When it comes to computer tech, gamers tend to be interested in the very best. The fastest, the most powerful, the quietest, and so on. When it comes to laptops, whilst the Spectre x360 is not really a gaming laptop, it is at the top of the tree in its field – and you can use it for gaming at a pinch.
So what tree is it the top of? Simply this: a truly portable office computer. Weighing little more than 1kg, the Spectre x360 is light enough to carry around the entire day without strain. It’s also quite small, with its height and width measurements making it around the same size as a sheet of A4 paper. Lastly it also has a phenomenal battery life, capable of running for around 11-14 hours of sustained use, or 4 hours for intensive tasks (like video encoding).
But what’s it like to use? Put simply, a delight. The brilliant 4K OLED touch-screen display (if you get the model which features this) is sharp, crisp, bright and super vibrant (note however, that the touch-screen grid can be slightly visible under certain lighting conditions – such as a light-bulb being reflected by the screen – though you have to be very close to notice it). The Bang & Olufsen speakers give okay audio (sadly, there’s a physical limit to how good small speakers can sound), its lightweight aluminium shell gives it a sturdy feel. And the keyboard – a major disappointment on most laptops – is easy to use, and feels little different from typing on a desktop computer. If you don’t want to use it in laptop mode, that’s fine as well – simply fold the screen all the way back, and you can use it as a tablet (the keyboard disables when the screen is folded back, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing a button). An added nice touch, for those concerned about privacy, is the inclusion of a switch which disables the laptop’s webcam.
Of course, all of this would mean nothing without some impressive hardware backing it up, and here, the HP Spectre X360 certainly delivers. With it’s 512GB SSD, 16 GB RAM and core i7 processor, it starts in an instant, and runs smoothly and quickly. But what about games? Armed only with an Intel Iris Plus Graphics processor, while it can run games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Total War: Warhammer II at around the 40 FPS mark (provided you turn the graphics to med-low and resolution to 1920x1080), it can get fairly hot, and cranking the graphics quality up can see the FPS plummet to around the 4 FPS mark. So those looking for a computer mainly for gaming should – especially at this price point – be looking elsewhere.
While the game performance is less than stellar, in all fairness, the HP Spectre x360 is not primarily a gaming machine. What it is, is an absolutely brilliant, truly portable office computer. Despite the high price-tag, it feels worth every cent, and is ideal for a person who wants to have a mobile office, and play the occasional game. ■