Review: HP is much right with the Specter x360 13t, except for one BIG thing

HP Specter x360 13t

Windows Central Recommended AwardWindows Central Recommended Award

HP has been doing its best for several years to conquer the premium consumer Ultrabook market with its Specter series. It's working. The Specters continuously show what good design technology can mean for a company.

The 13-inch Specter x360 is the most famous (and popular) Specter series and the latest version reveals many good things. However, HP still has a few small areas where it can improve.

A beautiful gem

HP Specter x360 13t

Starting at $ 1,049

Bottom line: The latest HP Specter x360 13t is the sharpest looking laptop from HP to date, with excellent build quality, desired ports, functions and an extraordinary battery life. It is perhaps the best featured 13-inch 2-in-1 on the market, but its poor trackpad makes us sad. Very sad.


  • Handsome, elegantly cut design.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Pen included.
  • Great price.


  • Terrible plane drivers.
  • Thick top and bottom bezels.
  • No place to store the pen.

Like a jewel

What is new ones in the HP Specter x360 13t?

The all-new "gem-cut" design of the HP Specter x360 13t brings sharp, angular edges to the metal chassis. The design is a sharp deviation from the more rounded hinge area of ​​the last model (see my review). It is especially visible at the rear where the corners have been cut off in favor of hard corners. That design is not only for flare, but also for the Type-C port (right side) and the on / off button (left side). A type C peripheral or charging cable now removes the laptop without holding your mouse in hand, and that on / off button is much harder to accidentally hit tablet mode. It is smart engineering that also catches the eye.

Other new functions include:

  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7 "Whiskey Lake."
  • Longer battery life.
  • 4G LTE (optional).
  • Gigabit Wi-Fi.
  • Webcam privacy killswitch.
  • Thermal control app.
  • Fingerprint reader on deck.

New & # 39; gem-cut & # 39; design provides sharper edges on the chassis.

HP claims that the edges of the double chamfer also make the lid easier to lift, no matter which side you open it on. The design detail even filters to the speaker holes that HP claims to have been drilled in a specific pattern that is intended to provide & # 39; acoustic transparency & # 39; to stimulate. This generation also includes a stylish new color, called "Poseidon blue", with copper accents, which contribute to the dark ash silver that was available on earlier models.

This new Specter is slightly thicker (14.5 mm compared to last year at 13.6 mm) and heavier (2.9 lbs versus 2.85 lbs), but the difference is barely noticeable, and it ensures that HP has a get better thermal dissipation, more performance and a longer battery life.

HP Specter x360 13t technical specifications

Category spec
processor 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U
8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U
RAM 8 GB, 16 GB
storage area PCIe NVMe SSD
256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Screen size 13.3 inches
to touch
Screen resolution 1920 x 1080
1920 x 1080 w / Sure View Privacy Screen
4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
Pen Yes (N-trig)
chart Intel UHD Graphics 620
ports Two Thunderbolt 3
Two USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2
USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 2
Micro SD card
3.5 mm headphone connection
Wireless connection Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11b / g / n / ac Gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 Combo
Optional 4G LTE
biometrics IR camera for Windows Hello
Safety Fingerprint reader
Privacy camera kill switch
Battery Up to 22.5 hours
Dimensions 12.16 in x 8.58 in x 0.57 in
Weight 2.92 lbs

HP has also updated the processor to the latest Intel 8th Generation 15-watt Core i7 processor, offers optional 4G LTE support, Gigabit Wi-Fi and the company has moved the fingerprint reader from the side to the upper deck.

The edges of the screen are now 5.7 percent thinner than the previous model (although they are still quite large at the top and bottom).

All these changes count together to make this Specter x360 an ambitious refreshment for the premium Ultrabook line from HP.

get the basics right

HP Specter x360 13t screen, keyboard and audio

The 13.3-inch Full HD screen of the Specter x360 13t is one of the better ones that we have tested. With approximately 320 nits of brightness and 98 percent, sRGB color accuracy, the tones and balance look great. Like other HP models, there are options for a 4K panel – which looks great to many people – and HP & # 39; s new privacy screen Sure View.

About those thick top and bottom bezels … HP insists on placing the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas on top for the best reception, but as a result the edges are extraordinarily large for a premium Ultrabook in 2019.

The included pen for inking is based on N-trig (versus Wacom) and works quite well for casual use. However, there is no storage or magnets for the pen, making traveling with it a bit tricky.

HP still makes some of the best and "most crispiest" keyboards on the market for Ultrabooks. With large chicklet-like keys with pleasant spacing, the keyboard of the Specter x360 has sufficient freedom of movement. The keyboard is also edge-to-edge with a special home row on the right. This keyboard is perhaps one of the best in the area, but is only slightly defeated by the softer, plusher Surface Laptop 2.

Audio is excellent. HP has recently started using an array of four speakers in its premium business (EliteBook) and consumer (Specter) series laptops, with great success. The software is tuned by Bang & Olufsen as it has been for years. Two of the speakers are placed behind the keyboard near the screen with two more under the front of the laptop, near the edge. Such placement ensures that the sound bounces off the screen and back to the user, producing a clear sound. But it can be improved with more bass and resonance. The two speakers at the top and two at the bottom ensure that you have a better chance of consistent sound when used as a tablet or in tent mode.

