HP Spectre x360 14: Luxurious, with long battery life
PCWorld|April 2021
The latest Intel CPU and Iris Xe graphics make all the difference.
BEN PATTERSON

The luxurious HP Spectre x360 14 is back with some new bling—Intel’s Tiger Lake CPU. The results are as impressive as we’d hoped, with some of the fastest multicore benchmark scores we’ve ever seen. The features spoil you as much as the speed. With its roomy display, powerful graphics, and exceptional battery life, the Spectre x360 14 will please productivity mavens and content creators alike. Facial and fingerprint recognition, a physical camera shutter, and a Thunderbolt 4 port round out the perks.

SPECIFICATIONS

Let’s take a look under the hood of the HP Spectre x360 model (1Q881AV) we reviewed, currently $1,590 on HP.com (go. pcworld.com/1q88):

CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7-1165G7

Memory: 16GB

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe

Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

Display: 13.5-inch, 1920x1280 IPS touch

Webcam: 720p with physical camera shutter

Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4, SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps Type-C, SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps Type-A, MicroSD memory card reader

Networking: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0.

Biometrics: IR facial recognition, fingerprint reader

Battery capacity: 66.5 watt-hours.

Dimensions: 11.75x8.67x0.67 inches

Measured weight: 3 pounds (laptop), 0.6 pounds (AC adapter)

Two other Spectre x360 14 SKUs are available on HP.com (go.pcworld. com/1q88). A less expensive $1,300 version has a Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM rather than 16GB, and a smaller 256GB SSD with 16GB of Intel Optane memory. A pricier $1,960 model boasts the same basic specifications as our review model save for a much larger 2TB storage drive and the addition of HP’s Sure View privacy display. A fourth Spectre x360 version that’s a Best Buy exclusive (go.pcworld.com/bbxc) comes with a 3000x2000-pixel OLED display and a 1TB SSD with 32GB of Optane memory.

Our midrange model misses out on some niceties, but it doesn’t skimp on RAM or the CPU. Its Core i7-1165G7 processor and 16GB promise to deliver some serious horsepower. The integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU will be a plus for mobile content creators, while the 3:2 ratio of the Spectre x360’s 13.5-inch display (a first for the Spectre series) will make it easier to work with lengthy Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.

Thunderbolt 4 headlines the Spectre’s solid connectivity options,. There’s Wi-Fi 6 support for those with cutting-edge routers. In addition to the fingerprint and facial IR options, there’s even a rechargeable, MPP 2.0–compatible HP Tilt Pen included in the box.

The Spectre x360 14 comes with HP’s Command Center suite, which lets you manage how the laptop juggles its resources. First and foremost is Smart Sense: When your laptop’s on battery power, it optimizes performance based on your open applications. You can switch to more traditional Balanced, Cool, Quiet, and Power Saver modes, while a Performance mode lets you pull out the stops.

The Command Center also has a Network Booster that shoulders quality-of-service duties for bandwidth-intensive apps, while a Focus Mode helps you hone in on the task at hand by dimming inactive windows. Rounding out the Command Center’s features is an Adaptive Color mode that adjusts the display’s color temperature based on the ambient light. Display Control can tune the screen for color accuracy. Finally, a nifty “in-bag detection” feature optimizes the Spectre’s power consumption and keeps it cool while it’s sitting in a bag or a backpack.

The Spectre x360 14 bears Intel’s Evo brand (go.pcworld.com/ievo), meaning it’s designed to certain specifications: 11th-gen Core i5 or Core i7 processors, a 12- to 15-inch display with a minimum full-HD resolution, a chassis no thicker than 15mm, and Intel’s Dynamic Tuning technology, which helps to optimize battery life by intelligently balancing CPU and GPU workloads.

DESIGN

HP’s Spectre x360 laptops have long been sleek, gorgeous creatures, and this new Spectre x360 14 is no exception. The Spectre’s CNC machined, gem-cut edges and gold, logo-stamped hinges are as arresting as ever. The laptop has a solid, premium feel.

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