HP Announces New Spectre 13, Spectre x360

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 23 Comments

Today, HP announced major updates to two of its most stunning premium PCs, the Spectre 13 and the Spectre x360.

“HP is delivering the world’s thinnest touch laptops, while setting new industry standards for battery life, security and design,” HP vice president and general manager Kevin Frost says. “Our Spectre portfolio is redefining the premium PC segment, providing unique user experiences that will inspire creativity and unlock limitless opportunities to bring incredible ideas to life.”

I’ve reviewed each generation of these PCs over the past few years and credit HP generally, and the Spectre premium PC lineup more specifically, for pushing beautiful and innovative designs to the forefront of the otherwise slumbering PC market. These are truly impressive devices, and the new versions both mark an important step forward.

HP announced its first-generation Spectre 13 notebook in April 2016, describing it as the world’s thinnest notebook. And as I noted when it became available a few months later, the device was a stunner, with a polarizing dark gray and color design.

For 2017, HP has made some important—and impressive—changes to this device.

Internally, the new HP Spectre 13 of course provides the latest technology: 8th generation quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM (up from 8), and up to 1 TB of fast PCIe-based SSD storage. Battery life has improved, too, up to a rated 11.5 hours (up from 10), and thanks to fast-charging technology, you can get a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

But the most important changes are on the outside.

The new HP Spectre 13 shares the same basic design as its predecessor, but the shiny copper bits are more muted than glossy, and less prone to capturing fingerprints. Even better, the device is available in a gorgeous ceramic white with pale gold accents for those who want even more exclusivity. You need to see this color scheme in person to understand how well it works, and the matching white power supply is a nice touch too.

Even better still, the new HP Spectre 13 is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, thanks to a new near-edgeless display bezel and a larger, edge-to-edge keyboard with perfect 1.3 mm key travel. That display is now touch-enabled, where last year’s was not, and it can be had in Full HD or 4K/UHD variants (where the latter drops the battery life to a rated 7.9 hours.) There is now a Windows Hello-capable webcam. And the trackpad, a bit small on the previous unit, is now 15 percent wider too.

Thanks to the new design, the speakers have moved from the sides of the keyboard to the top, and they’ve improved: They’re 50 percent louder than before, answering a rare customer complaint about the previous Spectre, and have been tuned for maximum performance. Also improved is the wireless performance, thanks to a new antenna design.

Expansion is as forwarding-leaning as ever. There are three USB-C ports on the back of the Spectre 13, and two are Thunderbolt 3 capable.

As for the 13-inch Spectre x360, this device is now hitting its third generation design. This product has long been one of my favorites, and my son still uses the first-gen Spectre x360 at school, while I’ve moved back and forth between [the 4K version of the previous-gen Spectre x360](Spectre x360) and its 15-inch cousin.

For 2017, HP now has a new claim for the Spectre x360: It provides the best battery life of any quad-core convertible PC. It looks a lot like its predecessor, and it still comes in both silver and ash gray and copper styles. But the design now is more angular, and more modern. And while I wasn’t sold on it when I previewed the device virtually, seeing it person made all the difference in the world. This is a gorgeous update.

As you should expect, the internals are all improved: We get 8th generation quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and up to 1 TB of PCIe-based SSD storage, plus battery life of up to 16.5 hours.

Externally, the new HP Spectre x360 is smaller, lighter, and thinner than its predecessor, which is quite an achievement if you’re familiar with that device. It’s down to 2.78 pounds (from 2.85), thanks to further downsizing and even thinner display bezels.

From an expansion perspective, HP has always done the right thing with the x360, and this year’s model includes a full-sized USB 3.1 port and two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3. But this year’s model picks up a microSD card slot too.

Pricing on both devices is, well, premium. The HP Spectre 13 starts at $1299.99 for a model with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, and Full HD touch. But it can cost as much as $1399.99 for a more fully-specced version.

The HP Spectre x360 starts at $1149.99—Core i5, 8 GB, 256 GB, Full HD touch—and rises all the way up to $1599.99.

Both look amazing. And yes, I intend to review them as soon as possible.


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Comments (24)

24 responses to “HP Announces New Spectre 13, Spectre x360”

  1. Bart

    Still have a Surface Pro 3 (64GB) at the moment, but thinking of replacing it. Though I always thought of buying a new Surface Pro, this new X360 is a serious contender. Amazing hardware

  2. prjman

    I have 'last' year's model of the x360. Honestly, it's the best laptop I've ever owned. Great battery life, awesome keyboard and trackpad, Full HD screen, which is fine for me, and the screen flip let's me use it as a tablet or notepad in the rare instance I need it in that configuration. I would very much buy this machine again, and it was a hefty savings over the equivalent Surface.

  3. dstrauss

    I wanted to address that Value Proposition in detail:

    $1630 for the x360 13 I've ordered with i7-8550U, 4k display, 16gb RAM, 1tb SSD, Win10 Pro, pen (it box).

    $2798 for the same configuration Surface Laptop with the 7th generation processor (added $99 for the pen)

    $2957 for the same configuration Surface Pro with the 7th generation processor (added pen and Type Cover)

    For the life of me I cannot see a $1168/$1327 difference (not to mention I get TWO Thunderbolt 3 ports)

  4. dstrauss

    Paul - I hope you'll have a review of the x360 in the near future, because of the value this provides relative to the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro.

