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Christmas Gift Guide

HP Spectre x360 (2016)

HP Spectre x360 (2016)

The HP Spectre x360 is one of our favorite lightweight laptops. It's got a few tricks up its sleeve...

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

...like the ability to bend backward into a touchscreen tablet you can read like a magazine.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Or perhaps for watching movies.

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I like to prop up the Spectre x360 vertically, so it rests on my lap, while I use the touchscreen. But that's only one of the tricks in the Spectre x360's repertoire...

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The other trick? Just how much value HP crammed into a $1,000 laptop. I really like the spacious keyboard and touchpad, even if they're not quite up to the Apple MacBook Pro standard...

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...in fact, I wrote every word of my review on the Spectre x360's keyboard.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Did I mention it's a backlit keyboard, too?

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

And considering how thin and light this laptop is (around 3.2 pounds), it's got an impressive number of ports. Three USB 3.0, a full-size HDMI, a Mini DisplayPort, and a full-size SD card reader. Oh, and a nice big battery that gave me six hours of real-world use.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

But all of that was true last year. What's new for 2016? How about a new 15-inch model to accompany the 13-incher?

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The 15-incher costs a little more, and is definitely a bit bulkier, but it's just as good in practically every way save its muddy speakers. The screen is notably larger, and you can opt for a 4K screen instead of 1080p.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

As far as connectivity goes, the only difference with ports is that the 15-incher adds a USB-C jack on the right side, in case you've got some USB-C phones or peripherals.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The hinge also seemed a wee bit tighter on the 15-inch model, but that could have just been my review unit.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Both machines have a nice big vent on the left to help keep them cool. Neither got very hot during my weeks using them.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

I'm happy that at least one of the USB ports is on the left. The flush power button on the left is a little weird, but it's nice and stiff. I haven't had the laptop accidentally turn on while it's in my bag yet.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The logos differ a bit between the 15- and 13-inchers.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

And only the 15-incher comes with this delightfully tiny power adapter. The adapters are interchangeable between the two laptops, though -- I'd probably buy one of these separately if I picked the 13-incher.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

If you've got quite a bit more to spend, the highest-end model of the 13-inch Spectre x360 comes in this lovely black finish with copper trim. It's really, really good looking as far as I'm concerned.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Copper on black > silver on silver, in my opinion.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Either way, though, the Spectre x360 is guaranteed to turn heads at your local coffee shop. People have definitely walked up to me and asked which laptop I was using, and they've been surprised when I say HP.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Hey, who's that handsome gentleman?

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Do you really want to know what the bottom of the Spectre x360 looks like? Here it is!

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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