HP Spectre x360 (2016) Updated with Active Pen Support and Optional 4K

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 11 Comments

HP Spectre x360 (2016) Updated with Active Pen Support and Optional 4K

HP’s nearly-perfect Spectre x360 (2016) is now available in new configurations that support an active pen and, optionally, a 4K/UHD display.

As you may recall, I described the 2016 version of the HP Spectre x360 as “a nearly-perfect convertible PC”, and a nice improvement over its predecessor, thanks to its thinner, smaller, and lighter form factor, excellent battery life, and more modern specs. “The 2016 HP Spectre x360 is a PC I would buy with my own money, as I did with the previous-generation version,” I wrote in December. “It is therefore highly recommended.”

However, the original shipping versions of the 2016 Spectre x360 was missing a few features enjoyed by owners of the previous generation versions. It didn’t support an active pen, which could be useful for those wishing to use the device in tablet mode. And it lacked higher resolution screen options, like Quad HD and 4K/UHD.

I knew both would become available sometime in 2017, but that time has arrived more quickly than expected.

As you may know, HP laptops are available from a variety of retailers, but the two best sources are HP directly, from its website, and Best Buy. In fact, HP often makes specific models—and in some cases, even specific products—available specifically for Best Buy. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the short version is that Best Buy doesn’t offer customizable PC builds, but rather specific configurations. So HP works to optimize those configurations for the retailer.

In any event, there are now three new HP Spectre x360 (2016) models available at Best Buy. They are:

HP – Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 8GB Memory – 256GB Solid State Drive – Natural silver $1200

HP – Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – 512GB Solid State Drive – Natural silver $1600

HP – Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3″ 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – 512GB Solid State Drive – Dark ash silver $1500

It is perhaps curious that the 4K/UHD version of this device—which provides a 3840 x 2160 display and a nicer dark ash silver coloring—is $100 less expensive than the otherwise comparable version with a Full HD (1920 x 1080) display. The latter, certainly, will deliver better battery life.

All three models include HP’s active pen.


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Comments (11)

11 responses to “HP Spectre x360 (2016) Updated with Active Pen Support and Optional 4K”

  1. 430

    Every time they update this series, I go through the same cycle of tech lust (OMG, must have the shiny) -> justification/rationalization (You haven't had a new PC in xxx years. You could use it for work and/or travel.) -> financial wrangling (What if you bought and paid off over 6 months?) -> common sense smackdown (You have a recent enough gaming rig and a workstation class laptop for work already) -> reluctant acceptance (I hate you, common sense...)

    Man, are these beautiful, though...

  2. 227

    It would be even better if it had built-in LTE support. That may tip me towards the Lenovo X1 Carbon.

  3. 1599

    Having bought the 2016 version in December I was a little disappointed to see that there is now a model with pen support…but then saw the price. I paid $1300* for the 16GB/512GB configuration and it costs $300 extra to get the same thing with pen support added? I know I wouldn’t use it enough to justify paying that much more. Maybe it is a mistake.

    Overall I’ve been very pleased with it. My wife now needs a laptop on some trips so she has my Yoga 2 Pro. The x360 small enough that I can fit both in my bag and light enough that I don’t notice the extra weight.

    Although the screen is a lower resolution it looks great and I don’t think I’d want to switch to the 4K screen at the cost of battery life, which has been decent. Typing on the keyboard has been fine and I like that it has keys that would be Fn combinations on some other laptops, like the XPS 13. Just wish the up and down cursor keys were bigger.

    I have had a couple of small issues though. First, the battery drains when it is turned off. Turning off the USB charging setting in the BIOS helped a little. There is a patch on the HP message boards but I haven’t tried it yet. The default trackpad setting was tap with 2 fingers to right click which was a little confusing. Sometimes the camera doesn’t turn on so that impressive instant log in is replaced with a pause, then clicking on the PIN option and typing the PIN. The anniversary update hasn’t been pushed to it yet. Yes, I know I could install it now if I really wanted to. It’s strange that this is still the case, as noted in the review back in December.

     * 2 weeks later Best Buy had a sale, $150 off. Only took a few minutes with customer service to get the money refunded as it was within the return period. The original price was good, the sale price is a bargain.

    • 709

      In reply to sully5059:

      I just bought one late January and it came with Windows 10 1607 pre installed, so they should be good now to be updated through the normal channels

  4. 1996

    The 4K version is $100 cheaper than the 1080p version with same CPU, GPU, RAM, and SSD.  What am I missing?

    • 2181

      In reply to ZeroPageX:

      The CPU is too weak to play 4k smoothly, especially on streaming, and 4k screen consume more power, which shorten the already weak 4-5 hours real life usage. 

  5. 3494

    I have the original 2015 version and like it a lot. I think my battery life has decreased somewhat. Too bad though it runs Windows :-).

  6. 5038

    Now if only they'd put in a 16:10 screen (or 3:2 if possible) and get rid of some of that ridiculously huge bottom bezel.  

  7. JJanner

    I ordered this model (with digitizer) with the 13 inch UHD display and Dark Ash Silver on February 17th from HP Store online. I've been using Spectre x360 13 inch since 2015; currently using the October 2016 Kaby Lake version (that was without digitizer and had FHD display and good old Silver). At the time of my order a ship date of March 7th was indicated. On March 8th I received an e-mail from HP Store advising that "Due to extremely high demand, we have experienced a delay in the production process and now expect to complete your order on or before a revised ship date of 4/23/2017". The e-mail had various references to the holidays and was clearly a pre-Christmas template. Last time I checked Christmas was two months ago.

    A seven week slip? Did a vendor shut down? Who declared force majeure? A few online chats with HP and no further light was shed on the delay, which is a total of two and a half months from order (and payment) date. I want this config, so I'll wait.

    update: HP Store shows my config, except for UHD, with a ten day ship delay. The UHD option is not listed. So I'm guessing either UHD supplier problems or (ugh) design/reliability/manufacturing problems with the UHD. We will see if they honor the new 4-23-2017 ship date.