HP Spectre x360 (2021) Review: Latest Update, Configuration, Design and Buying Guide

One of the best laptops around receives an update

OUR VERDICT

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) presents a superb update on an already glorious laptop, bringing the most recent Intel {hardware} to a stunningly designed 2-in-1 system. It can get a bit loud, and it is costlynevertheless it appears to be like stunning, and gives sensible battery life as effectively.

FOR

  • Gorgeous design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great performance for day-to-day work
  • Large, comfortable keyboard

AGAINST

  • Fans can get noisy
  • Pricey
  • Not nice as a pill system

Two-minute review

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) is the most recent flagship laptop computer from the corporate, coming with Intel’s 11th-generation processors, and it is now Intel Evo licensed, too.

Intel Evo laptops meet particular necessities set by Intel, and have been devised to supply the following ‘evolutionary’ step in laptop computer design – principally, they showcase what Intel-powered gadgets can now do.

What has obtained us excited is that final year’s mannequin of the HP Spectre x360 was top-of-the-line laptops we’ve come throughout, marrying type and portability with incredible efficiency. So, with improved internals and new Intel Evo certification, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) guarantees to be an unbelievable laptop.

First impressions are impeccable. Like its predecessor, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is a fully attractive laptop; it is skinny, gentle and easy to hold around. It actually appears to be like premium, and the actual fact that HP has packed in some impressively highly effective internals means this is a laptop computer that performs as good because it appears to be like.

Windows 10 boots rapidly, and is quick and responsive, and you may even play a couple of indie video games on it – so long as you don’t mind setting graphics to low.

Most impressively of all, though, is battery life. The HP Spectre x360 (2021) manages virtually 13 hours within the intensive PCMark 10 battery life check. In our personal expertise, we fortunately made it by a full work day utilizing the laptop. If you have been below the impression that Windows 10 laptops wouldn’t be able to compete with MacBooks or Chromebooks for battery life, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) does an excellent job of proving you flawed.

Our solely complaints are that when used as a tablet-like system (due to its 360-degree hinges), the HP Spectre x360 (2021) goes from being a slim and attractive laptop computer to a moderately cumbersome and unwieldy pill. The choice is good to have, however should you’re on the lookout for a tool to make use of as a pill extra typically than a laptop, we’d suggest a tool such because the Surface Pro 7 or iPad, which are skinny and light tablets that can be utilized with keyboards.

Our different situation is that the followers grow to be quite loud while you’re utilizing the laptop computer – and, every now and then, even when you’re not. A number of occasions we heard the followers kick even when the HP Spectre x360 (2021) was closed. It’s the one space of the design of the HP Spectre x360 (2021) that doesn’t really feel utterly premium.

Aside from these points, this is a supremely accomplished laptop computer that’s nice for day-to-day use, together with work. However, with starting costs of $1,349/£1,199/AU$3,339 (numerous markets have completely different beginning configurations), it is pricey. If you have the funds for it, although, you received’t be disappointed.

SPEC SHEET

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 (quad-core, 8MB Intel Smart Cache, up to 4.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
RAM: 16GB LPDDR4 (3200MHz)
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touch
Storage: 512GB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)
Ports: 1x USB-A 3.1, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, microSD card reader, combi audio jack
Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201 (2×2), Bluetooth 5
Camera: HP TrueVision HD 1080p IR Webcam
Weight: 2.8 pounds (1.3kg)
Size: 12.08 x 7.66 x 0.67 inches (30.6 x 19.45 x 1.69cm; W x D x H)

Price and availability

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) is obtainable in a variety of configurations and prices. Prices begin at $1,149.99 within the US, for a model with an Intel Core i5 -1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

In the UK, the bottom model costs £1,199.99 and comes with an Intel Core i5 -1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Then there’s a version with an Intel Core i7 -1165G7 processor, 16GB of R AM and a 512GB SSD, which is the version on evaluate here. It costs $1,349.99/£1,399.99.

There’s additionally a mannequin with the identical CPU and RAM, however with a 1TB SSD and a 4K OLED display screen for £1,699.99.

In addition, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) comes with various screen sizes: 13 inches (the version we’re testing), 15 inches, and 13.5 inches (which has a taller 16:10 facet ratio).

In Australia, you may get the 13-inch model with an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for AU$3,399. It’s additionally available with the Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 4K OLED display screen and a 2TB SSD for AU$4,599.

Like models in the UK and US, there are quite a few configurations obtainable, together with models with 14-inch and 15-inch display screen sizes.

