Review and Guide

HP Specter X360 Laptop with Intel Core i7-1165G7

This time we analyze a small wonder such as the HP Specter X360 13 , one of the most beautiful and slim convertibles that can be found on the market. HP specializes in this type of solution, and it shows an exquisite design providing us with only 17 mm thick aluminum chassis and screen hinge 360 or .

Inside we have a fairly powerful and low-consumption hardware such as the Intel Core i7-1165G7 with Iris Xe graphics that can even move AAA games in Full HD. To that we add NVMe SSDs of up to 2 TB and a Thunderbolt 4 port that will offer 65W charging and a large number of interfaces in the absence of various USB or video ports. Let’s see this marvel in action, let’s start with the analysis.

Design

If the HP Specter X360 13 can stand out, it is in its design, as it is one of the thinnest convertible laptops that we can find. In fact, its measurements are so tight that it can hardly equip a USB Type-A port or the 3.5 mm Jack. Aluminum has been used mainly for its construction , although its base is made of plastic.

It will be available in versions like this 13.3-inch and 14-inch using the same aesthetics. And it has three different colors, Natural Silver which is our review model, Nightfall Black (black with gold edges) and Poseidon Blue (blue-gray with silver edges). These last two are simply spectacular, with a unique aesthetic as careful as in smartphones.

For being so thin, the aluminum-built lid is really rigid , although it is true that it is reinforced with the glass that covers the screen due to its tactile condition. The outer area presents a surface with a silky touch due to its slight roughness, with gently curved edges and finally finished off in a double triangular bezel . You could not miss the redesigned HP logo in a chrome finish, but without lighting.

We move on to the edge areas of the HP Specter X360 13 which presents that design with a double triangular bevel, both on the lid and in the lower area. The most striking thing is the cut that has been given to the rear corners, creating the sensation of smaller size and improving the handling of the equipment. In a very subtle way, HP has placed a side-to-side ventilation grille . Excellent placement and design, also without expelling hot air towards the screen due to the hinge format used.

Speaking of hinges, here they are going to be quite an important element, since they must ensure the rotation of the screen in 360 or for a long time. This 2-in-1 laptop can be placed in tablet mode , and for this it uses two hinges with a triangular design with rotation both on the screen and on the laptop. They seem quite strong and reliable , with a smooth but relatively hard ride.

The lower area is the only one that has been made of plastic , although the finish and touch is incredibly similar to aluminum, although there is less cold sensation to the touch than metal. We have a wide grille to ensure proper cooling, while the side openings are obviously to get the sound out of your Bang & Olufsen speakers . The half-round rubber feet will hardly lift the equipment off the ground, but at least they offer good grip on smooth surfaces.

We already entered the interior area after opening this HP Specter X360 13 to see a very well used space. For the screen, a Gorilla Glass NBT glass with high scratch resistance and an excellent finish that practically does not produce reflections has been used. The frames are highly optimized, occupying only 5mm on the sides, 7mm on the top edge and 20mm on the bottom edge . The screen glass itself is used for them, so the finish is impeccable.

Finally, the keyboard area has been used to the maximum by it, with wide island-type keys, quite separated from each other and of course in a TLK configuration with a column of secondary functions on the right. The fingerprint reader has been moved to the right area, while the touchpad occupies the rest of the useful area in an extended format as far as the depth of the equipment allows.

Ports and connections

The small and slim size of the HP Specter X360 13 works against it in terms of connection and port capacity. But HP has managed to solve the ballot in the best possible way using the maximum capacity of the CPU with Thunderbolt ports.

On the right side we will find:

  • 2x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4
  • Switch to enable webcam
  • Micro SD card reader

And on the left side these ports:

  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
  • 3.5mm combo jack for audio and microphone
  • Power button in the corner

At least the effort has been made to introduce a USB Type-A, which will be very necessary for users who have devices without an adapter. But the most important ports will be the two Thunderbolt upgraded to version 4 , whose 40 Gbps PCIe interface allows connections with DisplayPort 1.4, Ethernet, USB and a charging connection of up to 65W . Supports the manufacturer’s own HD Sleep and Charge function.

