HP’s flagship HP Spectre x360 13 convertible laptop has previously won PCWorld’s Editor’s Choice award on the strength of its frequent, substantive improvements. Its 2018 update, which PCWorld previewed earlier in October, offers even more: incredible battery life (22.5 hours!), a new Intel “Whiskey Lake” processor, eSIM LTE, and even a webcam “kill switch.”

What you’ll immediately notice, though, is a faceted chassis design that angles the corners and offsets the power connections and USB-C port. On the side of the chassis is also a small red switch that electrically disables the webcam, actually removing the driver from Windows. 

HP debuted two versions of the Spectre x360 13 in 2017, and what was noteworthy about the excellent late 2017 Spectre x360 13 was its leap to an 8th-gen, quad-core part. Intel still calls its latest quad-core “Whiskey Lake” chip an 8th-gen processor too, but there’s less of an emphasis on performance. HP believes you’ll see a boost of about 13 percent in 3DMark performance from the previous x360 generation, but a whopping 37-percent increase in battery life to a rated 22.5 hours. In part, that’s because the new Spectre x360 uses a 1-watt display panel that still manages to pump out a maximum of 400 nits of luminosity.

HP Spectre x360 13 Mark Hachman / IDG

HP designed its Spectre x360 for your professionals, with battery life among its primary characteristics.

HP Spectre x360 13 (2018) prices, features and specs

  • Display: 13.3-inch (3840×2160) WLED;13.3-inch (1920×1080) WLED with either HP SureView privacy protection or HP BrightView; protected by Corning Gorilla Glass NBT
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Core i5-8265U; 1.8GHz Core i7-8565U (“Whiskey Lake”)
  • GPU: Intel HD 620
  • Memory: 8GB-16GB, DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB-512GB SSD
  • Ports: 1 USB-A, 2 USB-C (Thunderbolt, fast charging), mic/headphones
  • Wireless: dual eSIM LTE support, gigabit WiFi
  • Security: IR camera; fingerprint reader
  • Battery: 60Wh
  • Chassis: CNC-machined aluminum in either “Dark Ash Silver/Copper Luxe Accents” or “Poseidon Blue/Pale Brass Accents”
  • Dimensions: Exact dimensions are unknown, but it’s 14mm thin and 2.9 pounds—slightly thicker and heavier than the previous generation.
  • Optional accessories: Ink Certified Pen (included); HP Spectre Tilt rechargeable Pen; HP Spectre Rechargeable Mouse 700
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: Beginning at $1,150
  • Shipping: December (Best Buy)

Hands on with the HP Spectre x360 13

(Editor’s note: Our hands-on was conducted at an HP event which showed off a new HP Spectre x360 15 as well, emphasizing performance rather than battery life.)

Under the dim lights of a recent HP launch event, it was difficult to distinguish between the new Dark Ash Silver and Poseidon Blue colors. But the accent metals used on the corners gleam. And speaking of the corners—they’re gone. Well, sort of. On each of the rear corners, HP has angled the corners to include a power button on one side and a Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C connector on the other. Because the new x360 is USB-C powered, that means that the power cord can be attached at a convenient angle, or connected via the side of the Spectre, using the other port.

HP Spectre x360 13 Mark Hachman / IDG

HP widened its speaker grille and reshaped it to give it a geometric bent.

Honestly, the new faceted design is a bit gratuitous, as a USB-C slot at the side or rear of the notebook is just fine. But HP has always tried to make its products visually distinctive, and it’s a stylistic flourish that you’ll instantly identify with the Spectre line.

HP Spectre x360 13 Mark Hachman / IDG

The rear corners have been squared off to give the Spectre laptops this “faceted” look. On the right side of the Spectre x360 13, there’s a pair of USB-C ports (with Thunderbolt), the headphone jack, and the new webcam kill switch.

Held in the hand, the Spectre x360 (2018) was both bright and light. The display can blast  out up to 400 nits, even with the new 1-watt panel technology—a huge deal, and one of the most important announcements to come out of Computex this year. The new, ultra-efficient panel minimizes one of the most power-hungry components within a PC. Even though the battery remains unchanged from the Spectre x360 (2017) at 60Wh, HP executives described the reduction in panel power as one of the key enablers of its massive increase in battery life—pushing into the territory carved out by Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, but with a traditional x86 architecture.

To our eyes, the Spectre x360 13’s new display appeared both bright and color-accurate. You also have the option of buying a SureView-equipped panel, which helps reduce visibility to viewers to your left and right, preserving privacy. HP also said it trimmed the bezel size by just under 6 percent, the majority at the bottom of the screen.





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