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HP Spectre x360 13 vs. Lenovo Yoga C930: Which is the best laptop and tablet in one

These are two of the best small premium convertible laptops you can buy at the moment. Here's how they match up.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're shopping for a premium ultraportable two-in-one, you've got several great options to choose from, including the updated Dell XPS 13 two-in-one announced earlier this week. The two best at the moment though are HP's Spectre x360 13 and Lenovo's Yoga C930. 

Both of these convertible laptops (they have 360-degree hinges so they can be used as a laptop or tablet and in other positions) start at more than $1,000, putting them into premium PC territory. The higher prices get you a better caliber of components, higher-quality materials for the chassis and specialty features you won't find on the companies' more mainstream models. With these, the focus is on delivering top-notch performance and battery life in the thinnest and lightest body, making them good choices for frequent travelers and commuters or students. 

Honestly, both of these are excellent machines that won't disappoint if they meet your performance needs. But, if you're not sure which way to go, here are the key differences that'll help you pick the right one. 

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page. 

16-lenovo-yoga-c930

Yoga C930

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sophisticated and stately

HP and Lenovo both used design for better usability. With the Yoga, for example, Lenovo redesigned the 360-degree hinge to house speakers so that no matter how the screen is positioned you have clear audio. 

On the Spectre, HP notched out the two rear corners of the body and put the power button on the left and a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port on the right. The button placement makes it easy to find when you need it and avoid pressing it when you don't, while the USB-C port position, which is also used for charging, lets you keep cables out of the way. 

Both models look clean and professional, though the HP's gem-cut edges and copper or brass accents give it more visual pop than the Lenovo's buttoned-up chassis design. Each has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single USB-A 3.1 port, though HP includes a microSD card slot as well.  

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The Spectre's corner Thunderbolt 3 port lets you keep the charging cable out of the way. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

For those worried about webcam privacy, these laptops have ways to instantly block them from possible prying eyes. The Yoga has a physical shutter that slides in front of the cam with the flick of a fingernail. HP put a kill switch on the right side that completely cuts power to the cam. For those more concerned about someone peeping what's on your screen than hacking your webcam, the Spectre x360's display can be upgraded to one with the company's Sure View technology that blocks off-angle viewing at the push of a button. 

One last thing worth mentioning is Lenovo and HP include an active pen for drawing and writing on the screen with these laptops. HP's is a full-size pen that stows in a loop on its leather laptop sleeve, which is also included, and is powered by a AAAA-size battery. Lenovo's pen is skinny and slightly longer than a crayon, similar to Samsung's S Pen. However, it fits into a garage on the rear of the laptop body that keeps it charged and solves the "I never have that pen when I need it" problem. 

You've got options

Unlike competing premium two-in-ones from Samsung and LG, the Spectre x360 and Yoga C930 can be customized to your needs through HP and Lenovo or picked up preconfigured from major retailers like Best Buy and Amazon. Both are available with eighth-gen quad-core Intel Core i7 processors with integrated graphics, up to 16GB of onboard memory and up to a 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 drive in the Yoga or a 2TB PCIe NVMe M.2 drive in the HP. You can get either with a full HD or 4K ultra HD displays.

There are two things HP offers that Lenovo doesn't, however. The first is the aforementioned Sure View privacy screen. The other is Gigabit 4G LTE mobile broadband. Need a laptop that's connected to the web the second you open it up and turn it on? The HP Spectre x360 is your only choice here. 

Now playing: Watch this: HP's Spectre x360 puts a premium on design and battery...
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In the Yoga's favor, though, is screen size. The Spectre has a 13.3-inch display, while the Yoga has a 13.9-inch display. The additional screen space increases the body size to 12.7x8.9 inches (322x227 mm) compared to the HP's 12.2x8.6 inches (309x218 mm). Each weighs about 3 pounds (1.4 kg), by the way, and are approximately 0.6-inch thick (14.5 mm). 

SPECS COMPARISON


HP Spectre x360 13-ap0013dx Lenovo Yoga C930
Price as reviewed $1,350 $1,200
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display 13.9-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display
CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
PC Memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz 12GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
See it on Best Buy Amazon

Solid performance, even better battery life

The configurations we reviewed for these models were evenly matched and as such performed about the same on our benchmarks and anecdotal tests. As noted in their reviews, their components are geared for average home and office uses such as word processing, web browsing and email. But they have enough muscle to push through more demanding work, assuming it's not too graphics intensive. 

They won't get bogged down with a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome while other applications run in the background. Streaming video and music are no problem either. And they'll handle casual photo and video editing without choking as well as some casual gaming. 

Now playing: Watch this: Lenovo's Yoga C930 is the ultraportable 2-in-1 we've...
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Battery life is where these two just kill it, though. When we reviewed the C930 it reached 12 hours, 26 minutes on CNET's streaming video test -- one of the best times we'd ever recorded for a laptop. Then we reviewed the Spectre x360, which blew right past it reaching 13 hours, 18 minutes. That's the second longest battery time we've recorded: LG's larger 15.6-inch Gram 15 beat it by 40 minutes.

Coin flip?

Both the Spectre x360 and Yoga are excellent premium ultraportable two-in-ones. HP and Lenovo offer similar configuration options that result in unsurprisingly similar performance. They even cost about the same, though the slightly older C930 might be a better deal in some instances at this point. Much of what separates them comes down to design, features and what you need from a laptop. 

Lenovo Yoga C930

Best overall premium 2-in-1

Sarah Tew/CNET

The C930 is the best premium two-in-one for most people. The larger display gives you more room for your work, movies, sketches and presentations without greatly increasing the laptop's size. The 360-degree soundbar hinge adds functionality to what's just a hinge on other models. Also, while you might not be sold on using an active pen yet, you're more likely to use it if it's charged and within reach whenever you need it.

Add in excellent performance and battery life and you've got a convertible that's tough to beat. 

$1,180 at Amazon
Read Lenovo Yoga C930 Review

HP Spectre x360 13

Best for mobility

Sarah Tew/CNET

With its smaller, lighter body and longer battery life, the Spectre x360 13 is perhaps a better option for frequent travelers. It's also likely to be a more comfortable fit if you plan to use it a lot handheld in tablet mode. The more compact screen makes it slightly less awkward and the full-size active pen is generally more comfortable for extended use. It's also the only one that offers adding 4G LTE wireless as an option. 

HP offers several configurations and three display options including one with its Sure View privacy feature. The low-power full-HD touchscreen we tested helped it run for more than 13 hours on our streaming-video battery test -- roughly an hour longer than the Yoga.

$1,170 at HP
Read HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2019) Review

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