So, as you can see, there’s loads of selection obtainable for these in the market for a brand new HP Spectre x360 – however we would hesitate to say there is a model for each funds. Even the price of the bottom models exceed these of many different laptops. This is a significantly premium laptop computerwhich suggests it needs to work hard to justify its excessive worth.

Design

With a premium worth, you expect a premium design, and HP actually delivers with the HP Spectre x360 (2021). To be honest, we by no means had any doubt that it might; the earlier mannequin was one of many nicest-looking laptops we have had the pleasure of reviewing.

So, it comes as little shock that the brand new mannequin is one more attractive laptop from HP. Design-wise, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is principally similar to the earlier model  – which is no dangerous factor, contemplating how impressed we have been with its appears to be like.

The HP Spectre x360 (2021) arrives with a brushed-metal design that’s obtainable in a number of shade combos. The 360-degree hinge, which permits the screen to flip again utterly, turning the HP Spectre x360 (2021) right into a tablet-like system, feels stable and dependable. The right-hand facet is engraved with the word ‘Spectre’ – a pleasant touch that additional cements the HP Spectre x360 (2021)’s total premium feel.

In phrases of connections, you get an audio-in jack and full-size USB port on the appropriate (the inclusion of a full-size USB port is a pleasant contact for such a skinny and light-weight laptop computer), plus two USB-C ports, a microSD port and a bodily webcam kill change on the left.

The latter means that you can flip off the webcam when it is not in use; it is an incredible feature for individuals involved about their privateness. It’s definitely an enormous selling level, and that – together with the full-size USB port and microSD slot – present that it is attainable for a skinny and light-weight laptop to include multiple connections without compromising design. It actually places the 2 USB-C ports of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) to disgrace.

Open up the HP Spectre x360 (2021) and you’re offered with a brilliant and vibrant display screen, surrounded by extraordinarily skinny bezels. This offers the system a contemporary look, whereas protecting the general size of the laptop computer down. It’s one other case of a Windows 10 laptop computer wanting extra stylish than an Apple MacBook – one thing each HP and Intel will likely be happy to be taught, and is but one more reason for Apple to think about updating its MacBook designs.

The keyboard is giant and satisfying to use, with the keys providing first rate journey. They’re additionally backlit, so you can comfortably use them at nighttime.

The touchpad is good and responsive. It’s wider than you’d anticipate on a 13-inch laptop computer, offering a bit more room to move your fingers. There’s also a fingerprint scanner to the right of the touchpad for logging into Windows 10.

Similar to HP’s provision of ports, the corporate has found a method of cramming a big keyboard and trackpad right into a small physique. It’s a seriously impressive design feat, and means the HP Spectre x360 (2021) doesn’t solely look good, it feels good to use as effectively.

Flipping the screen solely again, utilizing the HP Spectre x360 (2021) as a tablet-like system, the big touchscreen works effectively. However, whereas this is a skinny and light laptop, in comparison with tablets such because the iPad, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) truly feels heavy and hulking. Having the choice to use the laptop on this method is actually welcome, nevertheless it is not an ideal substitute for a standard tablet. The HP Spectre x360 (2021) is way more profitable as a laptop.

BENCHMARKS

Here’s how the HP Spectre x360 (2021) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Cinebench R20: 1,430 points
GeekBench 5: 1,317 (single-core); 4,541 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 4,721 points
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 12 hours 52 minutes
Battery Life : 11 hours 22 minutes

Performance

The largest upgrade on the HP Spectre x360 (2021) over the earlier mannequin are its parts and efficiency, with the laptop computer being a showcase for Intel’s newest cellular processors.

The evaluate unit we have been despatched in for evaluate options an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor. This is a quad-core unit that can obtain increase speeds of as much as 4.70GHz, which marks an honest leap over the Intel Core i7-1065G7 (the previous generation CPU) included in final yr’s mannequin.

As you’ll be able to see in our Cinebench and Geekbench outcomes, the brand new HP Spectre x360 (2021) delivers a elevate in efficiency in comparison with final yr’s mannequin, with a single-core rating of 1,317 in comparison with the previous mannequin’s 1,259. It is notbig leap, nevertheless it’s a rise nonetheless. The Intel Core i7-1065G7 was a fairly nice cellular processor anyway, so it’s good that Intel has constructed on its stable basis.

