HP Spectre x360 (2016) review: My favorite backflipping laptop

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The Good Two years running, the HP Spectre x360 offers incredible value for the money. Its slim, premium aluminum frame houses a speedy processor, comfortable keyboard and touchpad, plenty of full-size ports, a beautiful touchscreen and a surprising amount of battery life under the hood.

The Bad While attractive, it's a little chunkier than some of the competition. The glossy screen can generate distracting reflections -- the price you pay for touch -- and the 15-inch model's speakers sound muddy.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a full-featured Windows laptop with major bang for the buck, the HP Spectre x360 is it.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 9
  • Battery 8

"Which Windows laptop should you buy?" That's no longer a tough question: these days, I almost always recommend a Dell XPS 13 or an HP Spectre x360. When these notebooks first hit shelves last year, they offered more style and performance than we'd ever seen for under $1,000.

In 2016, none of that has changed. The only difference is a new generation of Intel processors that are slightly faster. And I like it that way.

Update, November 2016: While this Spectre x360 is still on sale -- and this is the one I prefer! -- you should also check out my review of my review of HP's newer, slimmer model.


The 13-inch HP Spectre x360.

Josh Miller/CNET

Starting at $999 (£849, AU$1,999), the 13-inch HP Spectre x360 has everything I need in a thin-and-light laptop. I don't ask for much: just a comfortable, lightweight machine with great looks, long battery life, plenty of speed and an excellent selection of ports.

I've been using the Spectre x360 for weeks now, and it ticks every one of those boxes. It's like an Apple MacBook Air with a slightly worse touchpad, but more connectivity and a far better screen -- one that bends over backwards to become a Windows 10 tablet in a pinch. Literally.

One big difference for 2016: there's a new 15-inch model that starts at $1,149. I tried both the 13- and 15-inch models, and they're practically identical. That's a very good thing. (From here on out, you can assume my notes apply to both models unless I specifically say otherwise.)