It’s incredibly handy and light, but it’s not for everyone

Whenever I come back from an overseas trip, my back is usually sore from carrying a heavy bag. Because of the nature of the job, I’m forced to carry a notebook along with all the essential crap that comes with it even on personal trips. It’s especially brutal whenever we have to cover big events like COMPUTEX, IFA or MWC – it’s not unusual for both Jamie and I to lug around backpacks weighing 5 kilos or more for hours on end.

But for the first time in recent memory, I can home from an overseas trip without an aching back. The big change? I was lugging around HP’s Spectre X2, a convertible that’s incredibly thin and light. It was a great change of pace, but it wasn’t without its quirks.

What is it?

The HP Spectre X2 is essentially a 2-in-1 convertible, fancy-talk for a Windows 10 tablet that’s able to double as a notebook of sorts via a detachable keyboard. All of the PC’s guts are in tablet which houses the display, with the keyboard being a detachable accessory that you can get rid of when you don’t need it.

The idea behind a 2-in-1 isn’t new. Microsoft popularized the idea of a full-fledged, Windows-powered 2-in-1 with their Surface line back in 2013.

How does it look?

Pretty good. The Spectre X2 doesn’t have a lot of visual flairs aside from the gold accents on the HP logo at the rear of the tablet and the kickstand.

The device sports a light gray finish on both the tablet and keyboard, which gives the device an understated, corporate feel.

People familiar with Microsoft’s own Surface offering may see distinct design similarities between it and the Spectre X2. The front speakers, the 3:2 aspect ratio and 3000 x 2000 resolution display are also present in Microsoft’s offering.

But if you think about it, those design cues make sense in a device like the Spectre X2. Front facing speakers are necessary for a 2-in-1 since there’s not enough space in the chassis for traditional speakers. Its orientation delivers better, fuller sound than rear-firing ones (it doesn’t hurt that they’re made by Bang and Olufsen). The 3:2 aspect ratio gives people more space to browse websites, write in Microsoft Word and peruse Excel spreadsheets, things that the intended audience of the Spectre X2 plan to use it with.

HP didn’t just outright copy Microsoft’s design without improving it. There are two USB Type-C connectors on either side of the Spectre X2. Most 2-in-1’s usually just had one – Microsoft’s Surface has 0.

HP also includes a dongle that allows you to plug in an HDMI display as well as a regular USB A cable. There’s another USB C to A adapter in the package as well if you need an extra one to plug in another peripheral aside from your mouse.

HP also includes a free stylus if you want to use the Spectre X2 to draw.

Overall the Spectre X2 is incredibly light, topping out at around a kilo with the included keyboard. That is light enough that it won’t be encumbering you when you stuff it in your bag while traveling.

How’s the keyboard?

Top-notch. One of the things we hate about 2-in-1s are the keyboards that come with them. They’re usually not the best when it comes to overall travel distance and sucks when you’re trying to write long documents.

The Spectre X2’s keyboard was nothing like that. In fact, it has one of the best keyboards we’ve used in a 2-in-1. Overall keyboard travel is excellent, it’s backlit for easier use when you’re traveling and has good spacing. We usually dread writing long reviews like this one on keyboards of 2-in-1s, but that’s not the case for the Spectre X2.

It’s a little different for the trackpad. While it’s smooth and glassy, we found its performance erratic at times. You’ll probably be better served with either a Bluetooth mouse or a wired mouse connected via the dongle.

How’s the performance?

The Spectre X2 comes in a variety of configurations, with our review sporting an Intel Core i5-7260U 2.2G2hz processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Graphics are delivered by an Intel Iris Plus 640 GPU.

The hardware in this small, handy notebook is enough to power you through most, if not all productivity apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. A gaming notebook this is not, so forget about trying to use it for gaming purposes.

The notebook can handle light photo editing, and the notebook will begrudgingly run video editing apps like Adobe Premiere but take note you’ll be stretching its hardware to the very limit.

What about the rest of the notebook?

The sound is great from the two front-facing speakers. They get a little distorted near its maximum output, but in their sweet spot, they deliver good sound. The hinge is nice and stable and doesn’t move even if you shift the device around your table.

One annoying thing we did notice is that the Spectre X2 gets noisy since it still uses fans to cool the internals.

Does it last all day?

Not exactly. HP quotes a battery life of around 9 hours for the Spectre X2, but in reality, we got around 6 to 7 hours before it gave up the ghost. Don’t fret though – the USB Type-C fast charger gets the battery up quickly from 0 to 50 percent in just 30 minutes, so you won’t have a lot of downtime waiting for this thing to charge back up.

Should you buy it?

It depends on your needs. The HP Spectre X2 is a great little notebook for people constantly on the go and require lightweight gear for maximum comfort. It’s a great productivity tool, lasts quite a bit and has a nice display for you to work on.

If you’re not constantly on the move, its Php 79,990 price tag is hard to swallow. There’s plenty of other more powerful notebooks in the market for that price, though none as versatile or light as the Spectre X2.

HP Spectre X2 (2017)

  • Intel Core i5-7260U 2.2G2hz processor/Intel Core i7-7560U 2.4Ghz processor
  • Intel Iris Plus 640 GPU
  • Up to 16GB of RAM
  • 12.3-inch QHD touch-enabled and stylus supported display, 3000 x 2000 resolution
    Up to 1TB of HDD storage
  • 2x USB Type-C ports, microSD slot
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Windows 10