HP Spectre x360 16-inch Review: luxury at its best

I’ve been using the 16-inch trim of the HP Spectre x360 for a while now. Whenever I lift it up and flip the screen to use the touchscreen display, it always reminds me of people who use an iPad to take pictures. In other words, the process of lugging around a super-sized convertible Windows laptop feels – for the lack of a better word – unnatural. Using the machine as a workstation has been a completely different experience, though, and I am in awe of its elegant design and stunning display. 


It’s quite clear that the device services a niche market, mostly comprised of creators who need a laptop with a sizeable display to edit comfortably on the go. Even so, does it justify its premium price tag? Let’s find out.  

Design

If I had to encapsulate the laptop’s design in three words, I’d go with big, bold, and beautiful. The HP Spectre x360 16-inch is a showstopper and will attract eyeballs whenever you take it out of your backpack. Be it for its imposing size or its unconventional, gem-cut edges that house the ports, the laptop is oozing with character. You could debate the laptop’s functionality, but there’s no denying that the super-sized Spectre is a striking piece of technology. 


The laptop’s chassis, for instance, is coated in the company’s signature NightFall Black colour. The colour scheme adds an air of opulence to the laptop, and the Spectre will fit right in with designer watches and expensive luxury bags. I can almost picture a celebrity walking out with the laptop in an ad. And, although the laptop’s matte finish attracts a lot of fingerprints, it does impart an elegant look. 

The Spectre is also entirely made of metal, furthering its luxurious build. It is quite heavy, though, at a smidge over two kilograms. You will definitely feel its heft in your backpack or when you’re lugging it around in your hand. The chassis is quite slim, though, and the laptop features chamfered-off edges. Consequently, the edges won’t poke into your wrist when you’re hashing out emails on the laptop. 

The HP Spectre x360’s hinge deserves a mention, too. The hinge mechanism allows the laptop’s display to articulate up to 360 degrees, so you can use the laptop in Tent mode, as a tablet, or as a regular clamshell notebook. The hinge offers ample friction, too, and you will notice that the laptop’s display doesn’t sway or wobble when you’re using it on your lap.

Display and Audio

I’ve never wanted to watch movies and TV shows more than when reviewing the HP Spectre x360. The laptop’s display is spectacular, in a word, and it kept me glued to it during my stint with the device. Spec-wise, the laptop features a 16-inch, 2.8K OLED touchscreen display that refreshes at 120Hz. The screen is HDR-ready, offering a peak SDR brightness of 400 nits and a peak HDR brightness of 500 nits.

The Spectre x360’s OLED display can produce captivating and vivid colours while delivering deep, dark blacks. On that note, you should know that the panel covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. The bezels surrounding the screen are quite thin, too, and they vanish into nothingness when watching movies or shows that are shot in darker environs, such as the Witcher or Daredevil TV series. Moreover, the panel provides excellent viewing angles, and 4K content looks extremely sharp on the screen. 

The display is also IMAX Enhanced, so you should have a better viewing experience when watching select media. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to scrape the interwebs for compatible films and TV shows, most of which are unavailable in the country, making the feature somewhat irrelevant, at least in India. 

On the upside, the panel’s 120Hz refresh rate furthers the screen’s overall appeal. General browsing feels fluid, scrolling through long PDFs is less jarring, and it does a good enough job for someone looking to get their feet wet in eSports games like Valorant. It’s a touchscreen, too, and HP even bundles a nifty stylus with the device for those who wish to draw on the go. 

If you have artistic tendencies, the laptop’s large display should work well for sketching and related creative work. As for audio, the laptop comes with two front-firing woofers and two top-firing tweeters tuned by PolyAudio. The speaker setup gets adequately loud and the sound output has a good oomph in the low end, which is excellent. 

Ports and I/O

You’d be right to assume the HP Spectre x360 16-inch comes with a lot of ports – it is a big laptop, after all. Well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the case. The laptop gets two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which sits inside the gem-cut edge. Additionally, it features one USB Type-A 3.1 port, an HDMI 2.1 slot, and a combo headphone jack. Needless to say, you’ll have to resort to using dongles if you wish to connect a handful of accessories to the device.

That said, the laptop has a high-quality 9MP webcam infused with AI smarts. It can record videos in 1440p resolution, enabling quality-of-life features like a Walk-away Lock and Privacy Alert. The latter, in particular, blurs your screen when the camera detects someone looking over your shoulder. The laptop’s webcam can also track your face and blur your background, a process that is deferred to the NPU. 

Note that the myHP app and the HP Command Centre facilitate most of these features. The apps provide a polished user interface and clear instructions to assist new users with setup. 

Keyboard and Trackpad

When not reviewing laptops, I like to use a mechanical keyboard. As you can imagine, transitioning from a mechanical keyboard to a laptop’s chiclet-style deck doesn’t always go well. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the Spectre x360 16-inch. The laptop’s keyboard has neatly spaced keys that press with a satisfying clicky sound. 

The keys don’t wobble when I rest my fingers on them, and the backlit LED underneath the deck gets reasonably bright, too. The trackpad is also quite large—noticeably bigger than I’ve seen on other laptops. It offers a smooth surface with customisable haptic intensity, which can be configured through Windows’s Touchpad settings menu.

You can also section off a portion of the trackpad to increase/decrease the brightness and volume. You’ll need the myHP app to use the feature, which, as prefaced previously, works seamlessly on the laptop. The gestures provide satisfying tactile feedback, incrementally raising brightness or volume with distinct clicks. The bundled fingerprint sensor works flawlessly, unlocking the laptop quickly.

