HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) Review
With a next-gen Intel Core Ultra CPU and robust build quality, HP’s premium two-in-one is pricey but primed for a long and valuable life — and its 9-megapixel webcam is incredible.
CPU delivers good performance and future-proofing
Intel Arc GPU offers a performance bump
Beautiful, all-metal chassis
Strong AV output with OLED display, quad speakers
Super-sharp 9-megapixel webcam
The Always-on LED on the power button gets annoying
GPU upgrades not offered
Limited port selection
The HP Spectre x360 14 two-in-one is one of the first laptops to feature Intel’s new Core Ultra CPU. While this Meteor Lake update brings AI capabilities that will become more significant as software is updated to take advantage of them better, the Spectre x360 14 offers immediate benefits in improved graphics performance from Intel’s integrated Arc GPU. Moving from Intel’s previous Iris Xe to Arc graphics doesn’t turn the Spectre x360 into a gaming laptop, but content creators will appreciate the bump in performance.
Adding the Core Ultra 7 155H processor is the big news here, but HP made a few other substantial upgrades to the Spectre x360 14. HP ditched the boxy 3:2 display found on previous models for a more versatile 16:10 aspect ratio. The webcam above the laptop’s OLED display also received an update: It’s a 9-megapixel camera that can capture 4K video. Combined with the AI-assisted Windows Studio Effects and noise reduction features, you’ll look and sound great on video calls. With premium looks and parts, the HP Spectre x360 14 is one of the few laptops with integrated graphics and a price approaching $2,000 that I recommend.
HP offers a choice of two Intel Core Ultra processors for the Spectre x360 14. The baseline model features the Core Ultra 5 125H chip along with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for $1,500. Our test system costs $1,970, features the Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, and comes maxed out with 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD. Both models feature Intel Arc graphics integrated with the Core Ultra processor — there is no option to upgrade to a discrete GPU. There is a lone display option for the Spectre x360 14, but it’s a good one: an OLED panel with a 2.8K resolution (2,880×1,800 pixels) and a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz.
Meteor Lake HP Spectre x360 14 models are unavailable in the UK or Australia. Still, you can find the previous models based on 13th-generation Intel processors on sale starting at £1,099 in the UK and AU$ 2,039 in Australia. In India it costs around Rs. 1,60,000.
HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) Review
HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) Review – About that ultra-performance
The Core Ultra 7 155H is a member of Intel’s new Meteor Lake family of chips. It introduces a new chipset architecture that departs from Intel’s previous-generation mobile chips. Instead of a single slice of silicon, Core Ultra chips contain four tiles, or chiplets, that sit on top of a silicon substrate. The Core Ultra 7 155H has four tiles: a compute tile, a graphics tile, a SOC tile and an I/O tile. This tile setup not only makes the manufacturing process more efficient for Intel — only the compute tile is manufactured on the company’s latest 7-nanometer Intel 4 process — but it also makes the chips more efficient themselves as they can better balance workloads across the performance and efficiency cores than previous versions’ chips with Intel’s performance/efficiency hybrid layout.
The other headliner of Meteor Lake is the low-power neural processing unit, or NPU, that assists with AI task acceleration. The NPU resides on the SOC tile and handles minor repetitive tasks to free up the CPU and GPU for heavier lifts. The NPU is put to use for AI detection in image and video editing, for example, or blurring the background in a video call.
Along with the above changes, Intel also has changed the meaning of the letters in its chips’ model numbers. An H-series chip from the new Core Ultra series is not the equivalent of a 13th-gen H-series chip. The Core Ultra 7 155H has a base TDP of 28 watts, and the previous 13th-gen H-series chips were 45-watt parts. The new Core Ultra H-series chips are more in line with the previous 28-watt P series processors, although the Core Ultra 7 155H has a maximum power draw of 155 watts, the same as the previous H series.
The Core Ultra 7 155H processor features six performance and eight efficiency cores on the compute tile. Along with the two-core NPU, the processor offers 16 physical cores and 22 processing threads.
