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HP Spectre x360 14 review

This HP 2-in-1 packs beauty and brawn into a svelte package well-suited for work and play

HP Spectre x360 14 review
(Image: © HP)

Our Verdict

This 2-in-1 laptop combines beauty, brawn, and brains to create the ultimate entertainment center and workhorse.

For

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Stellar display
  • Intuitive touchscreen and pen controls
  • Ultra portable

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Limited port connectivity on lower-priced models
  • No 10-key option
  • Pen input finicky for left-handed users
HP Spectre x360 14: Specs

Price: $1,669 as reviewed
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1280 FHD (as tested) or 3000 x 2000 OLED touchscreen
Battery: 12:11 (tested)
Memory: 8GB
Storage: 256GB to 512GB SSD
Dimensions: 11.75 x 8.67 x 0.67 inches
Weight: 2.95 pounds

The HP Spectre x360 14 is a powerhouse of a convertible laptop, featuring top-tier hardware that provides excellent performance for both work and play. Available in three colors (silver, black, and navy blue) and sporting an ultra-thin profile of just .67 inches, the HP Spectre x360 brings a touch of sophisticated style that perfectly complements its internal components. Whether your office is wherever you happen to be that day, or you're looking to upgrade your home laptop, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option.  

Buyers be warned though, this 2-in-1 laptop comes at a steep price. The entry-level models start at $1,369 (though HP is discounting that to $1,249 at time of publication), meaning many customers will be left searching for more affordable options. However, if you're willing to spend a bit more to get a quality laptop that will serve you well for years to come, or just want to be able to buy the best of the best no matter the cost, the HP Spectre x360 14 is an excellent option. 

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Pricing and availability

As mentioned earlier, this laptop's impressive power and gorgeous design comes at a high price. With a starting price of $1,369 it's comparable to laptops like the Core i7 Dell XPS 13 ($1,259) and the MacBook Pro 13 ($1,299). You can pick one up through the official HP store, the Intel website, or you can try your luck at major retailers if you're hoping to get lucky with a good deal or sale price. 

I tested the $1,669.99 version loaded up with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.8GHz quad core CPU (that can be overclocked to 4.7GHz), 512GB solid state drive, 16GB RAM, integrated Intel Xe Graphics, and 14-inch FHD touchscreen display. 

It comes packaged with a rechargeable MPP2.0 Tilt Pen, which is perfect for digital artists or anyone who prefers to take handwritten notes during class or meetings, as well as a faux leather protective sleeve to prevent damage while it's packed away in your backpack, tote bag, or carry-on luggage. I suggest springing for the 1TB SSD and 2K OLED screen options to ensure that you have plenty of space for projects and optimal color ranges if you work with photography, video, or graphics.  

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Design

The chassis for the HP Spectre x360 14 is made of machined aluminum and is available in three colors. The Poseidon Navy model I was able to test looks stunning, and was the envy of the household.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The 180-degree hinges feel sturdy and solid while folding the laptop into tablet mode or back into traditional laptop mode; there is virtually zero side-to-side play, which is great for long-term durability.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The laptop weighs just under 3 pounds, and manages to pack a 14-inch screen into an 11-inch housing; measuring just 0.67 inches thin, this laptop easily slips into almost any bag for commutes, business travel, or heading to the library to finish a term paper.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The included protective sleeve is made of sleek, black faux leather with plenty of cushioning to protect your hefty investment from flexing, scratches, and minor bumps and knocks.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The included rechargeable MPP2.0 Tilt Pen looks and feels like a high-quality traditional ink pen, and the input buttons are perfectly placed for use in either the left or right hand; the pen comes with two additional nibs for quick and easy replacement if one becomes damaged or worn.

