HP Spectre : High End 2 in 1

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Case

The chassis remains identical to the 2019 Ice Lake model. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is still the smaller and lighter option, but the more rigid HP system manages to include a few more features as a result of its thicker profile. The Spectre x360 14 is slightly heavier and significantly longer due to its 3:2 aspect ratio.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard remains identical to the 2019 Spectre x360 13 including even the symbols on each key. The Spectre and EliteBook series are home to some of our favorite laptop keyboards and so the lack of any gen-to-gen changes here isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Feedback, travel, and clatter still feel crisper, deeper, and quieter than on most other Ultrabooks for a satisfying typing experience

On future models, we would love to see an HP Programmable Key much like on the latest Envy laptops to improve user customization.

Touchpad

The clickpad also remains identical to the 2019 version in both feedback and dimensions (~11.1 x 5.6 cm). Its smooth surface is firm when pressed and with loud but satisfying clatter. Our main issue with the clickpad is that clicking requires a bit more force than usual meaning it can get tiring to use if you don’t have an external mouse.

Display

OLED offers deeper colors, higher contrast, and significantly faster black-white and gray-gray response times than IPS to minimize ghosting. Unfortunately, this seems to come at the cost of brightness as the OLED display maxes out at around 350 nits compared to 400 on the IPS configuration.

Picture quality is good, but we think it could have been better. When displaying an all-white image, there is some graininess to the picture likely due to the overlying glass touchscreen layer. Black texts against white backgrounds subsequently don’t appear as crisp as they could have been especially for a native 4K display.

Performance

Unlike the larger and more powerful Spectre x360 15 series, the Spectre x360 13 has always focused only on ULV U-class CPUs with no dedicated graphics options. In this case, users can select between the 10th gen Tiger Lake Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1165G7 with integrated Iris Xe graphics to replace last year’s 10th gen Ice Lake and Iris Plus options.

Users should select RAM carefully since the modules are soldered. However, we  appreciate the fact that the low-end 8 GB option is dual-channel and not single-channel to aid in integrated graphics performance.

Processor

Raw multi-thread performance is within single-digit percentages of the average Core i5-1135G7 in our database. Opting for the higher-end Core i7-1165G7 SKU should offer up to 30 percent faster CPU performance assuming the cooling solution can keep up. Users upgrading from an older Core i5-1035G4 or Core i5-8265U will see roughly 50 to 60 percent faster multi-thread performance each.

GPU Performance

Graphics performance is excellent with 3DMark results that are about 20 percent faster than the average Iris Xe 80 EUs in other laptops. Synthetic benchmarks don’t tell the whole story, however, as performance in real-world games will fluctuate wildly. Our graph below shows frame rates over time when idling on Witcher 3 at the lowest graphical settings. Frame rates would cycle consistently between the low 70s and high 80s even after setting our unit to Performance mode. This same phenomenon was observed on the Spectre x360 14 and 2019 Spectre x360 13 as well meaning HP has done nothing to address this.

Battery Life

Runtimes are significantly shorter than we recorded on the 2019 IPS model. Idling on Power Saver mode at the minimum brightness setting would last just 12 hours compared to 36 hours on the older model. Similarly, browsing the web on Balanced mode at 150 nit brightness would last for just 6 hours and 10 hours on the 2021 model and 2019 model, respectively. The price to pay for 4K OLED can be quite high if you don’t have frequent access to electrical outlets.

Charging from empty to full capacity takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Note that this same USB-C charger can also be used to recharge most other laptops with USB-C Power Delivery.

Verdict

In review: HP Spectre x360 13-aw2003dx
In review: HP Spectre x360 13-aw2003dx

The biggest reason for choosing the Spectre x360 13 with 11th gen Intel instead of the older Spectre x360 13 with 10th gen Intel is its increase in graphics performance. The 60 to 100 percent jump over the Iris Plus G7 in the 2019 Spectre x360 13 is significant enough to be noticeable for editors and light gamers.

Users not interested in the benefits of Iris Xe may want to consider the Spectre x360 13 with 10th gen Intel instead. The money saved can go towards more RAM and storage rather than 4K OLED.

If your daily tasks involve mostly 4K video streaming, browsing, and the occasional editing, then the 11th gen model will offer very little over the 10th gen model as practically everything else about the two laptops remain identical. Disappointingly, the 11th gen model comes with Wi-Fi 6 instead of Wi-Fi 6E, PCIe 3.0 instead of PCIe 4.0, Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4, and no changes to RAM performance over last year’s model.

The OLED panel is also somewhat disappointing when compared to the typical 1080p or 4K IPS panels on other Spectre models. Battery life is shorter, the display is dimmer, image quality appears grainier, and pulse-width modulation (or flickering) is present. Users get deeper colors, higher contrast, higher native resolution, and faster response times in return, of course, but the notable disadvantages stick out like a sore thumb.

Price and availability

 

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Kindly note that this article was outsourced and the information within was collected from various online trusted sources. We don’t own, or performed any mentioned tests personally.

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