Our current suite of benchmarks does not include AI workloads, so it doesn’t allow the Core Ultra-based Spectre x360 14 to flex its muscles. On our application tests, the Spectre x360 14 finished between a pair of laptops based on a Core i7-13700H CPU and RTX 4050 graphics and just behind the only other Core Ultra laptop we’ve tested, the Acer Swift Go 14. The Spectre x360 14 and Swift Go 14 posted scores significantly higher than the Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320, which features a Core i7-1360P processor. The Spectre x360 14 showed smaller gains on Geekbench 6 but topped the M3-based MacBook Pro 14 on that test. However, it was unable to best the M3 MacBook Pro on Cinebench and finished with a score much lower than the Swift Go 14, a disappointing result given that Acer and HP share the same processor. (Scroll to the end of the review to see the results of our testing.)
We expect to see more significant gains in application performance from Core Ultra laptops as more software is updated to take advantage of local AI processing. Still, we witnessed immediate gains in the move from Intel Iris Xe to Arc graphics — so much so that I included two laptops with RTX 4050 graphics in the performance discussion and charts below. On our three 3DMark tests, the Spectre x360 14’s scores were 54% to 84% better than those of the Dell XPS 13 Plus and its Iris Xe GPU.
The Spectre x360 14 lasted nearly 10 hours on our battery drain test, which is a positive result given that it has a high-res OLED display. With a 4-cell, 68-watt-hour battery, the Spectre x360 14 ran longer than it would have if it had a smaller 3-cell battery that’s commonly found in ultraportables.
We typically don’t run our gaming tests on laptops with integrated graphics, but I ran a few on the Spectre x360 14 to get a sense of the pixel-pushing capabilities of the Intel Arc GPU. On the Rift Breaker GPU test, it averaged 70 frames per second, which was a few frames faster than the Swift Go 14 but well behind the 173 fps and 198 fps that the RTX 4050-powered Acer Swift X 14 and HP Victus 16 averaged, respectively. On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark at 1,920×1,080 with the highest quality settings, the Spectre x360 14 eked out an average of 31 fps. I achieved a more playable frame rate of 55 fps at 1080p when I dropped the quality settings to Lowest.
When playing games, the back half of the laptop heated up, a not unsurprising result with the exhaust vents located along the laptop’s back edge between the display hinges. Unfortunately, the WASD keys were in that heat zone. On a positive note, the cooling fans were surprisingly quiet, even during the most chaotic game scenes.
High-res 16:10 OLED display
The most significant design change to this latest Spectre x360 14 is the move from a 3:2 display to one with a 16:10 aspect ratio. So, other than a general shift in size, the chassis remains relatively unchanged — a positive for me since the Spectre laptop has been one of my favourites among Windows models for years. The all-metal chassis feels rigid and has a soft, brushed texture pleasing to the touch. The soft textured surfaces and rounded edges give the Spectre x360 14 a luxurious feel, befitting a premium laptop. The matte black finish adds to the premium look and feel but does attract fingerprints and smudges.
The luxurious feel extends to the display hinges, which are doubly important in a two-in-one where the display rotates into a variety of positions. The hinges offer smooth action when repositioning the display yet are strong enough to keep it firmly in place. And about that display: the tall, unusual 3:2 display is gone, and a more common 16:10 panel is in its place. A 3:2 panel is well suited for business use where you want to see as many lines of a document or spreadsheet on the screen as possible. Still, a 16:10 offers greater versatility, sitting between a work-mode 3:2 display and a widescreen 16:9 display that’s best for watching shows and movies.
The Spectre x360 14’s display is an OLED panel with a crisp 2.8K resolution. It has a stellar contrast with deep black and bright white levels. It offers excellent colour coverage. In testing with a Spyder X Elite colourimeter, the display covered 100% of the sRGB and P3 spaces and 94% of Adobe RGB. It was also warm and bright; white backgrounds looked accurate and not overly relaxed and blue. I measured a peak brightness of 404 nits. The display looked great in a variety of indoor settings and remained viewable outside under an admittedly weak winter sun.
