HP Spectre x360 15 review: With Kaby Lake-G, this laptop can do almost anything

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HP’s Spectre x360 15 changes everything. Specifically, the version that wields Intel’s Kaby Lake-G CPU, fortified with Radeon RX Vega discrete graphics, upends the stereotype that 360-degree convertible laptops can’t deliver top performance. And we’ve proven it by comparing the Spectre x360 15 with Kaby Lake-G against its twin running Kaby Lake-R, as well as some high-end clamshell designs. The Kaby Lake G version is as fast or faster than all comers. 

The Spectre 15 x360 15’s journey has been a long one. When we reviewed the first generation in 2016, it was basically designed to be a giant ultrabook with a big screen, rather than a pricey powerhouse. 

Not to throw shade, but we’ve seen other vendors stuff much hotter CPUs and much hotter GPUs into 15-inch convertibles, and the results have been, well, less than stellar. That’s definitely not the case with the Spectre x360, which gives you top-notch parts including:

  • Intel Core i7-8705G
  • 16GB of DDR4/2400 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD (Toshiba in our build)
  • 15.6-inch 4K touch screen with active stylus support and 1,024 pressure levels
HP Spectre x360 15 Adam Patrick Murray

The new HP Spectre x360 15 comes in Dark Ash Silver with Copper Luxe highlights.

New look

Externally, the Spectre 15 x360 might look the same at first glance, but that’s just the Dark Ash Silver color. Look closer, and you can see HP has given the Spectre x360 the same sharply beveled lines of the 13-inch version. The screen bezels have slimmed down on the sides. HP also integrates an IR-based Windows Hello-compatible camera and a fingerprint reader strip.

We measured our review unit at just over 14 inches wide by 9.75 inches deep. HP claims it’s about 19.45mm thin (about three-quarters of an inch), which we confirmed. It’s slightly thicker than the previous version, which was 17.9mm.

One complaint we definitely have is the weight. Our unit sans power brick came in at 4 pounds, 10 ounces. That’s actually a few ounces heavier than the previous version. Some of that comes from the hefty 4K touchscreen and its glass protective layer.

One good side effect of the extra weight is the stiff chassis. Pick up the Spectre x360 15 one-handed, and you needn’t fear that you’ll bend it. 

You can have any display you want as long as it’s 4K 

HP has jumped into 4K with both feet on the Spectre x360 15. While most PC makers offer a 1080p version to lower cost and increase battery life (higher-resolution screens inherently use more power), HP offers only a single, 3840×2160 IPS-like panel option.

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