HP Spectre x360: Conclusion

March 1, 2015 by Jerry Jackson Reads (209,179)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 10
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Editors ChoiceConclusion

We’ve spent a few days putting the Spectre x360 through its paces, gathered all the test results, and we’re comfortable enough to draw a few conclusions.

First, no matter how much effort HP puts into avoiding the issue, the x360 is a “MacBook Air competitor” and that means every potential buyer and every tech journalist is going to compare these two laptops before deciding whether to buy the x360 or a Mac.

That might be one inescapable truth, but another truth is HP didn’t just make something that “looks” similar to a MacBook … HP made every effort to deliver a product that meets or exceeds what Apple currently offers from the feel of the chassis and performance of the hardware all the way to the intangible elements of the user experience.

That brings us to our second conclusion about the Spectre x360: The biggest advantage that the x360 has over every single MacBook wannabe that came before is that HP worked hand in hand with Microsoft to make the user experience as good as it can be. When most people talk about what they like about using Macs the things they mention usually aren’t “specific” to the Unix-based OS X. Casual Mac users mention things like incredibly quick start up and shut down, nearly instant wake from sleep, exceptional battery life, clean and streamlined controls with no useless “bloatware” cluttering the desktop, and something that “just works.”

The Spectre x360 does these things and more.

Unfortunately, as good as the HP Spectre x360 is, only time will tell if this is enough to satisfy consumers looking for a “casual use” laptop that delivers a “premium experience.” The x360 has several advantages over a MacBook Air, but that won’t convince those who still argue the Apple logo and Mac OS X are the main reasons that 13 percent of the US consumer PC market buys Macs.

HP Spectre x360 in laptop mode

HP Spectre x360 in laptop mode


  • SPEED—faster than any thin-and-light laptop has a right to be.
  • Excellent battery life
  • Premium fit and finish


  • ClickPad has left-click/right-click problems
  • Integrated Intel graphics are just “okay”
  • May not be enough to sway MacBook fanboys




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  1. bluevaping

    “HP and Microsoft engineers worked side by side at every stage from chassis design and hardware selection to driver optimization and final OS and software image installation. The result: This Windows laptop doesn’t just run smoothly, it has essentially been “performance tuned.” Well that should be the standard going forward for most Windows devices. Or at least the Bios/ driver optimization from MS calibration. Consolidated lines/hardware and put out better optimized products should make business sense. The trackpad thing is odd after all this effort. I hope HP, MS, and a Trackpad maker all have lunch together soon.

  2. GarryMasters

    good review- sounds like HP may finally be back on track- the ‘split’ version is horrible- I have 2 users and both have issues and a lack of ports- also since the kbd is considered a ‘dock’ it does not play real nice with a usb3 dock which is necessary because they have so few ports. I have 2 happy users of the the Dell 13″ 7347 and 2 happy with Yoga 2., 1 happy with Acer Switch 11. I agree all will use laptop mode more than other modes, but the flexibility to go to tablet or presentation mode is great occasionally (like cramped airplane seat and lack of use of those modes is mostly due to both inertia (users are used to laptops) and still-no-optimum touch control in windows (how do you do ctrl-c or copy when in tablet mode?) and lack of windows tablet apps. Lastly – until windows is better able to use QHD, etc- stick with 1080p resolution (ALL laptops should offer that!) and lets get (1) new usb3.1 ‘C’ on every laptop soon! (but more than just 1 port- Apple has got to be KIDDING that the the new Macbook will have 1 of those and NOTHING else).

  3. GarryMasters

    good review- sounds like HP may finally be back on track- the ‘split’ version is horrible.

  4. KieserSozay

    Great article. I was all set to buy the best and most current configuration of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series (I believe it is model i7348-5001SLV, which is similar and impressive as well). But after reading this, I think there are some nuances that make this a better pick even though it would cost about $200 more. Please reply if you have any experience with the similar Dell model I mentioned and if you have any opinions on it.

  5. gluble

    Um, you know that you can do a right-click on a Mac trackpad by tapping with two fingers, right?

