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Christmas Gift Guide

Increased pressure sensitivity

Tablet mode

Improved kickstand

Connectors

Connectors redux

Stylus holder

Magnetic attraction

Tear-off keyboard

All dark ash and copper

Keyboard

165-degree kickstand

Touchpad

B&O-tuned speakers

Windows Creators Edition support

Vents

Back camera

The backside

Bundled pleather case

A nice size and weight

In use

Stylus

Stylus

HP Active Pen

Into the pleather!

Keyboard

Back with stylus

Profile

HP Active Stylus

Inking position

Another profile

Hinge

In use

The updated Spectre x2 brings its N-Trig stylus support into line with the rest of the midlevel 2-in-1 crowd, including 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

As a tablet, its 3:2 aspect-ratio display makes it feel more natural and better for using vertically than a typical 16:9 model. HP also moved the speakers to the front from the sides -- those two long divots in the upper corners -- for better acoustics.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

HP got rid of the irritating switch you had to use to flip out the kickstand. Now it operates smoothly, and it's solid enough to remain steady as you pound the keyboard.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

On one side it has a volume control and a USB-C connector.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

On the left side there's another USB-C connector, headphone jack and a microSD card slot. 

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard section has a loop to carry the stylus; it would be nice if it could attach to the magnet on the side of the tablet section, too, for when you aren't carrying the keyboard. But there's no metal in or on it.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard and tablet sections connect magnetically, which makes it easy to quickly attach them.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The tear-off keyboard makes it a 2-in-1.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Like the rest of the Spectre line, it comes only in the elegant brown and copper tones. You can see that it's a smudge magnet on the back, though.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

I like HP's recent keyboards a lot, and the aluminum-over-plastic version in the Spectre x2 has nice travel and bounce in the keys, but no flex in the keyboard. 

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The stylus is optimized to use with Windows Ink, and HP redesigned the kickstand to tilt at a more obtuse angle for inking.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

HP doesn't use Windows Precision Touchpad technology, instead sticking with Synaptics' solution.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Like its predecessor (and every other HP), the x2 has B&O-tuned speakers. 

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

One inking use is screenshot annotation. Here, I'm using it to hide the Windows bloatware I'd rather not promote.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

It still uses two fans to dissipate heat through these vents on the top, but I've yet to hear them. That's the power button on the right side.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

HP moved the IR camera from the back -- where it was used for sensing -- to the front, for use with Windows Hello.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

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Seriously, I wish the photographer would remind me to moisturize my hands before doing these shoots.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

This is how far you can hold the stylus above the surface of the tablet and still be recognized.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

The same stylus that comes with all of HP's 2017 stylus-enabled devices is bundled with the Spectre x2.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

It's backlit, which is really nice if, like me, you prefer to work in the dark.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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