HP Spectre x2 Review: A Less Expensive Surface Rival

One big trend has been quite noticeable in the past few months: Almost every company is borrowing a leaf from Microsoft. The strong implication of this is that, they’re copying the Surface Pro almost at a rather late turn.

HP spectrex2

HP Spectrex2

The Surface Pro is a laptop/tablet combo that for now is in its fourth generation. There are several examples to buttress this point: the iPad Pro from Apple, Google’s Pixel C, not forgetting those from Dell and Lenovo. Latest in the turn of even is HP’s latest. The Spectre x2, as it is well known to be, is a 12-inch Windows tablet which comes with a keyboard cover.

Bearing close similarity with the Surface Pro, it boasts a kickstand around the back and can be well employed with a pressure-sensitive pen. But, then it comes at lesser cost and the keyboard most particularly comes in the box. Judging on paper, then, there is the sturdy look that even if the x2 isn’t groundbreaking, it surely holds it worth independently.

Hardware

Spectrex2 hardware

Spectrex2 hardware

It has close operation with a Surface, but I can’t really say they equally share appearance. In the case of the Surface Pro, we get to see all cut-away edges and unibody metal, on the side of the Spectre x2, we notably have rounded corners, some chrome and glass bits, exposed screws.

Let us begin our review on the backside for once, for the reason that is where most of the action really lies. The all-important kickstand is presented flush with the rear case till the moment you hold down a release lever on the left side. When you extend it, it has this look of an easel, sporting an open metal frame which stays put on flat surfaces, but then is not comfortable every time to balance on your lap.

I must add here that I find it relatively difficult to pull out than the Surface’s kickstand, yet I am justified to say here that both are a little kind of awkward in that respect. On the good jolly side though, the kickstand is well adjustable (which is also a semblance to the Surface Pro), which for sure not all hybrids are.

Also on the rear, you will come across a black glass strip lining the top edge. This is the location HP chose to place the Intel’s 3D RealSense camera setup, which is pretty made up of a main 8-megapixel shooter as well stereoscopic 720p cameras occupying the role of capturing different layers of depth information.

As we eventually got to see in other products making use of the technology, taking photos could turn to be much fun and you possibly adjust the focus after and even add filters to selective parts of the picture. On a seeming sad note though, while RealSense devices may seem theoretically able to duly exploit the Windows Hello biometric log-in in Windows 10, yet the deep reality underlying this is that these depth-sensing cameras are on the back of the x2; what this means is that they won’t boast the functionality for things like iris identification or facial when you have the intentions to quickly sign in to your machine.

In addition to this, it’s a quite belittling to use a 12-inch, nearly 1.9-pound tablet to frame shots. In detailed regards of this, the x2 is thin and light that is if you bring it in comparison of full-fledged laptops — but then this is no vindication that it is really small either.

With all this well mentioned , it is presented at 840 grams (1.85 pounds) and 8mm (0.31 inch) thick. This will introduce the needed convenience needed in carrying it indeed, though I wouldn’t deny that there is the added weight of the keyboard cover, if we add this we could get to the total of 2.68 pounds.

On the other hand however, the Surface Pro 4 begins at 1.69 pounds, and then the optional Type Cover adding just 0.64 pounds. The power/lock button which is just too important, sits on the top edge, with a distinct pin-locked microSD as well as a SIM trays on the right. Again on the right, you will see one of two USB Type-C ports which would serve the purpose of charging of the device.

Google’s latest Pixel Chromebook just like this one makes use of two USB-C charging ports and I must not say here that it can’t go without it, it is yet cool and almost refreshing to have the options of which side you would love to have the charging cord to come out of, which basically relies on where you’re sitting relative to the nearest outlet.

Should you need a full-sized USB Type-A connection a dongle is in the box, this opinion drags different attention from other hardware makers as some don’t even mind providing it. The second USB-C socket is on the left edge, also is a two-stage volume rocker, headphone jack as well as the release lever for the kickstand.

At the end of list here, the tablet does impressively to present a dual Bang & Olufsen speakers, one on the left and right side. (There’s also some B&O branding on both the tablet and keyboard dock, this will help you identify who is responsible for those thumping tunes.)