    You can also, I am sure, enable that on this laptop as well.

    Just like 2-finger scrolling is way, way better for most users that that shitty little scroll strip Windows laptops insisted on using for way too long, 2-finger tapping is way better than trying to tap on a “right-clicky” area of the trackpad.

    This is all stuff Macs have had for almost 10 years. It astounds me how long it’s taken Windows laptops to catch up, and still one has to check reviews and test because they’re still so inconsistent. Windows didn’t even get native support for this basic functionality till Windows 8.

    This is basic knowledge that a professional laptop reviewer should really know instead of complaining about right-click areas and making weird statements about Windows needing to be rebuilt to use a single click.

  6. jonjojr

    The Spectre is a 10. It took me 3 months to find the perfect replacement for my other laptop, and as soon as I saw the ad on TV went online and saw the specs, then few days later took a trip to see it, and the rep had it next to an Apple, and I fell in love at first sight. HP you did great, and if you continue I will continue to buy these laptops in the future. This is a hit and it shows, my wife wants to trade me her Surface Pro 3 for this and it is NOT gonna happen.

  7. javjaffrey

    I second ‘Gluble’. I’ve used many buttonless trackpads including this HP Spectre on windows machines and have always used two finger taps to right click. Works every time. I would’ve thought this was common knowledge by now?

    Anyhow, I’ve had the Spectre for just over a month and it’s as close to perfection as you can get…for now. Used to have a main laptop and a dell venue 11 pro as my road companion but this machine has replaced both.

    The battery life is phenomenal…I also have an Xperia Z3 compact and when this laptop consistently outlasts my phone in charge…the euphoric feeling of finally having an all day windows device cannot be described…now I just need a windows 10 phone to complete the ecosystem lineup.

  8. JustVisiting

    The clickpad actually works very well once you understand it.

    A one finger click gives a left-button click and a two finger click gives a right-button click. The important thing to understand is that the distinction between a one and two finger click doesn’t depend on both fingers applying force; it depends on there being contact by both fingers. Thus if you push with your left index finger while resting your right index finger on the pad, then that counts as a two fingered click. Adapt to this and the clickpad works well.

    Incidentally, the touch pad is not actually buttonless; it is just that a) the buttons aren’t identified by lines on the touchpad, and b) the buttons are in the bottom corners; they don’t extend all the way across. They are about an inch wide and half an inch high. Click on either of these and it doesn’t matter how many fingers are resting on the touchpad.

  9. simon722

    Beware, build quality issues with the Spectre x360 are normal apparently.

    I purchased the 4109na version of this laptop because it has excellent specifications. Unfortunately, it started to emit a strange electrical sputtering sound from the keyboard over the CPU area. The sound was very faint, but noticeable in a quiet room. It’s not the fan because it’s constant from the start even when the machine is cold. I sent it back to HP twice to fix the issue and they sent it back to me stating it is normal and within specification – in other words, it makes a faint, but constant noise as normal. I wasn’t happy because I know that solid state devices (excluding the fan) do not make any noise at all. HP refused to refund the product because I had owned it for 6 weeks longer than the prescribed one month return period. They refused to change any of the components either to see if that might have made a difference and told me there was nothing they could do.

    I asked HP to confirm if it was normal for HP products to make strange electrical noises as part of their specification, but they refused to comment on this. The (outsourced) repairer however, did confirm that it makes a faint noise and compared it to another machine of the same specification confirming that the noise was the same indicating that this is normal.

    To put into context, imagine if your iPad or MacBook Pro made faint, but constant electrical sputtering noises from the CPU area. You would automatically think that your machine was defective. The Apple build quality is very high and this would never be acceptable. HP are essentially saying this noise is acceptable.

    Nice specifications, nice-looking machine, but beware of the build quality. HP have never really had a great reputation for build quality and I suppose this proves it. I naively thought they might have improved over the years, but I was wrong. Do your research first. I’m now stuck with this machine and HP have dug their heals in by refusing to acknowledge they might have build quality issues. They continue to quote ‘it is within specification’.