Excellent stylus included
Responsive touchscreen display
Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
OK battery life
Performance could be better
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About the HP Spectre x360 14
Here are the specs of the laptop we tested:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1255U
- Graphics: Integrated
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 1TB SSD
- Display: 3000 x 2000p resolution, 400 nits brightness, 100% P3 gamut
- Ports: 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-A, 1 x Headphone jack
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Camera: 1080p webcam
- Accessories: HP Rechargeable MPP2.0 Tilt Pen, Carry case
- Battery: 66Whr lithium‑polymer battery
- Weight: 3.0 pounds
- Size: 11.73 x 8.68 x 0.67 inches
- Warranty: 1-year limited warranty
It retails for $1,549 and comes in one other configuration, which has an Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 8GB of memory, 512GB of SSD storage, and a 1920 x 1280p display.
What we like
Its design is fascinating
A lot of laptops lately have been pushing for sharper, edgier designs, but the Spectre 14 takes the opposite approach. Its edges and corners are rounded and chamfered, making it comfortable to lay my wrists on the laptop. The rear two corners are cut at 45-degree angles and have ports on them. There’s no other laptop that quite looks like the Spectre, and the all-metal chassis is sleek, thin, and rigid as a laptop should be. While it’s not fingerprint-proof, its matte black surface is more resistant to them than most laptops.
Additionally, the Spectre 14 figured out how to include a USB-A port by having an expandable ledge for peripherals while keeping the laptop as thin as possible. (Most ultra-thin notebooks have removed the USB-A port altogether.) The audio jack lives on the rear left corner, and two USB-C ports populate the right corner and right side. The display’s right side is also magnetized so the included stylus can snap onto the Spectre 14, iPad-style.
The keyboard, trackpad, and ergonomics are phenomenal
The Spectre and the Envy have historically had amazing keyboards and trackpads, and this generation is no exception. The keyboard is springy with a big kick to it, needing just the right amount of pressure to actuate to prevent accidental keystrokes without wearing out your fingers. Despite the small chassis, the keys themselves don’t feel small, but they are a bit shallow to keep the profile down.
Meanwhile, the trackpad is massive, smooth, and highly responsive. If you’re used to MacBook trackpads, you’ll feel right at home on the hand-sized canvas (yes, it’s bigger than my hand).
Its convertible form factor is well executed, with sturdy hinges that can stay put at any angle. You can use it normally, tented, or as a tablet. The laptop has a display with a 4:3 ratio, and that extra width makes it less awkward to hold the laptop vertically in tablet mode.
Its touch display plays well with its stylus
2-in-1s don’t quite feel complete without a great stylus to back them up; you can write, draw, or just navigate your device in tablet mode. The Spectre 14 comes with the HP Pen MPP 2.0, which can be used with any Windows device that supports MPP 2.0 (this also means you can use any compatible stylus, such as a Microsoft Surface Pen, with the Spectre if you don’t like the HP Pen). The stylus is extremely light, weighing just nine grams, and its USB-C charging port is hidden behind a sliding mechanism. The buttons on the side are hard to press, but the nib is smooth on the Spectre 14’s display.
I had no trouble at all using the HP Pen with the Spectre 14. Inputs were properly registered, my handwriting was legible to Windows Ink, and palm rejection was good once it was enabled. If you like to vary your line weight, you’ll be glad to know the sensitivity curve felt responsive and accurate as I doodled away some sketches in Krita. It doesn’t feel as natural as the MSI Summit E16 or the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, but it’s consistent and versatile once you get used to its style.
The display colors aren’t too shabby, either
The HP Spectre 14 is a treat to work with. Its full P3 color gamut and excellent contrast on its OLED display are perfect for color-accurate work on the go. It’s not especially bright at 370 nits, but its adaptive display temperature feature keeps it comfortable to look at without sacrificing the accuracy too much compared to generic night light settings.
Since it’s a 4:3 display, this relatively small laptop has a lot of desktop space to work with. Its 3000 x 2000 resolution may be unusual, but it keeps everything looking sharp. Its brightness holds it back from being one of the best laptop displays, as HDR content won’t be as vivid, but for any other content, it looks fantastic.
Audio is loud and balanced
As far as laptops go, the HP Spectre 14 nails its sound. The bass on this thing is impressive, with a strong, clear output that’s a whole lot of fun for bassheads. (Its reverberation may be a bit much for audiophiles.) Meanwhile, the treble and mids are confident and full-bodied, adding to the sum of the audio to make a rich, dark sound signature. It sounds more like a TV than it does a laptop.
If you like to share your laptop audio for things like films or music, you’ll be glad to know the Spectre can get loud. At max volume, I played a variety of videos to judge its sound quality: an audio benchmark video, white noise videos, and trending music videos. Its sound averaged about 72 decibels from an arm’s length away—that’s as loud as traffic at a busy intersection (and on par with the MacBook Air).
