 3 by the bye).

In addition to the (rare) compatible devices in your possession, these outlets mainly accommodate the socket used to feed the battery of the beast.

Located on the left side of the machine near the power button, the headphone jack (with microphone) and the microSD card reader complete the small arsenal of connectors.

Ergonomics at the top, ease of use in half-tone

If you are used to reading our laptop tests, you can skip the next paragraph because we are going to give a booster of what is a convertible hybrid laptop PC.

In the (wonderful) world of laptops, there are classic machines and hybrids. Within this second category, two families of products cohabit: the 2-in-1, which can be separated from the screen part of the keyboard part (which is not the case here), and the convertibles that count the spectrum x360 13 in their ranks.

HP Specter x360 13 Revi

Clearly, the 13.3-inch screen is mounted on articulated hinges so that it can be placed on the back of the keyboard (tablet mode) or opt for exotic tilt angles. In fact, the machine can be used in “tent” or “stand” mode.

In the first case, it is positioned in inverted “V”, as shown in the photo above. In the second position, the keys of the keyboard rest against the surface on which the machine is placed. The keyboard part serves as a base for the screen.

In these three cases, Windows 10 and the apps are controlled with the fingertips or with the stylus (not provided with this reference).

In classic notebook PC mode, the keyboard and touchpad pair of course resumes service. And scarcely had we put our fingers on the backlit keys, that the very good sensations experienced during our test of Spectrum 13 have remembered us. The race is good, pleasant and allows to enter text, kilometer, for hours, without fatigue.

Note, however, that here too, some keys are not in their usual place or, again, that the rectangular and horizontal shape of the Enter key may cause some loupés during the first hours of input.

The balance is unfortunately not as positive on the side of the touchpad. We found it a bit soft and unresponsive … when it was ready to work properly. Indeed, after many standby outputs of the machine, the pointing device always tended to no longer answer correctly. Bad interpretations of the glide or commands initiated on its surface (double click, right click, etc.) are just one of the examples of dysfunctions encountered. We have furiously railed against him and as no update of drivers or software overlay is offered on the site of HP, it is rather disturbing … The sanction is immediate, impossible to assign the average to this touchpad in these conditions.

Low brightness but strong contrast
Another reason for dissatisfaction is the backlighting power of the Specter x360 13.3-inch Full HD panel. It is too good for a laptop convertible of this standard.

Comparing his performances with those of the previous version, we note that the intensity goes from 334 cd / m 2 to only 282 cd / m 2 . The contrast ratio is, for its part, up a few points (1294: 1 against 1285: 1 previously). Mention Pretty well obtained thanks to a fairly correct color fidelity.

Vicious as we are, we compared these test data to those obtained during our test of the Lenovo Yoga 920. If the brightness is held in a handkerchief (290 against 282 cd / m 2 ), the contrast ratio is more high of 100 points on the machine of the Chinese manufacturer. Nothing to do but drastically tip the balance in its favor, especially its color management was not the most faithful.

However, Lenovo scores deal with HP by providing much finer screen edges than the HP machine. This is explained, for the latter, by its 13.9 inch screen diagonal – a greater suspicion than the spectrum 13 x360, equivalent housing size.

A good dose of power for everyday use

Let\’s continue our comparison between the Lenovo Yoga 920 and the Specter x360 13 with the performance component. Both machines have a similar processor (Intel Core i5-8250U), an identical SSD size (256 GB) and a similar amount of RAM: 8 GB. However, on the Specter x360, we have the right to the LPDDR3 while Lenovo relies on DDR4, more powerful.

That\’s enough to make a difference. The Lenovo\’s Performance score reaches 8.04, while the Specter x360 13 peaks at 7.8. Anyway, like all good ultraportables who respect, our two protagonists are dedicated to the same tasks. They excel in the office, multimedia, surfing the Internet and some specific tasks such as photo editing, for example.

For the 3D game, go your way, it\’s not in their strings. This does not mean that you can not use the built-in graphics controller of the machine to run some old titles or even play a small game of card games like HearthStone (Blizzard) or Gwent (CD Projekt Red).

Another ultraportable who manages his stress badly

When it comes to noise, HP\’s Specter x360 13 is slightly quieter than its Chinese competitor. But, again, everything is played in a handkerchief. The ventilation of the HP produces 33.5 dB maximum when that of the Lenovo reaches 34.6 dB.

The Spectrum x360\’s ventilation may be silent, but it does have difficulty in limiting the effects of throttling . Yes, like the Specter 13 classic or the Lenovo Yoga 920, this beautiful convertible HP sees the frequencies of its processor fall as soon as it solicits both the four hearts and the graphics. Instead of remaining at 1.6 GHz, the speed of the computing units oscillates between 900 MHz and 1.2 GHz. As a reminder, this phenomenon appears as soon as the maximum thermal envelope of the processor is reached or exceeded. The only way for the flea to continue to officer is to reduce the sail.

Still, these terms of use are very exceptional, we agree, but it\’s good to know that if you start a 4K encoding, watch a video on YouTube while running one or two other apps in the background, the Intel processor does not keep up.

It is under these same stress conditions that we conduct our temperature readings on the surface of the case. Under the x360 13, mercury climbs to 46.4 ° C in some places, 4 ° C higher than the Lenovo. On the hand rests, Specter and Yoga show the same temperature: 29 ° C.

We are far from the 17 hours of autonomy announced!

We did not expect the Specter x360 13 to fulfill its promise of endurance. However, we had the pleasant surprise that in continuous video playback, maximum screen, the battery managed to stay alive between 8 (Full HD) and 10:20 (HD).

In versatile use (office, surf, video, etc ..) And maintaining the brightness of the screen at 200 cd / m 2 , the battery is more than 8 h 20, more than adequate time that ensures to work a day complete without having to take the charger everywhere with you.

However, as shown in the graph above, the HP Specter x360 13 fails to keep up with Lenovo\’s Yoga in versatile autonomy. However, it is almost an hour better than the Specter x360 13 (w000nf) released early 2017, while offering more power.

In general note of Autonomy , the Lenovo Yoga 920 reaches the score of 9.98 / 10 and the Specter x360 13, 9.54 / 10. Both machines are therefore elbow-to-elbow on this ground also.

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