HP includes a pen in the box so you can write, scribble and draw on the screen in tablet mode when you aren’t tapping it in laptop mode. The display features a dynamic refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz, which results in smooth movement in videos and games.
HP also includes a USB-C adapter because the port selection is limited. There are two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports on the laptop’s right side, one on the back corner sliced on the diagonal. You’ll find a combo audio jack in the other corner next to a USB-A port on the left side. That’s it for ports. The included adapter offers HDMI and additional USB-A connectivity.
HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) Review – First 9-megapixel laptop webcam
The Spectre x360 14 is the second laptop I’ve tested with a Core Ultra chip and the first with a 9-megapixel webcam. The camera can capture 4K video, and images look incredibly crisp on the laptop’s 2.8K display with accurate colours and good balance. With the AI-assisted Windows Studio Effects, you can enable automatic framing to keep your face in the frame and blur the background. Using the audio controls in the myHP app, you can enable AI-assisted noise removal for the microphone to filter out background noise. I would classify it as noise reduction, but the feature effectively reduced background noise while keeping my voice clear and unaltered.
The webcam also has an IR sensor to use facial recognition for easy, secure logins. There are shortcuts on the Function keys for cutting power to the camera and muting the microphones, two features that are always welcome to protect your privacy when you aren’t using the camera. A small LED glows orange on each key to tell you when the camera is off, and the mic is muted.
The power button also doubles as a fingerprint reader, giving you a second secure biometric login option. It’s not all good news, however, with the power button. It has a small LED strip that glows white; there is no way to turn it off. It becomes an unwelcome distraction when watching a movie in a dark room.
Outside of the power button and its always-on LED, I have no complaints about the keyboard. The keys are roomy and offer snappy feedback and two-level backlighting. The touchpad is also roomy and, like the touchpads on MacBooks and the Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320, it uses haptic feedback instead of a mechanical click. I ran into a few hiccups with the XPS 13 Plus’s haptic touchpad, but it was smooth sailing and mousing on the Spectre x360 14’s touchpad. I enjoyed using it more than a MacBook’s touchpad, and I hold Apple’s haptics in high regard. The Spectre x360 14’s haptic response felt a bit livelier and springier than the MacBook’s and remained steady and accurate throughout testing.
The Spectre x360 14-pack quad speakers are above typical tiny laptop sound. I was still left wanting more from the bass response when listening to music, but shows and movies exhibited clear dialogue and realistic effects.
I don’t recommend laptops that cost nearly $2,000 and rely on integrated graphics. It’s reasonable to expect a dedicated GPU for gaming or content creation at this price. The Spectre x360 14, however, is the rare exception. With its next-gen CPU, gorgeous OLED display and premium build quality, the Spectre x360 14 is primed for a long and valuable life and delivers value even at its elevated price.
1. Is the HP Spectre x360 worth it?
– Absolutely, the HP Spectre x360 is totally worth it. Its sleek design, powerful performance, and versatility make it a fantastic investment for anyone seeking premium quality.
2. Is HP Spectre x360 14 good for coding?
– Yes, the HP Spectre x360 14 is a great choice for coding. Its strong hardware and high-resolution display offer a smooth coding experience.
3. Does HP Spectre x360 heat up?
– Occasionally, the HP Spectre x360 may heat up during heavy usage. However, this can usually be managed with proper ventilation and cooling measures.
4. What are the cons of HP Spectre x360?
– Some drawbacks of the HP Spectre x360 include potential heating issues, its premium price tag, and limited upgrade options. Despite these, its overall performance outweighs the cons.
5. Which is better, the Envy x360 or Spectre x360?
– When comparing the Envy x360 and Spectre x360, it depends on individual needs. The Spectre offers premium features and design, while the Envy provides better value for those on a budget.
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