HP Specter x360 13t audio is excellent.

On the trackpad things go wrong for the Specter x360 13t. The hardware and design with the golden finish are excellent. Smooth glass, large elongated design and a satisfying click all work in favor of the 13t. But it is betrayed by the messy Synaptics software drivers that feed it. The ongoing omission of Microsoft Precision drivers is a smear that HP needs to remedy. Scrolling can be janky and pinch to zoom wildly inconsistently, and such flagrant inattention in 2019 ruins almost the entire Specter x360 13t experience.

powerhouse Ultrabook

HP Specter x360 13t performance

HP Specter x360 13t

HP Specter x360 13t

The Specter x360 13t uses a well-known Intel Core i7 8565U processor, but it can also be configured with an Intel i5-8265U. Both are the newest from Intel, are quad-core, and 15-watt regular Ultrabook processors.

In the past HP has taken care of the defenses for less than stellar thermal management, but most of this is covered with this version. Heat and fan noise are partially reduced due to the use of smaller double fans instead of one larger single fan. For the first time, HP also uses thermal management software, HP Command Center. With the simple app you can switch between different energy modes, which then influence the amount of heat dissipation and the noise level of the fan. It is good software and something that the company must transfer to its EliteBook range with business ethics.

There is no special GPU in such a thin device, but the Intel UHD 620 gets the job done.

The performance is in line with comparable laptops, although Huawei nowadays pushes its processors harder than HP, which results in slightly better benchmarks.


Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (higher is better)

Device Processor Single core Multi core
HP Specter x360 13t Core i7-8565U 5056 14,767
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new) Core i7-8565U 5192 16,757
Huawei MateBook 13 Core i7-8565U 5336 17,062
Surface Laptop 2 Core i5-8250U 4203 13,233
Surface Laptop Core i7-7660U 4714 9535
LG gram 14 2-in-1 Core i7-8565U 4829 13,889
LG gram 17 Core i7-8565U 5161 13,370
Lenovo Yoga C930 Core i7-8550U 4787 15,028
Dell XPS 13 (9370) Core i7-8550U 4681 14,816
Lenovo Yoga C630 (ARM) SD850 2287 7215


Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (higher is better)

Device GPU Calculate score
HP Specter x360 13t UHD 620 37,487
Huawei MateBook X Pro MX250 45,365
Huawei MateBook 13 MX150 48,430
Surface Laptop 2 UHD 620 35,473
Surface Laptop Iris 640 31,010
Samsung Notebook 9 15 MX150 48,536


CrystalDiskMark (higher is better)

Device Read Write
HP Specter x360 13t 3,085 MB / s 1,182 MB / s
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new) 3,416 MB / s 2,779 MB / s
Huawei MateBook 13 3,436 MB / s 2,553 MB / s
LG gram 14 2-in-1 558.1 MB / s 523.1 MB / s
Lenovo Yoga C930 2,596 MB / s 806 MB / s
Lenovo Yoga 730 13 2,790 MB / s 506 MB / s
Lenovo IdeaPad 730S 3,450 MB / s 1,463 MB / s
Lenovo Yoga C630 791 MB / s 220 MB / s
ASUS ZenBook S 550 MB / s 512 MB / s
ASUS ZenBook 15 1,725 ​​MB / s 1,447 MB ​​/ s

HP uses a newer Western Digital SSD with good results. Our model has a 256 GB drive with excellent speeds.

Nary a mistake

HP Specter x360 is 13t (almost) perfect

You could say that HP has designed almost its new range of Specter laptops too much. The designs are unique, but also pragmatic and functional. The attention to detail for the buttons and the design deserves praise.

One of the most elegant 2-in-1 PCs in this price range.

New functions such as the privacy kill switch for the web camera are welcome. Stick to Windows Hello for face recognition and A fingerprint reader is a good choice. The performance and overall feel of the laptop are among the best we have tested.

The battery life is rated at a crazy 22 hours by HP, but the practical experience is more than ten hours or more, which is still excellent. Port selection, functions and audio are also all well above average.

Even the starting price of $ 1,050 for a Core i5 configuration with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage is good enough for most ordinary consumers. For that price they will be treated on one of the most elegant 2-in-1 PCs available.

HP even lets users configure a model with 4G LTE. In combination with the slim, light body and all-day battery life, that is a winning combination.

But part of it is betrayed by HP's insistence on using Synaptics drivers for the trackpad and the rather large top and bottom images. While you simply navigate through Windows and use apps such as Office, you feel good on the trackpad, you can use apps such as Twitter, GroupMe or the Edge browser to scroll while pinch-to-zoom. There is no excuse for it, because these Synaptics drivers do not offer any benefit to the consumer compared to Precision drivers. HP is one of the last PC manufacturers to adhere to Synaptics and it is unacceptable in 2019.

from 5

That imperfection is unfortunate because HP makes excellent hardware, only to trip on such a simple detail such as the trackpad. Although I believe that many users can live with the Specter Trackpad, that is the only thing that keeps me from using one of these PCs as my daily laptop.

So showy

HP Specter x360 13t (end of 2018)

Both bling and real value

The all-new Specter x360 13t demonstrates that HP can create amazing hardware and design. Good performance, excellent functions, elegant aesthetics and a great price make this one of the best values ​​there are. Too bad about that trackpad.

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