HP’s latest Spectre x360 13t has something to say to other thin-and-light laptops, which, it seems, are all about taking good things away from you. Keyboards with travel, USB Type-A ports, and even the opportunity to replace your SSD are features that have all gone by the wayside in some of Dell and Apple’s newest and thinnest laptops.

In the face of all that No, the HP Spectre x360 13t simply says Yes. You want a standard M.2 SSD? Got it, the Spectre x360 13t says. NBA-level of travel in your keys? Sure thing. USB Type-A port?! Of course the Spectre x360 13t has that, too.

hp spectre x360 13 5th gen 14 Gordon Mah Ung

HP gets a USB Type-A using a “drop-jaw” type design typically seen for ethernet connections. And yes, you’ll have to pry my USB Type-A from my moist sweaty hands.

And that’s just for starters.

While vendors have been happy to trim away bezels in laptops, that’s also meant leaving behind one of the coolest features in Windows 10: Windows Hello and facial recognition login. Yet somehow HP has fit what appears to be the smallest IR-enabled camera we’ve seen to date into the tiny Spectre x360 13t. And if you don’t like the facial recognition feature, you can also use the integrated fingerprint reader.

That Windows Hello support is fast, too. We’ve previously found Microsoft’s implementations have been the best at speed and recognition, but the new Spectre x360 13t will go from lid-closed to the desktop in an impressive 1.5 to 3 seconds. Performance is fastest when the laptop isn’t in its deepest sleep state. Sometimes it’s so fast, you almost wonder if you even have a password on the laptop.

hp spectre x360 13 5th gen 3 Gordon Mah Ung

Despite having tiny bezels, the 5th-gen Spectre x360 13t (right) maintains an integrated Windows Hello-enabled camera.

It’s smaller

What’s amazing is how HP added all of these features some vendors say can’t be done while getting smaller. Physically, the new Spectre x360 13t takes the footprint down by about an inch compared to the prior generation. The new Spectre x360 13t is actually a bit smaller than Apple’s beloved MacBook Air 11, which people coveted for its teeny footprint. Just like that MacBook Air 11, the Spectre x360 13t slips into your bag so discreetly you won’t even know it’s there.

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About the only thing we wish it had was dual AC charging ports. But one is fine. 

hp spectre x360 13 5th gen 2 Gordon Mah Ung

The new 5th gen Spectre x360 13t is about an inch smaller than the older model.

There is a cost in thickness. When Dell and Apple decided to go with a low-travel MagLev 2 keyboard and soldered SSD, it wasn’t to annoy you—it was to make the laptops thinner. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is legitimately thinner than the Spectre x360 13t by about 2mm at its thickest point. In fact, the 5th-gen Spectre x360 13t is about 1mm thicker than the previous model.



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