CES 2016: HP Expands Spectre x360 Lineup

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 0 Comments

CES 2016: HP Expands Spectre x360 Lineup

The HP Spectre x360 was one of my top PC picks last year, and now it’s getting even better: HP has refreshed the transforming PC, offering, among other things, an optional OLED display. Even better, HP has also announced a 15.4-inch version of the Spectre x360.

I was briefed about these and other new new HP devices back in December, and in this case I actually had some hands-on time with the 15.4-inch Spectre x360 as well. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of the Spectre x360, and I’m really looking forward to this one. Anyway, HP is now showing off its new PCs publicly at CES in Las Vegas. So here’s a quick rundown of the Spectre x360 news.

Spectre x360

As you may recall, HP shipped the initial Spectre x360 in early 2015.In my review at the time, I described it as “a near-perfect transforming Ultrabook, blending premium materials and solid build quality with a far more thoughtful approach to the software preload than we typically see with Windows PCs.” Even better, you could/can get a perfectly capable model for less than $1000, far less than the cost of a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, another of my top picks from 2015.

In October, HP then announced a mid-stream update in the HP Spectre x360 Limited Edition. This version of the device offered the latest (Skylake) Intel chipsets as well as a stunning new “Ash Silver with Copper” color scheme that simply needs to be seen to be believed.

For 2016, HP is providing another mid-stream update to the x360. It, too, features Skylake chipsets, of course, and starting this spring you’ll be able to order one with an optional OLED display, which provides a a wider color gamut (103-percent color gamut vs. 72-percent) and supports optional Intel Iris graphics. You can also order up to 1 TB of SSD storage if you’d like. Also, Bang & Olufsen audio is now standard. (The original x360 shipped just before HP partnered with BO.)

No word on pricing yet, but I expect the range to start at the same place as today but extend (much) further up the pricing charts with OLED, Iris graphics and storage options thrown in.

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Spectre x360 (15.4-inch)

Back in September 2012, I purchased a 15.4-inch Samsung ultrabook from the Microsoft Store in Boston. (In fact, it was the first PC they sold on opening day.) Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of this form factor, though of course 15.4-inch ultrabooks are uncommon, and often very expensive. So when I found out a few months back that HP was plotting a 15.4-inch x360, I became excited by the possibilities.

Granted, an x360 is, by nature, a bit thicker and heavier than a true ultrabook thanks to its transforming form factor. But at 4.1 pounds, the 15.5-inch Spectre x360 isn’t too heavy, and HP seems to have gotten all the basics right, based on a pre-briefing and some short hands-on time.

The 15.4-inch version of the x360 is a bigger x360, of course, with the same basic form factor and, thankfully, no number pad keys taking up space. What you get from the bigger size is a bigger screen, of course, with an optional 4K (3820 x 2160) panel (1080p is standard), optional Intel Iris graphics, up to 16 GB of RAM, and an additional USB 3.0 port, plus USB-C. As with the 13.3-inch version, Bang & Olufsen audio is standard, and you can see the large speakers on either side of the keyboard.

Battery life is rated at 9.5 hours, though you can expect the 4K version to be less. The 15.4-inch Spectre x360 is shipping this month. And yes, I’m going to review the hell out of this thing.