- Page 1 HP Spectre x360 15
- Page 2 Performance and Battery Life
HP Spectre x360 15 – Performance
The Spectre x360 15 may be priced similarly to the Dell XPS 15, but don’t mistake them for having identical specs. Dell’s premium laptop comes equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, but the Spectre makes do with a dual-core Core i7. It isn’t as bad as it sounds, however. The Core i7-7500U is a decent chip that you’ll find in the Dell XPS 13, with a similar processor inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well.
Related: Intel Core i explained
It’s great for basic tasks such as editing photos and HD video, and its up-to 3.5GHz clock speed is great for quick tasks such as loading programs and web pages. But it loses marks for its lack of cores, and will perform tasks such as exporting videos far more slowly than its quad-core rivals.
This can be seen in its Geekbench 4 Multi-Core score, which tests a chip’s ability to perform complex tasks. The Dell XPS 15 scored 13,259, while the HP here managed just 8030. It did at least beat the Dell XPS 13’s 7675, and the base model 13-inch MacBook Pro’s 6947.
Dedicated graphics, in the form of Nvidia’s ageing GTX 940MX GPU are paired with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. This is by no means a gaming laptop, but the GPU does at least grant you access to some older 3D games at playable frame rates – if you’re happy to drop to Low settings and a lower-than-Full HD resolution.
Dirt Rally, for example, runs at 50fps at the Medium preset and Full HD resolution. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor managed 30fps at Low settings at Full HD. These scores are playable, but not exactly beautiful. For the money, the GTX 1050 in the Dell XPS 15 is a far more competitive piece of kit.
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The 512GB SSD is a PCI-Express (PCIe) model, which means it’s substantially faster than the standard SATA SSD’s you’ll find in cheaper laptops. In the CrystalDiskMark benchmark I measured the SSD’s peak read and write speeds at 2986 and 1301MB/sec. This is incredibly quick, and it’s most obvious benefit is how long it takes to boot: less than 15 seconds from power-on to log-in.
In terms of bloatware, HP has pre-loaded McAfee LiveSafe, which I uninstalled immediately. There are also a few bits of HP software, one for the stylus, one for the warranty, and the aforementioned audio tuner. You also get Candy Crush Soda Saga pre-installed, along with Netflix and a game called March of Empires. Although all of it is easy to uninstall, I’d have preferred for none of it to be there at all.
HP Spectre x360 15 – Battery Life
With its power-sipping processor and generous chassis, you won’t be surprised to discover that the Spectre x360 15’s battery life is really rather good.
In our simple Powermark benchmark that we run on every laptop for consistency, it managed 9hrs 45mins at 150-nits screen brightness with Wi-Fi switched on. For my uses, which includes having multiple browser tabs open at once, music streaming and a bit of YouTube, I saw closer to seven hours at a little over half brightness. You could stretch to eight if you turned down the screen brightness and cut down on the browser tabs.
In an hour of Netflix streaming at 150-nits brightness, the Spectre consumed 15% of its battery, which points to around 7 hours of non-stop streaming.
Should I buy the HP Spectre x360 15?
There aren’t many laptops out there such as this Spectre. A 15.6-inch, 360-degree-hinge power laptop with dedicated graphics is a rare thing, and for that reason HP has carved out a bit of a niche for itself.
But it’s exactly that – a niche. It does everything well and comes in at a just-about-reasonable price. If you’re after a big, 360-degree-hinge laptop with stylus, the HP Spectre x360 15 is the best on the market right now. Of the laptops we’ve reviewed, the Acer Spin 7 is in the same price bracket but is less powerful; however, it’s also smaller and lighter, and so worth a look.
If you want more power for the same money and weight, and don’t need a 360-degree screen, then the Dell XPS 15 is a more sensible choice.
A beautiful hybrid laptop with a great screen.
Score in detail
Screen Quality 8
Build Quality 9
Heat & Noise 8
Battery Life 8