HP Refreshes Spectre x360 and Other Premium Offerings

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 17 Comments

HP Refreshes Spectre x360 and Other Premium Offerings

Today, HP announced a major revamp of its innovative Spectre x360, plus new versions of its HP ENVY Laptop, ENVY All-in-One 27 and ENVY Display, the latter of which supports 4K resolutions. Together, the new devices represent a major new push for the holidays.

HP has been on fire since the release of the original Stream 11 and 13 laptops back in 2014. Since then, the firm has applied the same market-defining strategies to other parts of its lineup, including of course its premium and gaming PC offerings. And today, few PC makers—Lenovo and Apple, perhaps, but certainly not Microsoft or Dell—can compete effectively with HP in the premium PC space.

Indeed, the award-winning HP Spectre x360 is among the best-selling premium PC laptops ever made. As I wrote in early 2015, the Spectre x360 is what happens when a PC maker actually works hand-in-hand with Microsoft to design a complete solution. The result was a near-perfect transforming Ultrabook. Which HP, incidentally, only made better, first with a Limited Edition model that came clad in an “Ash Silver with Copper” color scheme. And then with a mid-stream replacement that offered Intel Skylake parts—with none of the reliability issues Surface users suffer from—and an optional OLED display. HP even shipped a 15-inch version of the device, which I described as a portable productivity monster.


Today, HP has announced an all-new Spectre x360 for late 2016 that provides an even thinner and lighter design, even better battery life, and a new micro-edge bezel around its 13.3-inch Full HD IPS screen that offers all of the benefits of the Dell XPS 13 with none of the downsides (like that terrible webcam placement). It offers quad Bang & Olufsen speakers with HP Audio Boost, two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt, one USB 3.0 port, a new dual-fan design, up to 1 TB of PCIe SSD storage, a Windows Hello-compatible camera, and HP Fast Charge technology.

I had a brief preview of this new Spectre a few months back, and I’m looking forward to reviewing it later this year: It looks like a winner.

But you don’t need to wait: The new Spectre x360 is available now from HP.com for prices starting at $1050. And a Best Buy exclusive model is available now for $1160.

In addition to the new Spectre x360, HP has also announced the following:


HP ENVY Laptop (2016). This new version of the ultra-thin HP ENVY laptop provides a 13.3-inch screen, up to 14 hours of battery life, an elevated hinge for a better typing experience, QHD+ and UHD screen choices, up to 16 GB of RAM, up too 1 TB of PCIe-based SSD, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, and HP Fast Charge. It will be available starting on October 26 from HP>com for $850 and up.


HP ENVY All-in-One 27 (2016). This edgy-looking new All In One PC features a 27-inch diagonal QHD display, a sound bar with Bang & Olufsen four speakers, a Windows Hello-compatible HP Privacy Camera with IR support, USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, HDMI out for a second display, HDMI in for connecting a laptop to the display, optional discrete NVIDIA GTX 950M graphics, and hybrid storage options up to a 256 GB SSD and a 2 TB HDD. Prices start at $1300, with availability sometime this month.


HP ENVY Display (2016). The new HP ENVY display offers 4K resolution, a 27-inch IPS panel, AMD FreeSync support, and Display Port, HDMI and USB-C connectivity. It will cost $500 when it starts shipping in December.


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  1. 4 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 3 months ago

    Your HP hardware pieces read dangerously like paid content sometimes. It's always interesting to me which manufacturers get folks excited, but I have to admit I'm surprised that you have such a soft spot for HP, Paul.


    So will all these systems get drivers/BIOS updates pushed through Windows Update? That to me is a major selling point, if so. I'm so used to HP (and others) bundling their crapware with their systems, and I know that partnership with Microsoft you mentioned involved pushing updates through WU instead of HP's proprietary stuff. They look nice, but that HP crapware, the experience of it always makes me want to walk away and not even look at what HP's offering.

    1. 1 | Reply
      Maciek Alpha Member #272 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator: Actually, I consider HP Assistant (or whatever it's called) as an example, how 'crapware' should work. Great app for maintaining your PC. Done, how it should be done.


