I've been testing laptops for the last 14 years and using them long before that. I once owned the original Mac Powerbook 100 back in the dark ages of time immortal. Back in the day, I was even a laptop reviewer for a print magazine. During that tenure, I've tested many HP laptops in all shapes and sizes. The recently released Spectre x360 is their best model yet, a crowning achievement that screams quality materials. I'm typing this review on one right now, and I already know HP will have to pry this one out of my hands after a few more weeks of testing. I might try to stretch that to a month.
One of the most interesting findings is that the keyboard is responsive and helped me type faster. Not all laptop keyboards work the same. The Lenovo ThinkPad 450s is another newer model I will review soon, but it uses old-style keys that are much larger. (It's a matter of taste--Lenovo actually tried using smaller, flatter keys but brought back the big ones.) The backlit keyboard on the HP Spectre x360 feels rigid and durable, and the keys don't "bounce" too much.
The other major innovation here is the screen. It folds all... the... way... back a full 360-degrees so you can use the Spectre in tablet mode. Because it's only about a half-finger thin with the lid closed, the laptop performs well as a tablet. You can set it in a "tent" shape for a meeting, almost like a tripod, and show videos or presentations. The hinge feels solid like it won't get shaky or even break after a few years of twisting back and forth.
I'm surprised how crisp and clear the screen is for normal document editing duties. The Spectre comes in two models, one that has 1920Ã--1080 pixels and costs $900 and one that has 2560Ã--1440 pixels and costs $1400. The higher-res screen is important if you do any video or photo work, because you are seeing more information on the screen. It also helps presentations, documents, and other content pop. Both uses a 13.3-inch screen.
That higher-end config is the one I tested and has 8GB of RAM, a 512GB solid state drive (which is faster than a magnetic drive), and a fast Intel Core i7 processor (the best one they offer) for fast speeds and handling multiple apps at the same time. I tend to run my browser with 15 tabs open in Google Chrome which can cause some problems on laptops without as much horsepower, but I had no problems on the Spectre and even had Adobe Photoshop and a few other apps running at the same time.
At a coffee shop, I worked on the Spectre all day long, about ten hours, and noticed I still had plenty of juice left. It's rated to last about 12 hours. My main finding is that the Spectre has an unusual level of craftsmanship, easily rivaling what Apple is doing in terms of looking and feeling like it will last. I will find out soon if the extra features on the new MacBook 12-inch are worth it when I review that model soon. (It has an all new keyboard and a new trackpad that sense how hard you are pressing).
For now, the Spectre x360 is my top laptop pick for business users and matches up nicely with the recently released Dell XPS 13, which is also one of my favorites of the year so far. The Spectre x360 a good pick for anyone who needs to get real work done--and then wants to switch to tablet mode in the evening or maybe use the laptop for a sales demo. It's flexible enough to excel at both. I plan to use one as my primary system.