HP Spectre x2: test and review

Most market hybrid computers are designed the same way: a rotatable screen 360 is pinning the back of the keyboard to turn into a tablet. But there is an alternative for those seeking a more hybrid end and closer to a tablet, without investing in an iPad Pro. For them, detachable screen models prove the right solution. This concept has existed for years, it was popularized by Microsoft’s Surface, which, over its evolution is polished a little more. But the Surface Pro 4, latest model, is not the only hybrid like this deserves to be considered. It is expensive (the price starts at 999 euros) and it costs 150 euros more for the essential keyboard that also protective shell office. The HP Spectre x2, close cousin of the Surface Pro, is more advantageous. HP machine is available from 999 euros, but it comes with an excellent keyboard and displays a complete configuration: USB Type-C port, stylus, 3D camera RealSense Intel.

We tested the high-end version of the HP Spectre x2. A 1499 euros, it is equipped with a Core M7 processor, 256GB SSD and 8GB of memory (RAM). Recall again that it comes with a keyboard, which is not the case of the Surface Pro 4 even on the more expensive configurations.

Still, in one case as in the other, these hybrids will never be as convenient to use than a true laptop. In the case of x2 Spectrum, the crutch system that keeps the screen position has unpleasantly surprised us because of a release button located on the left edge is very steep to maneuver. The Surface Pro has for her a choice of more powerful processors, better screen and excellent active stylus. But the Spectre x2 is a very good hybrid centered on the use in tablet mode. Some flaws at the design level to prevent completely outclass the Microsoft Surface.

Design and functionality

As all detachable hybrids, the HP Spectrum x2 consists of two parts. There first touchscreen tablet which contains office and the motherboard, CPU, RAM and storage. We find the same finish glass on a modern tablet with buttons and ports on the edges and a black border around the display surface. The display an HP hybrid is slightly larger than the area 4 Pro.

Screen edges are more responsible than the Microsoft tablet with big volume buttons, another to unlock the stand, two USB Type-C and covers that hide the slot for the memory card and housing for the SIM card (the models available in France do not offer cellular connection). The lower edge incorporates the magnetic attachment system on the keyboard.

The keyboard has a metal finish all around the keys and palmrest. The back of the keyboard, the part that rests against the leg or a table is covered with a rubber coating type “Soft Touch”. The set offers a better feeling of rigidity and strength that the keyboard of the Surface Pro 4 and finishing textile fashion. Apart from this, the two keyboards are very close regarding the size of the keys, their arrangement or size of the touchpad. The HP Spectre x2 includes a pair of speakers that are activated when the keyboard is connected to the screen. The speakers are signed Bang & Olufsen. The mark puts his name but has neither designed nor made these speakers. They respect a fair precise specifications.

None of these keyboards is ideal for a long day of work, but they are very suitable for short typing sessions.

While some hybrid tablets use simple flat crutches that come off the back panel, the Spectre x2 adopts a U-design is released by pressing a on the left side button. It is surprising that this complexity is revealed rather impractical compared to the simplicity unanimously hailed the Microsoft system. The button in question is hard to handle and hard to find if you do not know where to look. The stand itself is steep and impossible to deploy with one hand. All employees of the laboratory of eLaptopComputer which we did try had trouble figuring out how to unfold.

The 12-inch screen displays 1920 x1208 pixels (Full HD). The Surface Pro 4 does better with 2736 x 1824 pixels and made a little brighter. However, the Spectre x2 screen is quite satisfactory and its IPS panel offers a clear picture with very good viewing angles. As the Surface Pro 4, it can be used with the supplied stylus. However, HP’s hybrid computer has something that does not have the Microsoft machine, but that should appear in many new laptops and tablets this year: the 3D camera RealSense Intel. It detects the depth of field and can scan en3D objects using the associated application.


The new port USB Type-C is spread gradually on the new high-end machines, runs for data, video and power. Another advantage, the connector is reversible so that one does not have to worry about the direction of connection. The problem is that there is currently not a lot of accessories and compatible devices USB Type-C. Result, it is necessary to bring adapters. HP provides a USB to USB-C. The situation should however change rapidly and it is only a transitional phase.

The other choice a bit avant-garde is one of the second generation Core M processor. These chips are located halfway between the Atom, which equips the entry level Core i systems and which are the most common and most powerful. The Core M is designed to run without active cooling system (fan) with a parsimonious power consumption, at least in theory. For the first Core M systems that we tested in 2014 and 2015 were far from expectations in matters of autonomy and performance.

Its teething problems (at least hopefully) does not prevent more and more manufacturers to turn to the Core M. Le Spectre x2 is the first model equipped with the second generation of this chip we try. This is a Core m7 high end team our test x2, but there are versions m3 and m5.

One thing is sure, this new version of Intel shows real progress compared to the previous. The Spectre x2 has been as swift and responsive as laptops to 1,000 euros when it was read issue of the streaming video, to open multiple applications and tabs in the Internet browser. We have not noticed slowdown or lag during our test. Which is impossible to say with the MacBook 12 “Apple. The new Core m7 easily removable on the old MacBook Core million. In comparison, it is placed at the Core i5 of the Surface Pro 4.

About autonomy, the HP Spectre x2 turns out better than the tablet Microsoft: 7:17 min continuous playback and video streaming 6:05 min. This does not represent quite a day’s work but should be enough for a long flight or train.

HP took Microsoft at its own game by taking the best aspects of the area range and offering them at a competitive price. The manufacturer supplies his x2 spectrum with a keyboard included. The result is a thin, solid tablet that turns into something close to a laptop that you can use when you need to type something on the keyboard. We regret the design of the stand and release button. But the price / configuration between the Surface Pro 4 and x2 spectrum is to the advantage of the latter.