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HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch vs Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)

HP just added to its Spectre lineup with the Spectre x360 13.5-inch 2-in-1 laptop. But how does it compare to one of our five-star laptops, the Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)?

HP just released a new batch of laptops, with new entries to the Envy line – including the new HP Envy 16-inch and Envy 17.3-inch – and two new entries to the Spectre line. While we haven’t had the chance to cover the Spectre x360 15.3-inch, we did get a good look at the Spectre x360 13.5-inch laptop, and it looks to be a pretty impressive device.

But how does the latest Spectre compare to one of our favourite productivity laptops, the five-star Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)? Since we haven’t been able to fully review the Spectre x360 13.5-inch we can’t offer our final verdict on how it compares to the ruling XPS. But we will be covering the design, screen and specs of both laptops; read on to find out how they stack up based on our current impressions of the new HP.

Pricing and availability

The Dell XPS 13 was released last year, with the cheapest variation available to buy from the Dell website for around $1,000/£1,000. While this price can be increased by upgrading the specs we will only be focusing on the cheapest variation, since we only know the starting price for the Spectre x360 13.5-inch.

HP’s latest laptop is expected to be available to purchase this month and has a starting price of $1,249.99. Since we don’t know the top price, we can’t say which model is overall more expensive, though we can say that the starting price for the Spectre x360 13.5-inch costs a bit more than the XPS 13.

Design

The XPS 13 has a wafer-thin bezel and is overall very thin, housing only two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a MicroSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. As noted in our review, this thin and slender frame gives it a very professional look, with a sturdier build than you may expect, since it weighs in at only 1.27kg.

We liked the keyboard and trackpad, with our reviewer finding both were responsive and comfortable to use. There is also a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button, which makes it even easier to quickly log in to Windows.

Unlike the Spectre x360 13.5-inch, there is only one colourway for the XPS 13: platinum silver with black carbon fibre palm rest. We really liked the choice of three colourways for the Spectre x360, with the Nocturne Blue colourway, in particular, having a distinct and stylish look that helps it stand out next to the usual silver and grey laptop colour options.

The Hp Spectre x360 lay flat with the HP Tilt Pen
HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch

The Spectre x360 also houses more ports than the XPS 13: two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, SuperSpeed USB Type-A, a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. This is more ideal for creatives or people that need to transfer large amounts of data or video content, though it does mean that the laptop is slightly chunkier.

Weighing in at 1.3kg, it is slightly heavier than the XPS 13, though we would expect them both to work well as on the go machines due to the small frames, making them both ideal for anyone who is currently hybrid working.

Display

The XPS 13 comes with an OLED panel, which results in superior contrast and improved colour coverage when compared to standard laptop screen technology. According to our review, the screen produced natural and varied colours and picked up some small details like the ripples of the ocean, which made media more immersive overall.

The 13.4-inch display has a 3.5K resolution and in our testing, we found that the colourimeter recording was impressive, with the sRGB, Adobe RGB and DC-P3 scores coming out at 90%, 94.7% and 97.4%, respectively. This means that it can produce enough colours to accurately display photos and video, which is crucial for media professionals or people looking to engage in creative work.

Dell XPS 13 OLED
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Spectre x360 has three different display options, but we will focus on the high-end variation for now. The 13.5-inch OLED display packs a 3000×2000 resolution and has a 500 nit cap when looking at HDR content, with a quoted 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. Since we haven’t been able to fully review this laptop, we can’t comment on the screen in full, but from our short time with the Spectre x360, it looked like a bright and vibrant screen that captured colours accurately.

Both laptops have touchscreen capabilities, though the Spectre x360 does come bundled with the HP Tilt Pen, which should make it easier for creatives to start doodling and taking notes out of the box. The Spectre x360 also packs a 360-degree hinge, as the name implies, which may make it the better choice for creatives that want to use the laptop as a tablet to draw and write.

Performance and battery

Since we haven’t been able to test the HP Spectre x360, we can only comment on the specs. There are two processor flavours: 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1255 and 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1235U. We would expect the i7 variation to work best for creative work, and since it is built on the Intel Evo platform, it should have speedy load up times and smooth performance.

Both the laptops come with Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which is an integrated GPU, meaning that it won’t be as graphically powerful as a discrete GPU. This does not mean that neither laptop can not be used for drawing and software like Adobe Photoshop, though it may not be able to smoothly handle high-intensity tasks, like 4K editing or 3D rendering.

Our review also mentioned that the XPS 13 can dabble in some taxing creative tasks like Photoshop, though it easily blazes through productivity tasks like browsing the web and sending emails. In terms of CPU, the XPS 13 also comes in two flavours: 11th-Generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 and 11th-Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7.

Since the Spectre x360 is a more recent product, it’s not surprising that it comes with the most recent generation of processors. We can’t attest to how much better the 12th-Gen chips perform in this laptop compared to the XPS 13, but we would expect it to run faster and smoother, thanks to the increased number of cores and improved architecture.

The Spectre x360 can be configured with up to 32GB LPDDR4 RAM and up to 2TB PCle storage, which is the same top specs as the XPS 13. These storage options should be more than enough for most people, especially people using these laptops for productivity.

In our PCMark 10 battery testing, we found that the XPS 13 lasted 7 hours and 22 minutes. HP claims that the Spectre x360 can last up to 16 hours during mixed usage, but we have not been able to test out these claims.

Early verdict

Since we haven’t tested out the HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch2-in-1, we can’t give a conclusive verdict on if it is better than the Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021). However, the Spectre x360 does feature the most recent Intel Core CPUs and can be configured up to an i7 processor, which should be speedier and smoother to use than the XPS 13s 11th-Gen processor.

The Spectre x360 looks to be a better choice for creatives, since it comes with the HP Tilt Pen and has a 360-degree hinge, however, it should also work great as a productivity device. As an early verdict, we would recommend the Spectre x360, due to its updated internals and multiple form factors, which the XPS 13 does not have.

Specs

You can see a detailed breakdown of both laptops’ specs in the table below.

UK RRP
USA RRP
CPU
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Front Camera
Battery
Battery Hours
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Audio (Power output)
GPU
RAM
Connectivity
Colours
Display Technology
Screen Technology
Touch Screen
Convertible?

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