HP Spectre x360 14 Review: The Best Windows 2-in-1 Laptop

Once an edgy alternative to stuffier laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad line, the HP Spectre x360 series has settled into a much more corporate groove of late. Back in the late 2010s, Spectres looked like props from Tron, with sharp edges, cut corners, and gold trim on some models, for Pete’s sake.

Alas, those days are over, and while the Spectre x360 is still a top-shelf ultralight Windows laptop, it has traded in style for consistency. All-gentle, OSHA-friendly curves clad in corporate black, silver, and blue give the sense that the Spectre didn’t sell out, but rather bought in.

The 2024 rendition of the Spectre x360 sticks closely to the design of the 2023 model, all built around showcasing the “360” portion of the name. A pair of hinges allows the screen to fold back 180 degrees, converting the laptop into a 14-inch tablet. A fingertip works on the screen, as does the stylus included in the box, and the rechargeable active pen snaps magnetically to the side of the chassis when not in use.

Laptop folded outward like a tablet with a digital pen in front. Screen has abstract background and menu in the center.

Photograph: HP

As with most new machines hitting the market this season, the major upgrade here is the introduction of the AI-infused Intel Core Ultra CPU—in this instance, the Ultra 7 155H model, backed up by a beefy 32 GB of RAM and a 2-TB solid state drive. The unit is a bit light on ports, with two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports (one used for charging) and a single USB-A port partially covered by an awkward and unnecessary spring-loaded, flip-out panel.

Sure enough, there’s ample power in those specs, and the Spectre x360 turned in the best performance I’ve seen to date on general business apps—by a healthy margin of 20 percent or more versus other Core Ultra laptops on many tests. It was about par for the course on graphics apps, though no slouch in this department either. Despite improvements in the Core Ultra’s integrated GPU, you’ll still need to upgrade to a laptop with a discrete graphics processor if you want to undertake significant gaming or rendering activities. On AI tasks, the Spectre fell just a hair shy of the high mark set by the MSI Prestige 13 AI Evo in my prior testing.

Size and weight are fine, although the unit is heavier than the similarly sized Lenovo X1 Carbon, with 19 millimeters of thickness and a 2.4-pound weight. That’s not bad considering the inclusion of a touchscreen and the 360-degree hinge. The extra weight may also reflect a slightly larger battery. My testing (with a YouTube video playback at full brightness) achieved 10.5 hours of running time—significantly better than other Core Ultra laptops I’ve tested to date.

2 side views of a thin black laptop while closed

Photograph: HP

The OLED screen is dazzlingly bright, which is right in line with the rest of the market today. The speakers on the unit are also excellent, with top-firing tweeters and two front-firing woofers, improved by an impressive cooling system that barely saw the super-silent fan kicking in at all.

My only real complaint is a fairly mild one. While the Spectre’s keyboard is fine, the haptic touchpad can be erratic, missing taps and clicks, depending on where you hit it. I don’t know whether this is a simple user error due to freakishly long fingers, but it’s an issue I’ve had with various Spectres for years. It has arguably improved a bit with the new touchpad, but it’s still a thorny problem that created a minor headache for me during extended use.

Pricing is tricky, as the exact specification I was sent isn’t readily available. You can get a close version for $1,400 on HP.com with 16 GB of RAM, but if you configure it on HP’s website, you’ll come up with a price of around $1,850. Even at the higher price, I’d say the exceptional performance, battery life, and usability options merit the outlay.

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