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Ports

The model I tested featured a single USB-C port for both connectivity and charging, a USB Type-A port, headphone/microphone jack, microSD card reader, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless peripheral and device connections. I recommend buying the next configuration up to get a second USB-C input if you want to connect a second monitor or quickly transfer files to an external memory storage device. The limited input ports may not be a nuisance for most users, but if you have multiple storage devices like flash drives or external hard drives, or want to connect peripherals like mice, it can be frustrating to constantly plug in and remove devices.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Even the Bluetooth 5.0 connection only allows for setting up 2 simultaneous devices; bad news for anyone who has invested in multiple wireless peripherals like headsets and mice, or needs to connect multiple mobile devices to their laptop. 

However, with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, you can take advantage of next-gen wireless internet speeds in order to transfer files to and from cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive, making external physical storage a moot point. It's also perfect for anyone who has frequent video calls and virtual meetings and needs a fast, reliable connection.

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Display

You can choose between a 1920 x 1280 FHD or a 3000 x 2000 OLED touchscreen for your new Spectre x360 14. For most applications at work or at home, the full HD screen will be just fine. HP claims it can deliver up to 1000 nits of brightness, depending on your customization options, meaning that you'll be able to watch videos or drop into virtual meetings and visual calls in almost any lighting environment. It also has incredibly wide viewing angles.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The screen gets bright enough for most settings, and in our testing we recorded an average brightness of 365 nits across the whole display. That's as good as Apple's latest MacBook Air (365 nits) but a bit short of competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (469 nits). The colors look great, too; in our testing the HP Spectre x360 14 with a 1920 x 1080 FHD display covered 105.3% of the sRGB color spectrum, beating out the XPS 13 (97.9%) but falling behind the MacBook Air (114%).  

I tested our review unit with YouTube and Hulu in both tablet and laptop mode, and even at extreme side angles, colors remained vivid and true-to-life. If you're a digital artist or work in video production, you may want to spring for the OLED touchscreen for more consistent brightness and enhanced color and detailing. 

Both options are made with Gorilla Glass for durability when using touch controls either with your hands or the Tilt Pen. The glass feels smooth and sturdy, with very little flex, so you won't have to worry about damaging your screen when you swipe, write, or tap away at your programs and files.

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Keyboard and Tilt Pen

The chiclet-style keyboard has an ultra-low profile that feels great to type on, though if you're used to mechanical or optical switch keyboards, it may feel a bit "mushy" and takes some getting used to. It has two levels of backlighting to make it easy to type in almost any setting, and you can turn off the backlight completely for bright rooms or when it would be a distraction, like in a meeting. 

Both the display and trackpad allow for intuitive gesture controls; you can pinch to zoom, swipe, and tap the screen, and the trackpad allows for pinch zoom and quick scrolling. Taking notes with the Tilt Pen feels almost identical to writing with traditional pen and paper, and the program that parses handwriting into digitized text is great at picking out words and letters even if you're like me and have horrible penmanship. 

If you're left-handed, you may want to use sticky keys to lock the Windows Start button and taskbar so you don't accidentally close out of your document or art program in the middle of a project. While a minor annoyance, it doesn't detract from the ease of use offered by the Tilt Pen for when you want to make comments on a report or PowerPoint, write yourself a to-do list, or knock out some preliminary sketches for clients. The pen has two input buttons that can act as right and left click would on a mouse or they can be customized to suit whichever program you're working in for personalized shortcuts; this is great for quickly switching brushes in Photoshop or effects in Lightroom.

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Audio

HP partnered with Bang & Olufsen to pack some high-quality audio into this slim little laptop. The four-speaker array located above the keyboard delivers clean, clear sound in both laptop and tablet mode. 

While many laptop speakers can sound "tinny" or have a "buzz" at high volumes, the Bang & Olufsen speakers sound amazing even at full volume. Everything from dialogue in movies and shows to industrial noise rock and techno comes through crisp and clear. I put on some podcasts and personal playlists while doing chores around the house and was able to hear everything clearly even in other rooms across the house. 

The HP Audio Boost software included with the laptop allows you to create custom audio mixers to suit your tastes in music and switch between several presets quickly and easily when you're in the mood for something different.  