Overall, as a result of the brand new CPU, along with a hefty 16GB of RAM, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is an incredible little performer, with Windows 10 feeling quick and responsive. Multi-tasking, with quite a few apps open without delay, alongside plenty of Edge tabs too, didn’t actually serve to decelerate the HP Spectre x360 (2021)’s performance, both.

For day-to-day use, then, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) delivers the type of efficiency you’d anticipate of a premium laptop at this worth level. You certainly won’t be disillusioned.

However, one of many largest upgrades to come back alongside the new Tiger Lake CPUs such because the Intel Core i7-1165G7 is the inclusion of Intel Iris Xe graphics. This is an built-in GPU that guarantees to offer vastly improved performance compared to earlier built-in graphics, and will even rival some discrete GPUs.

While the HP Spectre x360 (2021) certainly is not a gaming laptop, it may feasibly run some PC video games that different skinny and light laptops would battle to run. While Cyberpunk 2077 at full graphical settings is not on that list, Intel has claimed it may play GTA 5 at over 60fps, whereas esports video games such as Rocket League, League of Legends and CS:GO – which are much less graphically demanding, but require quick efficiencymight be playable.

So, in fact, we tried to play a few video games on the HP Spectre x360 (2021). As we have talked about, this undoubtedly is not a gaming laptop computer, but we needed to see if it might be attainable to play video games at the finish of the day, while you wish to unwind after a tough day at work.

The answer is: sort of. Total War: Three Kingdoms managed solely 30fps on low settings. Anything extra demanding was unplayable. We also fired up Ori and the Will of the Wisps – a visually gorgeous 2D platform sport, which despite wanting great, is much less taxing than a variety of different modern games. Unfortunately, we needed to drop graphical settings to low, and scale down the decision, to attain easy gameplay. As such, whereas it was attainable to play modern video games comparable to Ori and the Will of the Wisps, it was solely with massive sacrifices to graphical constancy. So, don’t surrender the day job, HP Spectre x360 (2021).

One thing to note, is that even whereas performing comparatively low-powered duties, comparable to downloading an app, the followers of the HP Spectre x360 (2021) will kick in. In a method, it’s comprehensible, since this is a super-thin laptop that needs to maintain its parts cool. However, it proved annoying, and was in sharp distinction to the silent operation of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), which has a fanless design.

Battery life

One of the biggest quality of life improvements Intel is pushing with its Intel Evo platform is lengthy battery life, and the HP Spectre x360 (2021) doesn’t disappoint here. It lasted a superb 11 hours and 22 minutes in our own battery life test, which loops a 1080p video file at 50% brightness till the battery dies.

The previous HP Spectre x360 also carried out well on this check, scoring 10 hours and 55 minutes. Nevertheless, the extra half an hour is welcome, and it means the extra highly effective parts haven’t come at the cost of battery life.

We also ran the intensive PCMark 10 battery life check on the laptop, which replicates day-to-day use comparable to internet browsing and video calling. Here, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) managed virtually 13 hours – once more, a really impressive achievement and an enormous leap over the earlier mannequin’s four-hour consequence (on PCMark 8).

As such, the HP Spectre x360 (2021)’s battery is good and balanced; it is able to final equally effectively in each light- and medium-use cases. You’ll simply get by a full work day on this laptop computer, which makes it a superb software for enterprise customers who are looking for a tool that gives excellent efficiency, incredible looks, and received’t have to be plugged in till they return residence.

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You desire a stylish laptop computer
The HP Spectre x360 (2021) actually does feel and look premium, sporting top-of-the-line designs we’ve seen in a laptop computer.

You desire a highly effective laptop for day-to-day use
The new 11th-generation cellular CPU from Intel means Windows 10 runs extraordinarily effectively, and the laptop is even able to a bit of light gaming.

You’re after all-day battery life
The battery lifetime of the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is glorious; it can simply final you a full work or faculty day. Even on lengthy transatlantic flights (bear in mind those?), this laptop computer ought to final the journey.

Don’t buy it if…

You simply desire a pill
The HP Spectre x360 (2021) can double as a tablet-like system, nevertheless it’s greater, bulkier and dearer. If you simply desire a pill, there are higher choices on the market.

You desire a silent laptop
The followers of the HP Spectre x360 (2021) kick in a bit of bit too readily, which suggests this is a laptop computer that can get noisy in use. The new MacBook Air, with its fanless design, exhibits the way it’s achieved.

You’re on a budget
This laptop with a premium design and premium options additionally comes with a premium price tag.