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  • Soon Kai Hong

HP Spectre x360 16 2-in-1 Review - Perhaps Just A Step Too Late

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Now did this laptop arrive a little too late? This is the latest HP Spectre x360 16 2-in-1 and it’s the company's first ever 16-inch within the Spectre lineup. Now I’m going to go through everything about this laptop, from the design, to the display, the overall experience, and so on and so forth. But here’s the preface.

This laptop was announced back in September 2021, but it is really only available right now in 2022. Since then, Intel has already announced their whole new range of 12th-Gen processors and many brands are already preparing to launch laptops equipped with the new chips in the next couple months or so.

But this is still running Intel 11th-Gen, the Core i7-11390H to be exact. So is it still any good?

To get straight to the point, it still is, relatively, so let’s get right into the performance.

Now there are a few different configurations available to choose from. Our model today is basically the top specced model. You get the Core i7-11390H, an RTX 3050 with 40 watts of Thermal Graphics Power, 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 3200MHz and 1TB of NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.

Doing our usual tests in both creative and gaming applications, it performed as expected. It’s not mind blowing, considering that the 11390H is just a 4 cores 8 threads CPU with a 35W TDP and the RTX 3050 having only a 40W TGP, but you can definitely do creative work like photo or video editing, and you can also play games with decent settings at 1080p.

Temperatures are also really well managed with low noise levels to boot. Both the CPU and GPU stayed well within the mid 70s be it for creative work or gaming, which in turn also meant that the surface temperature of the laptop stayed relatively cool to the touch even under load.

But here’s the catch, while it currently still performs especially given what it is, having Intel 12th-Gen could’ve made it a lot better. With that new hybrid architecture, you’re not only going to get more cores and added performance from a gen-on-gen improvement, but you can also expect better battery life thanks to the efficient core, support for DDR5, more Thunderbolt 4 ports and much more.

So it’s not that this laptop is lacking, but rather, it was just unlucky timing on HP’s part, no thanks to the global shortage of chips and whatnot.

Thus if you’re looking at this laptop, just understand that there will be better things over the horizon that’s fast approaching.

But now let’s talk about everything else about the Spectre x360 16 2-in-1, which means from this point forward, it’s just going to be a list of great things. Well, mostly.

The design for one, is really eye-catching and unique to the Spectre lineup. The entire chassis is made out of CNC aluminum and features the iconic tapered edges like before. If you’re looking for a really iconic looking laptop, the Spectre is certainly one of them.

We then move to the display and this is probably the highlight of this laptop. Firstly, it’s 16-inches, the first ever for a Spectre, which provides plenty of real screen estate unlike ever before. But more importantly, there’s the option for a 4K OLED which we have here and it’s really gorgeous.

The colors are just so vibrant and the blacks are as deep as they can get. Films look really great on it and so do your everyday YouTube videos or even just general browsing. The best use case however is perhaps for content creation, because this display not only supports 100% sRGB, but it’s also capable of up to 98% AdobeRGB and DCI-P3.

Now there isn’t support for HDR nor high refresh rate, which might be a bummer for some. But overall, it’s still just downright a great display.

Speaking of which, it is a 2-in-1, which means you can fold the display a full 360, hence the name, and use it like a tablet. I daresay however that most people would not use it like a tablet because at 16-inches, this is a behemoth of tablet. Not to mention the laptop weighs in at 2 kilograms or 4.4lbs, which is definitely not light by any means.

But you can prop it on the table and use it in the so called ‘tent’ mode to watch a video, or perhaps you can lay it flat on the desk and use the pen.

Which speaking of, this is a pretty great pen.

It’s not on par with the likes of Wacom or the Apple Pencil, of course, but it’s pretty darn close. Use it to take notes, use it to draw, it can do all of that pretty well. It can even attach to the side of the laptop magnetically so you don’t have to worry about losing it. Unfortunately, it can’t charge wirelessly. To charge it, you’ll have to slide the cover off to reveal the USB-C port. Still overall, it’s not bad at all.

As for the webcam, it’s definitely above average. A 5 megapixel sensor means it can do 1080p video and HP even includes some software to enhance the video experience. The microphones are also pretty great so overall, you won’t be disappointed with it.

As for the keyboard and trackpad, they are fantastic. There’s something about the keys that I really enjoy that I can’t quite put my finger on, but they feel great and I could type on it for hours without much fatigue. The fonts are nice and large and the white backlighting is great as well. As for the trackpad, it's large, it’s centered, it works well. I like it.

Now for some people, the lack of a numpad on a 16-inch device might be a dealbreaker but personally for myself, I very much prefer this.

This is also where you can find the fingerprint reader, located right between the arrow cluster and the right alternate key. It’s fast, intuitive, no drawbacks here. But should you so prefer facial recognition, that’s also available as well.

In terms of audio, the speakers are great. They do get decently loud and there is definitely much more stereo separation as compared to previous Spectre models due to the 16-inch form factor. Bass is a little lacking, but no surprises there.

Ports wise you’ll get your AC in, two Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen2 with a trap door lever mechanism, HDMI 2.0b and your 3.5mm combo jack. Plenty to go around, and unique to the Spectre series, you’ll find a couple of the ports on the corners.

HP claims up to 12 hours and 45 minutes of battery life with the included 83 watt hour battery. Of course in reality, it isn’t that ideal. In a real world scenario, you’ll be getting closer to about 7 hours of battery life which isn’t too bad per se, considering the use of a 16-inch 4K OLED display.

So overall, the HP Spectre x360 16 2-in-1 has been a really great laptop. The design is fantastic, the display is gorgeous, the keyboard and trackpad are great to use, even comes with a pen and there’s even a decent amount of ports and battery life.

But it all comes down to price and as configured, this will set you back roughly 2,00 US Dollars (2029.99 USD) or just under 3,300 Singapore Dollars (3,299 SGD).

That is quite a bit too swallow though not unexpected given the premium status of the Spectre lineup.

But that is also the reason why you should think carefully if you’re getting this very laptop.

While the performance is respectable, Intel 12th-Gen has already been announced and is fast approaching to flood the market. Arguably, HP would likely have a revision within the year as well. So if you’re looking at longevity, it might be prudent to wait.

If you’ve any questions, let us know in the comments section below. And if you would like to, do check out our affiliate links in the description below. If you do, thanks for your support. Do like this video, subscribe to us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, till the next one, see ya!

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