More importantly, the audio is still clear and free of distortion at high volumes. It’s certainly not a flat sound signature by default, but because of its excellent range, it’ll sound great regardless of your preferences. The Spectre 14 has some of the best sounds out there for laptop speakers.
What we don’t like
Low power draw holds back performance
Compared to other premium 2-in-1s, the Spectre 14 feels underwhelming. While its benchmark scores aren’t wimpy, the competition is up to 40% faster without costing more money or sacrificing battery life.
For instance, the Lenovo Yoga 9i scored 10184 points in Geekbench 5’s multicore score, which is about 41% more than the Spectre 14’s score of 7175 points. Rendering a 3D model of a car in Blender takes the Spectre 14 six minutes 44 seconds, two minutes longer than the Lenovo Yoga 9i, and almost three minutes longer than the MSI Summit E16 Flip.
On the other hand, its single-core performance is about the same as that of the Lenovo Yoga 9i, MSI Summit E16 Flip, and MacBook Pro 16 M1 Max. For simple tasks, like browsing the web or sorting through a pile of PDF documents, the Spectre 14 is blazing fast.
The Spectre’s Intel Core i7-1255U processor isn’t necessarily designed for raw power. At a max power draw of 55 Watts, performance in heavy-duty tasks like sorting a multi-thousand-row Excel sheet or rendering a simple 3D modeling scene will be slower than if you used a processor with a higher max power draw. On the other hand, its base power draw is just 15W, so you’re not burning extra power just writing a Word doc.
Intel caps power draw on its U-line processors so they draw less power than P-line processors (Intel’s other line of efficient mobile processors). If it draws less power, then the laptop will have longer battery life. Batteries are often measured in Watt-hours for this reason—a 100Wh battery will deplete much more quickly if your processor is running a game at 100W of power than if it were running 20W while surfing the web.
However, the Core i7-1255U could be considered too conservative with its power draw. The Intel Core i7-1260P can draw up to 64W and still shows similar battery life in laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 9i. If a processor’s tuned properly, a very powerful processor can still get good battery life for simple tasks, and Intel’s P-line is efficient in that regard.
Its battery life isn’t anything to brag about
the HP Spectre 14’s seven hours and 37 minutes of battery life won’t turn a lot of heads. To test battery life, we simulate an average day of tasks for productivity users by setting brightness to 200 nits (enough for a well-lit office) and rotating through 20 websites from a full battery until it shuts off. If you’re doing anything more strenuous, such as editing pictures in Photoshop, you can expect the battery to deplete faster.
The HP Spectre 14 is about on par with other 2-in-1s of this gen, such as the Lenovo Yoga 9i which has a battery life of six hours and 51 minutes. It’s also a downgrade from last generation’s HP Spectre, which had a nine-hour battery life. There are some traditional laptops with more battery life still (looking at you, MacBook Air, and your 15-hour battery life), but you will have to give up the convenience of a 2-in-1.
Its port situation is bizarre
Usually, laptops suffer from a lack of ports. The HP Spectre has an OK amount of ports (one USB-A port, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and a headphone jack), but what truly stands out is where those ports are located.
On the chamfered rear corners of the chassis, there is one USB-C port and a headphone jack. It’s a cool concept, but in practice, it’s easy to yank at attached cables and risk damaging the port. Be mindful of any cables you keep connected to the Spectre 14 just in case.
Should you buy the HP Spectre x360 14?
Yes, it’s a phenomenal 2-in-1 laptop
The HP Spectre 14 has a multitude of great qualities. It’s beautiful, has an amazing OLED display, comes with a good pressure-sensitive stylus, feels good to hold as a tablet and as a laptop, sports a five-inch trackpad that’s smooth as glass, sounds better than a MacBook, packs in solid performance and battery life for most productivity tasks. It retails for $1,549, but we’ve already seen it sell for as low as $1,249. The HP Spectre 14 is easily one of the best 2-in-1s out there.
If you love everything about the HP Spectre 14 but wish it had just a bit more power, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a great alternative. The Yoga 9i’s power boost is useful for tasks like film production and photo editing, shaving off minutes from render times, and its battery life doesn’t take a massive hit in the process.
However, if you’re more concerned with a 2-in-1’s capabilities for an artist-worthy stylus experience, the MSI Summit E16 Flip’s 16-inch 2K display is breathtaking to look at and responds well to the included MSI Pen. It’s also one of the most powerful of the bunch, but its larger screen and higher power draw do drain its battery faster. (Its battery life is only four hours.)
While the HP Spectre 14 might not have the raw power of a gaming tablet or the incredible battery life of a MacBook, it does have a good grip on the fundamentals. It’s an excellent jack of all trades that capitalizes on the strengths of both ultraportable productivity laptops and standalone tablets. If you’ve been looking for a capable 2-in-1 to carry with you, this is an excellent choice.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
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