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Performance

The Intel Core i7 CPU in our review unit can handle just about anything you can throw at it, from typical work programs like Google Docs, PowerPoint, and Chrome to streaming movies, music, and even casual gaming.

HP Spectre x360 14 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While I wouldn't classify the Spectre x360 14 as a gaming laptop, you shouldn't have any issues playing games like Minecraft, Among Us, or Fortnite for a few hours with friends. More graphically-demanding games like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will definitely push the laptop to its limits, so maybe keep that to your desktop or console. 

In terms of raw numbers, the HP Spectre x360 14 review unit we tested put up a respectable average score of 4,937 in our Geekbench 5 general performance test, beating the similarly-priced Asus ZenBook Flip S UX371 (3,880) but falling behind competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (5,254).

The SSD is speedy enough, as evidenced by the fact that in our file transfer test (which measures how fast a laptop clones 25GB of files) the Spectre x360 14 moved files at a decent clip of 764MBps. That's decent, but behind competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (806MBps) and the ZenBook Duo 14 (921 MBps).

If you're looking to edit video on the go, know that our Spectre x360 14 review unit performed decently in our Handbrake video editing test, converting a 4K video to 1080p in just over 17 minutes. That's better than the 18 minutes it took our Dell XPS 13 review unit to complete the same task, but far slower than the 7:44 it took the MacBook Air to get it done.

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Battery life

This laptop sports an updated 4-cell lithium-ion battery that HP rates at 21.5 hours running video playback; our web surfing tests put the battery life just north of 12 hours, which is more realistic for a typical work day. That's better than the Dell XPS 13 (11:7 as tested) and nearly as good as the Lenovo Yoga 9i (11:15 as tested). More importantly, it means you can go all day, or several days, before you need to even think about plugging in. 

When you do need to top up your battery, the USB-C port supports rapid charging, giving you up to 50 percent battery in just 45 minutes, so you can recharge over your lunch break or while you're in a meeting.  

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Security

The model I tested had what I consider to be baseline options for security in work and home laptops. It had a physical camera shutter and dedicated mute button for the integrated microphone, which is helpful for both virtual meetings and making sure no one peeks into your office or listens in on your calls without you knowing. 

If you deal with sensitive information or creative projects, the integrated fingerprint reader creates a password-free log-in shortcut for important programs, files, and accounts to prevent theft and unauthorized access. The integrated webcam has infrared capabilities and works with Windows Hello to allow facial recognition for another layer of protection.  

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Cooling

Since this is a slim 2-in-1 laptop, there isn't much room for air or liquid cooling to keep the machine running at optimal temperatures. However, the built-in fans do a decent job of drawing waste heat away from vital components like your CPU and forcing it out of the vents in the bottom of the laptop. 

During typical office work, the laptop doesn't ever get too warm to the touch, and the fans stay fairly quiet, which is great for anyone who works in an open-concept office or shares workspace with others. The HP Command Center app allows you to choose from four fan operation presets or manually control the cooling fan to suit your work. You can also use this app to monitor your fan speed and CPU temperature to catch problems before they escalate.  

HP Spectre x360 14 review: Verdict

The HP Spectre x360 14 is a great long-term investment for anyone looking to upgrade their mobile workstation. You can customize the laptop's configuration on the HP official store site for the optimum balance between power, performance, and design. 

Of course, if you're not tied to Windows, the Apple MacBook Air with M1 will give you better battery life, better colors, and better photo/video editing performance for roughly the same price.

On the flip side, MacBook users looking to move to a Windows-based computer will love the familiar feel of the HP Spectre x360 14's keyboard and USB-C connections as well as the gorgeous FHD and 2K OLED displays. The 2-in-1 convertible form factor is ideal for anyone who wants to streamline their workflow and eliminate redundant devices like tablets; the 180-degree hinges make it a breeze to switch from a traditional laptop to a tablet for watching videos or drawing. 

While the price is steep, the top-notch components are worth the extra cash in order to keep up with current and next-generation graphics and processing needs as well as internet and wireless connectivity.