    2. 0 | Reply
      Trapp Alpha Member #323 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      Clean install.  Problem solved :)

    3. 0 | Reply
      Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Trapp:

      Friends and family ask me to recommend computers. I don't want to be tech support for everyone. Of course, I do this on my own systems, but I'm not going to do it for everyone I know.

    4. 0 | Reply
      lvthunder Alpha Member #2039 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      HP has been making some great laptops lately.  This doesn't read like a paid piece at all.  Most of it is from the press release and since Paul doesn't have any personal expierence with the new machines that's what I would expect.  My boss has a Spectre and it's a really nice machine.  If the Surface Book wouldn't of come out I probably would of bought one.

    5. 0 | Reply
      Cristian Alpha Member #1164 - 3 months ago
      In reply to lvthunder:

      Have. The word you are looking for is have. Contracted as " 've ".


      It reads like a paid advertisement because, spec lists aside, there is nothing of substance in this article. Paul mentioned that he got a brief on the new Spectre some months ago. Not sure if it involved hands on time, since he doesn't even say that, but one would at least think he got more than specs.

      I've nothing against HP, but Paul has had a raging stiff for the company for a while now. That, coupled with the unfounded (and unexplained) hate for Dell, particularly the XPS, makes it impossible to trust what he says in these articles.

      Of late, they basically all just boil down to "HP good! Other OEM bad!" Tell us why, at least...




    6. 0 | Reply
      ChristopherCollins Alpha Member #2122 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator: 
      He is correct (in my opinion) about how the HP stuff is starting to sound like an advertisement.  HP has really limited the add ons (as others have stated).  Both HP & Dell have a driver utility I trust now, primarily because I am hoping it's only pulling down the drivers that have been tested not to drain the battery faster.
      I also don't get the angst for the XPS 13... It did Skylake right too and for that large chunk of us that never use the webcam, it is light, small, powerful, and fast.


  2. 1 | Reply
    Wizzwith Alpha Member #2111 - 3 months ago

    Man that new x360 looks like it could be the perfect small laptop.  Now if only it could get LTE and pen support, and wish they would move to 16:10 screens (or 3:2 with these 2 in 1's).  

    That monitor looks interesting too, great value there if it gets good color rendition.  Still not sure I'd want 4K in a 27 incher though, QHD seems ideal at that size.

    Paul, not sure why you are so down on Dell?  Their XPS line sure do seem top notch (aside from that silly web cam on the bottom thing).  And their monitors are class leading (at least for us imageing nerds).  

    1. 0 | Reply
      Chris_Kez Alpha Member #320 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Wizzwith:

      The 16:9 displays are a turn off.  I have the same problem with the various Lenovo convertibles.  Would it kill these guys to drop in a 16:10 panel?

    2. 0 | Reply
      ibmthink Alpha Member #963 - 3 months ago
      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      They would be more expensive. 16:9 displays are standard now, so you can just get stock displays. 16:10 displays aren´t mass manufactured these days.

  3. 0 | Reply
    edboyhan Alpha Member #492 - 3 months ago

    I'm writing this on the Spectre X360 I got at Build in 2015. It's one of my two daily driver laptops (the other is a Surface Book with all the trimmings).  I also have an HP Envy AIO that I partially paid for with the gift certificate they handed out at Build two years ago.  I really like my X360, but these new machines are producing some serious "Envy" (sic).

    I'd like to get both of these, but I'm also planning to get whatever MS announces in 2017.  My PC count has already got my siblings thinking I'm certifiable :-( (:grin).

    Do you know if the USB-C ports will charge the X360 battery?  Are there any thunderbolt drives (USB sticks, drives) out there?

    My birthday is less than a month away, and then there's Christmas . . .🎈

  4. 0 | Reply
    josephmwhite Alpha Member #1018 - 3 months ago

    For me, I want what this delivers, but with a 17" screen.  Thin, light but with a big visual.  Also, I'd really like a machine with a large SSD.  Don't know why you'd want a spinning platter at all, and cloud storage isn't the answer for everything.

  5. 0 | Reply
    awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 3 months ago

    My wife got last years Envy with SSD and Full HD screen 8GB Ram and Skylake i5.  15.6" screen. Its really slick.   I just want a 14" machine evny or spectre, either way.  I guess 13.3" is the all the rage, but to me 15.6" is to big.  I'm looking for a goldie locks box I guess.