    $1630 for the x360 13 I've ordered with i7-8550U, 4k display, 16gb RAM, 1tb SSD, Windows 10 Pro, pen (it comes in the box).

    $2798 for the same configuration Surface Laptop with the 7th generation processor (I included $99 for the pen)

    $2957 for the same configuration Surface Pro with the 7th generation processor (I included pen and Type Cover)

    For the life of me I cannot see a $1168/$1327 difference (not to mention I get TWO Thunderbolt 3 ports)

  5. Marciano Siniscalchi

    Paul, do you know if the Spectre is (finally!) equipped with a Precision trackpad?

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  7. edboyhan

    As I said when showing you my damaged Surface Book at Ignite, I was seriously considering getting the Spectre X360 as a replacement. However, when I went to the HP site, they only had the 15" model with 8th gen processors. Now with this upgrade the 13" models are available.

    Of course now that MS has agreed to replace the Surface Book (it's waiting for me in Orlando at the Florida Mall -- I'll pick it up tomorrow), the exigent need for a replacement is no longer there. I guess I'll wait a bit into 2018 to see what a Surface Book 2 might look like (and reviews of the new Spectre X360 should be plentiful) to decide on a next gen daily driver.

  8. MarkEissler

    Funny thing is that the just-released Spectre x360 15 quad core is now behind the 13 since the former only received a CPU + GPU refresh but nothing else. The 13 is a new design all together with improved cooling and a fingerprint sensor. Plus, the 13 now comes with a rechargeable pen with eraser and tilt sensitivity. I was keen on the updated 15 until today. It's somewhat baffling that the 15" wasn't refreshed in the same way (better cooling, better pen)--I'm assuming we'd now have to wait for 6-8 months to see these updates trickle down to the 15...maybe at that point they could ditch the HDMI port, enable dual 4-PCI lane TB3s and add the fingerprint sensor where the HDMI was.

  9. Wizzwith

    Dear HP, please start using 16:10 or 3:2 screens; all that bottom bezel is wasted space that could be usable screen real estate!  Other than that these look like the perfect ultra book / convertibles out there. 

  10. RossNWirth

    I've got an original Spectre 13 (i7) available if anyone's interested - moved to a Huawei Matebook x a few months back...

  11. wright_is

    The price difference between i5/8GB/256GB SSD and Full HD @ $1149.99 to the i7/16GB/1TB SSD and 4K makes the top model @ $1599.99 sound very reasonable.

    I'm still happy with my first generation x360 with UHD display.

  12. jwpear

    Bravo HP! Beautiful hardware!  I was not considering a purchase, but that Spectre 13 looks to be something I need to see in a store.

  13. Panagiotis K. Tsioufis

    They both look gorgeous. Do you know if the Trackpad is finally Microsoft Precision? Also, I would be interested to read on your review how well the x360 handles heat.

  14. SDreamer

    Wish companies would follow Apple suit and just keep the same overall the design and increment on it, like HP just did here. Hoping they keep it, it's a very lovely design language that can be a signature of HP. This one this year really looks awesome I think. Almost makes me regret getting a Mac. Would have been nice to see just how thing it looks, because that one angle the thing looks almost like "10 piece of paper stacked" thick.

  15. RickEveleigh

    Looks like I've found my next laptop (due a new one in January). Just need to decide laptop or x360.

  16. MikeGalos

    And that is how you do a premium laptop line...

    Not just beautiful and thin but with features and options and partners and ports that allow it to be used rather than just be tech jewelry.

  17. ecumenical

    "The HP Spectre x360 starts at $1149.99—Core i5, 8 GB, 256 GB, Full HD touch—and rises all the way up to $1599.99."

    Wait, are you saying it's only $1599 for the 16GB/1TB config? If so that would be incredible pricing compared to competitors. Lenovo X1 Yoga would be well north of $2000 with the 1TB option. Let's not even talk about Surface Book.

    • Wizzwith

      In reply to ecumenical:

      No kidding, that is great pricing.  With the i5/i7 parts being quad core now it's really tempting. Also bravo to HP for starting with i5/8gb/256gb - no premium PC should start with less (looking at you MS with your 4gb Surface devices!). 

  18. Polycrastinator

    With Windows Hello finally on the Spectre 13, it seems like that's the laptop to beat if you want an actual laptop form factor PC now. I'd wondered why it was taking them so long to refresh the design, glad to see they've finally done so. Absolutely beautiful devices in both cases.

  19. Bilal Nabi

    I've ordered the i7-8th gen, 16 gb, 512ssd, 4k display, pen included. But after learning more about the x360 I found out that the predecessor with 4k display had horrible battery life (6-8hrs). According to HP, the new model is supposed to have up-to 16hrs but i doubt it.

    I mean as long as its gives between 10-12hrs I'm perfectly fine. Now i am confused whether i should exchange for the fhd model? Like i said anything between 10-12hrs -16 hrs would be great! (btw i just surf the web 7-10 tabs, Netflix, bunch of documents, YouTube and little editing.)

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