The HP Spectre X2 12-a009nr has been a favorite among folks who need the performance of a full-fledged Windows PC, put portability and great design are must haves. So far, the Spectre X2 has managed to check all those boxes, and its younger sibling the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr adds affordability to the sleek design and portability.
It will appeal to you if you fancy a touch-screen tablet in a full fledged Windows 10 PC that you can easily carry around. It has a speedy, but power-efficient Intel Core M3 processor, 4G LTE capability and is packed with a full-size mechanical keyboard cover. This Windows tablet is one of those lightweight gadgets that will suffice for anyone on the move, but comes with niceties such as a full HD, In-Plane Switching (IPS) screen and a great design.
Ideally, I can’t argue that the Spectre x2 is the ideal PC for everyone, but one thing am sure about, it that it’s a solid laptop alternative for anyone who needs to type often, but portability is a must-have in the laptop of choice, thus, the tablet form factor us hard to pass by.
Design and Features
With the Spectre x2, HP takes on a detachable 2-in-1 design and does it in style. The tablet and keyboard are black, gray and silver with hints of polished chrome that complement each other without becoming distracting. The brushed metal is a pleasure to touch, and when you add its smooth, rounded edges, you have a system that’s hard to put down.
The detachable keyboard attaches via HP’s proprietary magnetic connector and features a solid metal back, which gives it a sturdier typing experience, especially on uneven surfaces like your lap.
In back, HP has put its own twist on the kickstand by switching out the big metal flap seen on Microsoft’s Surfaces for a gleaming, U-shaped loop that pops out from a similarly shaped recess. The problem is that when you want to use the kickstand, you need to press a superstiff slide release on the left side of the system. This annoying issue isn’t present on the more business-minded HP x2 Elite, which has a kickstand that you simply pull down.
Measuring 11.81 x 8.23 x 0.31 inches and 1.87 pounds without its keyboard, the Spectre x2 is barely thinner but actually slightly larger and heavier than its closest competitor, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 (11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches and 1.76 pounds).
When you add on the detachable keyboards, the story remains the same for size and weight, but the Surface reclaims the lead in thinness with the x2, measuring 11.81 x 8.23 x 0.52 and 2.68 pounds versus 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.43 inches and 2.37 pounds for the SP4.
This laptop might be slim, but the Spectre 12 is kitted with some high-specification components. With a Skylake-based Intel Core m3-6Y30 dual-core processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics 515. Like the Core i5 line, the Core M3 processors are top-of-the-line CPUs with the best performance. In Q4 (2016) we’ve seen Kaby Lake processor that are trickling into the mobile category boasting of solid performance and unmatched energy efficiency. This chip has base speeds of 0.9GHz but can clock a maximum of 2.2GHz when thermal conditions allow. Paired with 4GB memory it’s a speedy laptop, far faster than laptops with previous generation Core M processors like the Dell Latitude 13 7350 and even Core i7-powered laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 900.
With this configuration, the Spectre 12 handles less intensive tasks such as web browsing and photo editing with ease, and while it is possible to edit videos, this laptop lacks a dedicated GPU and isn’t designed for such tasks, therefore not a viable replacement for a more powerful laptop or desktop.
For a super-slim laptop powered by integrated Intel HD Graphics 515, graphics performance is at the bare-minimum. It will have you play basic 3D games and smartphone game ports, but push it any harder and it will struggle. I was able to play a few session of Minecraft at 60fps without glitches, though.
Battery life was very good at 9 hours 34 minutes on our rundown test. That will make it possible for you to watch movies and TV shows during a cross-country flight, with plenty of power left over for when you land. That’s still behind the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (10:19) and the Lenovo Yoga 900 (10:56), but better than the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi (5:54) and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (8:19).
The Spectre x2 undercuts its competitors with a lower price that includes a keyboard in the box (and it’s a very comfortable keyboard, at that). Still, for more money you could buy a similar product with faster performance, longer battery life and a sharper screen. That means the x2 is a good deal for the money, but not the best in its class.