Display

Spectrex2 display

Spectrex2 display

The 12-inch IPS display is the center of everything. The resolution is capped at 1,920 x 1,080, which might not adequately rubs shoulders with other some competing products, among the likes concerned here is both the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro. This notwithstanding, on a screen this small, the deviation between this would be subtle at best, with the intention of minimizing cost, this will be a good business.

In finality, the x2 supports the pressure-sensitive Wacom pens — the Surface Pro carries the same technology. Let me add here that the x2 has the capacity to fill in the position of a good pen tablet for the purpose of drawing and then note-taking, this is well dome if you have no reluctance as to buying your own writing implement.

HP has put an active pen up for purchase by the user on its site for $30, despite this any Wacom pen using the same technology will perform the same purpose. The Spectre x2 may not really seem to beat off competition easily in face of the drawdown of the battery life not lasting long enough and then it is quite unfortunate that the screen might not be as sharp, but then this complaint is common to many device of its kind.

The metal keyboard has this sturdy feel, for starters, has a miles to travel so as to make it convenient to use in the lap. It’s backlit — this is a commendable addition. And, almost most relevantly, the keys are commendably sized with an impressive 1.5mm of travel, making them uncommonly comfortable for a product in this category. Also, it wouldn’t be fair if I don’t commend how HP gives you a nutritious diet of choice of resting the keyboard flat against your desk (or lap), or rather folding up the top so as to attach to magnets inside the tablet’s lower bezel.

This feature brings in the experience of the keyboard capable of a lift in the back that for some will later lead us to a more improved sound experience. A little let-down here for the fact that the touchpad isn’t nearly as polished. In true honesty, when it performs it works well, adding that comfort of being smooth enough scrolling and precise cursor tracking. But there were those sad moments when I swiped my finger across the large touch surface stumbling across the sad reality that it wasn’t responding really adequately.

Most times, if I keep at it for a longer time, it would surely fall into place and respond, other times to restore it I would detach and then reattach the tablet. Though this is not ideal, I feel relieved to think that this is just the sort of problem a firmware update can properly resolve.

Performance and battery life

Spectrex2

Spectrex2

The Spectre x2 is presented with your choice of Core M3, M5 or M7 processor. This is no different idea as Core i3, i5 and i7, just the exception that the Intel Core M forsakes speed in favour of achieving particularly thin and light designs.

The unit which I got my hand on was a top-of-the-line configuration, coming in a dual-core 1.2GHz Core M7-6Y75 processor, Intel HD 515 graphics and 8GB of memory. Well in plaudits to this,it exhausts the span of about 15 seconds for the Spectre x2 to boot into the desktop, if you draw this into comparison, you will see that it might take a faster machine around 10 to do the same role.

HP has a rating of 10 hours of battery life for the Spectre x2. I can only say this is what they said. I will not ditch the possibility of getting to 10 hours if you lower the brightness to a fairly dim setting and then use the machine at irregular intervals; that is not continuously. But from my personal experience, I never got near the achievement of that milestone. With an HD video looping and say the brightness adjusted to like 65 percent, the x2 could only give me six hours and 43 minutes.

Verdict

Spectrex2

Spectrex2

With this in mind, if we think between the battery life results and performance, I feel I am bold enough to say that there’s not much reason in this incidence to buy a device with Intel Core M, particularly if there are alternatives. You might say it makes for super slim designs, but then “Core i” processors would do the same.

Core-i chips as well would give you faster performance, and early reviews have dragged around the chances that battery life is longer too, if critically compared to last year’s Core CPUs. The only advantage I can lay my hands on here in favour of the Core M is that those models are slightly cheaper price than your typical Core i5 system.

But if you still nurse intentions of owning your next computer for several years, that additional $100 or so is adequately deserving of it. In this expanding universe of laptop/tablet hybrids,I can say the Spectre x2 isn’t a poor choice, most particularly at this price. But this doesn’t carry the implication that it’s the best either.

The x2 is not the fastest, I wouldn’t also say that the longest-lasting or the most comfortable to use in the lap. Also here is the forming reality that its screen is not the sharpest. But then its keyboard must gather the compliments for being good the easiest to type on of any click-in dock I have across, and the audio is surprisingly pretty commendable. In all, I would echo my sentiments that the Spectrex2 is not the buy neither is it the worst buy either!




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