HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch Brings Big-Screen Entertainment

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HP revealed its second-generation 15.6-inch Spectre x360 convertible notebook at CES. The new model boats improved battery life, graphics performance, and speakers over the outgoing model, in addition to numerous technology upgrades.

HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch convertible notebook

HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch convertible notebook

Spectre x360: One Big Convertible

The Spectre x360 15.6-inch is one of the largest convertible notebooks available on the market. HP says this second-generation model can get 12.75 hours on battery, up from 9.5 hours for the previous generation. The bump in battery life is undoubtedly helped by the upgrade to Intel’s “Kaby Lake” Core-series processors and this new model’s larger 79Wh battery. The latter serves as the probably explanation for the fact the Spectre x360 15.6-inch gained 0.4 pounds of weight since the last generation, now resting at 4.42 pounds. It’s slightly thicker as well, at 0.7 instead of 0.63 inches.

We found the first-generation Spectre x360 15.6-inch to be well-built, if bulky when used as a tablet. What the new Spectre x360 15.6-inch gains over the outgoing model, design-wise, is an attractive near-borderless display. The new model is only 14 inches wide, as opposed to 14.8 inches for the outgoing model.

The new model will have two color schemes, black or silver, both with copper-colored accents. The chassis is unibody aluminum.

HP Spectre x360 15-6inch convertible notebook in one of its alternative modes

HP Spectre x360 15-6inch convertible notebook in one of its alternative modes

Although the outgoing Spectre x360 15.6-inch offered FHD and 4K display resolutions, the new model offers 4K only. This is likely why HP has installed a larger battery, as it’s more demanding on the computer to run a higher-resolution display. This may also be why the new model includes dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics.

Other notable features of the new model include Thunderbolt 3 support in its USB Type-C port. (Take a look at our feature: USB Type-C: Do You Need It Now?). It also has front-facing speakers for a better audio experience, and a fast-charge feature, allowing you to charge the battery up to 90 percent in 90 minutes. Topping off the feature list is an IR webcam.

Something missing on the new model is a media card reader, which is sure to earn a spot on our cons list when we get a review unit.  (Update: we’ve since found out the Spectre x360 15.6-inch indeed has a card reader – whew!)

The Spectre x360 15.6-inch should go head-to-head with Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1, which starts at $749.99. The Dell doesn’t offer a 4K display, though, or dedicated graphics. It’s also quite a bit heavier than the HP, at 5.84 pounds. Then again, it’s a lot less expensive. 

HP Spectre x360 15-bl062nr Specifications

  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K touch display (3,840×2,160 resolution)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U dual-core processor (2.7GHz, up to 3.5GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX w/ 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 (2x 8GB)
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 PCI-Express SSD with NVMe support
  • Wireless: 2×2 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 14×9.88×0.70 inches
  • Weight: 4.42 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

Pricing and Availability

The new HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch model is scheduled to become available in the United States in February 2017, with a starting price of $1,249.


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  1. edit1754

    Good writeup!

    In addition to this, I think it would have been informative had you also covered the pentile issue from the 2016 Spectre x360 15, since as of right now there’s no confirmation that this 2017 model isn’t doing the same thing, and that has pretty significant bearing on what it means for this laptop to be listed as 4K.

    The ‘4K’ display in the 2016 model used the RG/BW Pentile matrix to more or less ‘cheat’ the ability to advertise the 4K resolution, without actually providing the full detail of the resolution. You would see 3840×2160 in your display settings, and the GPU would render every pixel of 3840×2160, but the actual display didn’t have enough RGB components to display all those pixels, so all you got to see was a downsampled version. It was a fair bit worse than the real 4K displays in the Dell XPS 15 4K and Lenovo Yoga 710 4K.

    I would recommend, to potential buyers of this laptop, not to pre-order, and to hold off on buying this unless/until it can be confirmed that HP has stopped using this, and is using a 100% honest true-4K display in this year’s model. Or, for an alternative the same size with the same GPU, the Lenovo Yoga 710 4K is confirmed to use a 100% honest true 4K display.

    • Charles P Jefferies

      Thanks for the compliment, and the info. We’ll have to check this 4K issue out when we get a review unit.
      So is it the display panel itself at fault? As in, would we be able to look in the Device Manger and identify whether such an issue exists by looking at the hardware ID?

      Charles

  2. edit1754

    I don’t think you would be able to completely tell from the device manager, but you could get some idea. If you go to Device Manager > Monitors > Generic PnP Monitor (right click) > Properties > Details tab > Property: Hardware Ids, it should say something like MONITOR\SHP143E, MONITOR\LGD04D9, or MONITOR\SDCC34F.
    – SHP would refer to a Sharp-branded display, which would just about guarantee it’s an honest true 4K IGZO display.
    – LGD would refer to LG, and all 15.6″ LG displays I know of, purported to have 3840×2160 resolution, are RG/BW Pentile, though the 14″ LG in the Yoga 910 is true 3840×2160 so it’s possible LG started making some 15.6″ true 3840×2160 displays too.
    – SDC would refer to Samsung, and all 15.6″ Samsung displays I know of, purported to have 3840×2160 resolution, are RG/BW Pentile. And given Samsung’s track record with Pentile I’d say it’s unlikely that Samsung would be producing an honest 4K display just yet, though it would be a pleasant surprise.

    But the real test would be the chroma test, as shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEz-zkxRTjM
    Take this image: http://i.rtings.com/images/Chroma-444.png and display it in a program that will show it in 1:1 correspondence with the pixels of the display’s resolution. MS Paint should work.
    If the display is RG/BW Pentile, you will see dotted lines, fuzzy text, and latticing in the solid primary colors like the Spectre video above, because not every purported pixel denoted by the display’s resolution is capable of independently displaying any color. If it is true-resolution, it should look perfectly clear like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfMaEIysJp8

    • Charles P Jefferies

      Thanks. I’ll reference that, hopefully we’ll get a review unit soon. I’ll have to try this with any other higher-than 1080p display I get.
      The 4K display on the Yoga 910 is pretty fantastic-looking.
      Charles

    • Charles P Jefferies

      Thanks Allen, I’ll submit an update to the article.
      Charles