Neither could the 3.5 mm jack audio port be missing, which just fits, and a useful memory card reader, although one that is compatible with larger sizes would have been even more advantageous.

IPS WLED screen available in various versions

The screen version that we have in this HP Specter X360 13 is not the most powerful available, but it is the one that offers a better balance between performance and price. In all cases, the screen is tactile with 10-point multi-touch support and compatible with the HP writing pen.

It is a panel with IPS LCD technology that delivers a native Full HD resolution (1920x1080p), therefore using a 16: 9 format. It does not have its own gaming characteristics, and for example its refreshment is 60 Hz without FreeSync.

Being a laptop oriented to the day to day, and to users who bet on mobility, it focuses a bit on image quality, as it delivers a maximum brightness of 400 nits and a typical contrast of 1000: 1. Its color characteristics are not detailed, but we can say that it will be an 8-bit panel covering around 99% sRGB.

The tactile input is excellent, and the glass that is used gives us sensations very similar to that of a tablet or smartphone in touch and slide. In this sense, it is one of the best convertibles to use in tablet mode, with extremely tight edges and thin and light enough to grip with only one hand. This screen variant is the one that uses edge -to-edge or edge-to-edge glass and BrightView technology , while there is another whose brightness will turn out to be around 300 nits using WLED.

If we wanted to go a little further and bet on an extra contrast and better consumption we should use the OLED version . This screen will also be tactile and will provide the user with a maximum brightness of 400 nits, although its resolution rises up to 4K. It could be an option to give that image quality input that a designer may need, or to focus on the consumption of multimedia content. There is also an OLED version with Full HD resolution for those who do not see much sense to have 4K in a panel of only 13.3 inches.

In this case we may miss a Pantone calibration certification or validation, but as we will see below, the panel manufacturer has done an excellent job of adjustment.

Sound System

The sound system of this HP Specter X360 13 consists of two 2W speakers signed by Bang & Olufsen . A manufacturer that already has a long history equipping speakers in HP computers and that never disappoints.

Due once again to how thin the equipment is, the space for speakers is quite small, and the resonance and bass presence is not going to have a remarkable panel. Yes we have experienced high volume and powerful audio , shining especially in mid tones. The sound is a bit metallic and does not stand out for its warmth, so we could say that it is a bit below the Vivobook or ZenBook convertibles from Asus, to give a reference.

HP has a small piece of software through which you can customize the audio output a bit, although it will obviously be more effective when using headsets through the 3.5mm Jack port. HP joins the manufacturers that have noise cancellation , something increasingly common in both laptop and desktop systems.

Another important component will be the webcam integrated in the HP Specter X360 13. In this case, an HP True Vision sensor with HD 720p resolution capable of recording at the typical 30 FPS is used. The good news is that it implements IR and supports Windows Hello and its biometric authentication. By means of a switch on the right side we can activate or deactivate the sensor manually. In terms of image quality, it seems a little better than the other generic 720p sensors used by other manufacturers, although its use will be recommended only for video calls and chats.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard that is equipped in the HP Specter X360 13 will go hand in hand with the design of the notebook in terms of the color of its keys. In all cases, white backlighting will be used to give life to the wide and clear layout of the equipment.

Opt for an ANSI type design with distribution in several languages ​​including Spanish, although this sample uses an American one as we see. A TKL layout has been used as is obvious, although it has a last column on the right with navigation function keys for menus and texts.

These island-style keys are noticeably separated from each other, with a size of 15 x 15 mm , a flat design and a rounded edge. The writing sensation is excellent, and the rubber membrane used is of the high quality that HP is accustomed to. The travel is approximately 1.5mm , with clean travel and a very quiet and direct bounce.

On the part of the touchpad , it integrates perfectly into the aluminum base with perfect grip and no play when interacting with its buttons. The trackpad uses a high-quality, very good gliding glass surface, with an area of ​​110 x 55 mm . In this case, the click of the buttons is quite loud, although with a minimal and direct path to facilitate its use with one hand.

