HP Spectre x360 15 review: A pretty screen that’s best on a desk

HP Spectre x360 15 review: A pretty screen that’s best on a desk

The HP Spectre x360 15 is a great lesson in laptop tradeoffs. The luxury model comes in numerous configurations, from one with integrated graphics and a basic LCD screen to one with a luscious 4K OLED display and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics. While they all look beautiful on the outside, the experience you get—and the price you pay—can vary drastically based on the choices you make on the inside.

In our case, we tested HP’s fanciest version—with that 4K OLED screen and discrete graphics—and found it most compelling as a desktop replacement. The display is gorgeous, especially for entry-level gaming, and the keyboard is exquisite. Even the audio quality is surprisingly good.

On the other hand, the laptop runs hot, doesn’t last long on a charge, and falls short of expected performance on workhorse computing tasks. An older Lenovo Yoga C940 15 laptop we tested last year performed better in many cases. Choosing lower-end parts would help, but then you’d lose some of what makes the Spectre x360 15 so enjoyable to use in the first place.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

Tech Specs

The HP Spectre x360 15 model we tested currently lists for $1,650 on HP.com and includes the following tech specs:

  • Intel Core i7-10750H processor
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q GPU
  • 15.6-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 3840×2160 resolution
  • 16 GB of DDR4-2666 RAM
  • 1TB solid state drive with 32GB Intel Optane memory
  • HD webcam with privacy shutter
  • Fingerprint reader and face recognition
  • Left side: HDMI, headphone jack
  • Right side: One USB-A 3.0 port, two SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (formerly known as USB-C 3.2 Gen 2) ports, one with Thunderbolt 3
  • Dimensions: 14.17 x 8.91 x 0.79 inches
  • Weight: 4.23 pounds, 5.07 pounds including AC adapter
HP Spectre x360 15 review: A pretty screen that’s best on a desk Jared Newman / IDG

A full-sized HDMI port is always nice to have, even if the Spectre’s own screen looks great.

Design and display

HP pours a lot of design energy into its flagship Spectre line, and this 15-inch model is best described as “blingy.” The chassis is a single piece of CNC-machined aluminum with angled—excuse me, “gem-cut”—edges jutting outward around the laptop’s periphery. The two inside corners are angled to house the power button on one side and a USB-C port on the other. The speaker grille follows a similar diamond-shaped pattern. Around the keyboard, the Spectre x360 has a slight downward taper, giving the surface an almost pillowy appearance. Vents on both sides help blow out hot air.

Even its distinctive color combinations come with poetic names. “Nightfall Black” (dark gray) with “Copper Luxe” is our unit’s trim, or “Poseidon Blue” (deep blue) with “Pale Brass” is the other. (If you’re looking for a simple silver hue, that’s available in the Spectre x360 14.)

spectrex36015corner Jared Newman / IDG

There’s no mistaking the Spectre x360’s “gem-cut” design for other laptops.

As the name suggests, the Spectre x360 15 is also a convertible laptop, whose touchscreen can rotate 360 degrees into tablet mode. That flexibility is nice to have, but note that a stylus is sold separately, and the screen portion is so heavy that it’s prone to tipping back while in your lap.

The OLED screen really is stunning, with deep blacks, rich colors, and support for HDR video. Although OLED screens tend to have lower brightness ratings than LED displays, they also have higher levels of contrast. I was able to use the Spectre x360 15 comfortably with the screen facing the window on a sunny day. HP also lets users switch among different color spaces, so you might use Adobe RGB for photo editing and DCI-P3 for watching movies.

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