HP Spectre x360 14: A Game-Changing Convertible
PC Magazine|February 2021
HP still sells the Spectre x360 13, but you can forget about it. The Spectre x360 14 is an elegant convertible laptop that ditches the older system’s 13.3-inch touch screen—and its familiar 16:9 aspect ratio— for a 13.5-inch panel with a squarer 3:2 ratio, for a superior view of text and web pages.
ERIC GREVSTADT

Basically, it says, “I see you and raise you” to the 16:10 display of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Add to that some immaculate engineering, gorgeous OLED screen technology, and a stylus pen and USB Type-A port that the Dell lacks, and the Spectre edges out the XPS 13 2-in-1, snatching the Editors’ Choice award as our new favorite premium convertible.

SPECTRAL ANALYSIS: SLEEK, SVELTE, AND STYLISH

The Spectre x360 14 is an Intel Evo laptop, so it flaunts the chipmaker’s latest innovations, including rapid wake, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and an 11th Generation “Tiger Lake” processor with Iris Xe integrated graphics. The $1,299.99 base model at HP.com combines Core i5 power with 8GB of memory, a 256GB solid-state drive, and a 1,920-by-1,280-pixel touch screen. One of HP’s Sure View Reflect privacy screens is optional; a rechargeable tilt pen and carrying sleeve are standard. (The stylus clings magnetically to the side of the laptop instead of fitting into a niche.)

Our test unit steps up to an OLED touch panel with 3,000-by-2,000-pixel resolution and 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, as well as a quad-core, 2.8GHz (4.7GHz turbo) Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD bolstered by 32GB of Intel Optane Memory. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth are onboard, though users who roam far from hotspots will be sad there’s no WWAN option.

HP Spectre x360 14

PROS High-fashion styling. Dazzling OLED touch screen with 3:2 aspect ratio. Handy shortcut keys and utility software. Rechargeable pen and carrying sleeve in box. Lively performance (apart from gaming).

CONS No HDMI port. No LTE mobile broadband option. No sign of the 007 SPECTRE octopus logo.

BOTTOM LINE Its tall OLED screen and swank, thoughtful design vault the HP Spectre x360 14 to the top rank of convertible laptops.

As with previous Spectres, the Spectre x360 14 is one of the most attractive laptops you can buy, with gem-cut contrasting edges highlighting its CNCmachined aluminum chassis. It’s available in Nightfall Black with Copper Luxe accents or Poseidon Blue with Pale Brass accents, each $10 more than the shy silver model. HP’s stylized four-slash logo decorates the lid, which unfortunately takes two hands to open. (You must hold the base down while lifting the lid.) Two hinges let you fold the display back into the easel, tent, and tablet modes well known to hybrid users. The screen barely wobbles when tapped in laptop mode, and you’ll feel almost no flex in the chassis when you grasp its corners or press the keyboard deck.

At 0.67 by 11.8 by 8.7 inches, the system is slightly deeper than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (0.56 by 11.7 by 8.2 inches), as well as barely heavier (2.95 versus 2.9 pounds). Among hybrid laptops that have screens with a 16:9 aspect ratio, the 13.3-inch Asus ZenBook Flip S is 0.54 by 12 by 8.3 inches, and the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga 9i is 0.6 by 12.6 by 8.5 inches. The screen bezels are ultra-thin (HP boasts a 90.33% screen-to-body ratio), yet the webcam remains properly located, positioned above, instead of below, the display.

The laptop’s left edge holds a USB 3.2 Type-A port. You’ll find two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports on the right side (actually, one on the side and the other, suitable for the AC adapter, on the diagonal-cut rear corner), along with an audio jack and a microSD card slot.

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