Performance and Battery Life

The HP Spectre x360 16-inch is a dependable workhorse. The laptop is powered by Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H processor. The CPU uses six performance, eight efficiency, and two LPE or low-power efficiency cores. The 16-core processor can deploy up to 22 threads, and it works alongside 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM clocked at 6,400MHz and a 2TB Gen 4 NVMe SSD. For graphics, the device ships with Intel’s Arc GPU. 

The laptop performed admirably when I put it through its paces. My workflow, which involves using a handful of communication apps alongside various project management services and general web browsing, didn’t come to a halt on the Spectre. While I have access to more powerful rigs, I didn’t notice a tremendous change of pace when defaulting to the Spectre during the review period. 

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider


I did run a handful of synthetic tests, which will help you better assess its performance. Starting with CineBench, the laptop overturned 101 and 830 points in the single-core and multi-core runs. PCMark 10 and PCMark 10 Extended benchmarks, on the other hand, net a cumulative score of 7,170 and 7,116, respectively. The scores are eerily similar to the results from ASUS’ ZenBook 14 OLED and the HP Omen Transcend 14 gaming laptop. Coincidentally, these laptops are also powered by a Core Ultra 7 155H processor.

Additionally, most folks eyeing the laptop will deploy it in a creative workflow. I ran PugetBench’s Adobe Photoshop benchmark to test the same, simulating real-world applications like the ‘Select and Mask’ workspace, the Smudge tool, and more. Here, the laptop fared admirably and logged a cumulative score of 6,348 points, similar to MacBook Pros with the M3 chipset and 8GB of RAM. Suffice it to say, the laptop is more than capable of handling photo editing tasks.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider


Turn the page over to GPU-bound benchmarks, including the ones available in 3DMark’s suite, and you’ll get a comparatively unfavourable result. Here, the Omen Transcend 14 takes a comfortable lead, thanks to its dedicated RTX 4060 GPU. Despite that, the Intel Arc graphics put on quite the show and overturned passable scores in Fire Strike Extreme and Time Spy Extreme benchmarks.


I also ran a few games on the laptop to test its performance in real-world usage. Do note that the Spectre is not a gaming laptop, and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect it to run every AAA game flawlessly. The Arc GPU can hold its own when playing eSports games or older AAA titles, but that’s about it. For instance, with the settings turned down and the resolution set to 1,920 x 1,200, I was able to get around 80FPS in Apex Legends. 

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider


Similarly, the laptop averaged 45 FPS in GTA V, with the graphics set to High and the game running at the laptop’s native resolution. More demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 will bring the laptop to its knees. For instance, CyberPunk averaged just 15FPS at the lowest graphics presets when run at the laptop’s native resolution. Turning the resolution down to 1,920 x 1,200 pixels did increase the FPS, but the game still logged under 30FPS. 

Unsurprisingly, the laptop’s slim chassis got quite warm to the touch. In fact, after playing GTA V for around 40 minutes, HWInfo reported that most, if not all, of the P-cores had touched 100 degrees. I did notice the in-game FPS dip in GTA V, too. Regardless, the Arc GPU put on a good show, demonstrating how far integrated graphics have come in recent years. Additionally, the laptop’s battery backup did not leave me wanting more. Our PCMark 10 Battery (Video) test highlights the same, which plays a video on a loop until a device is completely drained. The Spectre x360 managed to run for almost 12 hours, which is excellent. Regarding my usage, I could use the laptop for around 6-6.5 hours before needing to plug it into a wall outlet. 

Regarding upgradability, the Spectre x360 lets users swap out the Wi-Fi card and the bundled M.2 drive. Note that the SSD is hidden under a protective black mylar that runs across the surface of the motherboard. You’ll want to carefully remove it before performing any upgrades. Additionally, you should also disconnect the battery while you’re at it. The internals can be accessed quite easily by removing four screws at the back. Unfortunately, the laptop doesn’t let users upgrade the RAM, which is a bit of a bummer.

Verdict

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with HP’s Spectre x360 convertible. The laptop is scheduled to be returned any day now, and I know I’ll miss its OLED display, spacious keyboard deck, and responsive trackpad a lot. The same can be said for its performance and battery backup, which didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. 


Contrary to most system apps, HP’s myHP and HP Command Centre offer excellent features that will undoubtedly benefit the end user, too. I personally found the auto-locking mechanism quite helpful. Having the laptop lock itself when you step away from your desk and unlock it as you return simplifies the authentication process tenfold. The same goes for the trackpad’s brightness and volume control gestures, too. That said, while the laptop’s 360-degree design, albeit attractive and quite functional, will see little use given the Spectre’s overall heft. The laptop’s price might gatekeep prospective buyers, too, as it costs Rs 1,79,999 in India. 

So, what gives? Should you buy the Spectre x360, given its drawbacks? Well, if you’re a creator looking for a premium Windows laptop, I’d say, why not? While you could get more performance from a competing gaming laptop, its display will not be up to snuff. Additionally, the laptop could make a good purchase for business professionals, especially those who want the creature comforts associated with a bigger laptop, such as a larger screen and a beefier battery backup. Let me know if you see yourself picking up HP’s latest in the comments below.

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10

Pros: 

  • Gorgeous display
  • Elegant design
  • Good performer
  • High-quality webcam with useful Privacy features
  • Snappy fingerprint sensor
  • Accommodating keyboard deck and trackpad

Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Can heat up under load