The fingerprint sensor has been moved to the right , which will be complemented with biometric systems compatible with Windows. Its precision is quite good and the interaction and unlocking are fast. It is quite positive that it is not integrated into the touchpad, since this way we avoid having elements that cloud the experience of use in traditional portable mode.

Processor

This new generation of HP notebooks uses the latest from Intel in terms of processors with integrated graphics. The review version equips an Intel Core i7-1156G7 , an 11th generation Tiger Lake CPU that uses Intel’s own 10nm SuperFin manufacturing process . It is equipped with 4 physical and 8 logical cores with 12 MB of L3 cache and can work at a maximum frequency of 4.7 GHz.

On this occasion, as it is an extremely thin device with just enough ventilation, the manufacturer has decided to considerably lower the maximum frequencies of 4 GHz and averages between 1.3 and 3.7 GHz . In this way, we will avoid throttling as much as possible and generate continuous high temperatures in the equipment, and the truth is that it does it relatively well. Best of all, is that the pure performance of this CPU will be almost equal to that seen in thicker computers and with greater solvency in cooling .

In the case of a processor with integrated graphics, we have the Intel Iris Xe, debuting in the new Tiger Lake architecture G7 specification at 10 nm. We have already tested this same specification on other equipment and its specifications are not bad at all. We have 96 shader units, 16 TMUs and 8 ROPs, enough to be very close to the Nvidia MX450 GPU and easily outperform the previous generation of Intel graphics, AMD and some dedicated Nvidia GPUs for Max-Q designs. They operate under a 128-bit bus width , offering a bandwidth of 51 GB / s. They start from a base frequency of 400 MHz and reach 1300 MHz in boost mode. They will even give us a decent performance in triple A games with minimal graphics.

These two main elements are accompanied by a 16 GB RAM of the LPDDR4 type, working at an effective frequency of 2133 MHz, they will be chip modules directly soldered on the board and working in Dual Channel. Up to 2GB is allocated automatically and dynamically for the GPU if needed.

The storage configuration of the unit that we analyzed will be 512 GB M.2 NVME PCIe 3.0 SSD along with 32 GB Intel Optane Memory . The result of this configuration will be quite interesting due to the fact that it surpasses performances of 3500 and 3000 MB / s in sequential reading and writing , being at the level of gaming-oriented laptops.

In short, for such a small team, we have quite powerful hardware that will ensure a very high performance in advanced tasks. The high CPI of these Intel processors and low power consumption will be key features. From the HP virtual store we can configure the equipment to our liking, and we have options such as an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8 or 16 GB RAM and storage of up to 2 TB or 1 TB + Intel Optane .

Last but not least, the HP Specter X360 13 has an Intel Wi-FI 6 AX201 wireless network card , integrated on board version. This chip has Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity as is obvious, although it is not compatible with the latest Wi-Fi 6E update that would use the 6 GHz frequency. In addition, we could get an Ethernet connection at 1 Gbps through Thunderbolt 4 with the corresponding adapter.

Cooling System

As a cooling system we have a configuration of a single turbine type fan that will expel air through the long rear grill. It is a very thin fan, but quite solvent in cooling. Generally it is very quiet, but if the laptop is required it will be noticed without being as annoying as the one carried by gaming laptops.

To capture the heat from the CPU we have a large copper heatpipe in direct contact with the Die that transports the heat to the small finned block on the edge of the fan. A good design that makes the most of the available thickness, so you can’t do a better job than this. Then we will see how he behaves with the team at maximum stress.

Battery Backup

Inside this HP Specter X360 13 there is enough space to insert a 4-cell Lithium Polymer battery with a power of 60 Wh . Without a doubt, the work that HP has done here is not bad at all, having Energy Star certification, Epeat Silver and a fast charge that allows to obtain 50% of capacity in just 30 minutes .

The power and charging of the equipment will be done through a USB-C adapter with 65W power connected to any of the two available Thunderbolt 4 ports. This time we have obtained no less than 8 hours of autonomy using a balanced profile, brightness at half and performing common tasks such as browsing and editing documents.

We could still extract a little more if we use the minimum brightness and turn off the keyboard, but it is practically ensuring us a sufficient duration to cover a working day.

 

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