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HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch vs MacBook Pro

HP just added the Spectre x360 13.5-inch 2-in-1 to its line-up. But how does this compare to the king of laptops, the MacBook Pro?

HP just came out with a line of new Spectre and Envy laptops, including the Envy 16-inch, the Envy 17.3-inch and the Envy x360 13.5-inch 2-in-1. But what caught our eye was the new HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch 2-in-1 laptop, which looks like a great productivity device.

But how does that compare to one of our five-star laptops, the Apple MacBook Pro (2021)? It’s important to note that even though there are two MacBook Pro variations, at 14 and 16-inches, we will only be focusing on the 14-inch here.

Plus, since we haven’t been able to fully review the Spectre x360 this will just be an early comparison based on our brief time with the new HP and longer experience using the MacBook Pro.

Pricing and availability

The MacBook Pro was released last year, with the cheapest 14-inch variation costing $1899/£1899. This price can be increased by upgrading to higher specs, but we will only be focusing on the cheapest variation since we only know the starting price of the Spectre x360.

The HP Spectre x360 should be available to purchase this month and will start at $1249.99. Since we don’t know the top price we can’t say how expensive this laptop can get, though we would expect that the MacBook Pro comes out as overall more expensive.

Design

In terms of design, these laptops sport a similar sleek aesthetic. The Macbook Pro has three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, HDMI 2.0, an SDXC card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Our reviewer really liked the keyboard, noting that there is plenty of travel and well-sized backlit keys.

We also liked the large haptic trackpad, though the MacBook Pro is missing out in terms of colourways, as this model only comes in silver and grey.

The Spectre x360, on the other hand, comes in three colourways, with Nocturne Blue standing out due to its deep colour and professional look. We really liked how much personality these colours had and how it helps this laptop stand out next to the usual grey models.

The HP Spectre x360 13.3 laptop at a press event
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews) HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch 2-in-1

HP also included a fair few ports on the laptop: two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, SuperSpeed USB Type-A, a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. This is ideal for anyone wanting to move across large amounts of data or video content, but it is missing the HDMI 2.0 port that’s included on Apple’s laptop.

In terms of weight, the Spectre x360 comes in at 1.3kg while the MacBook Pro weighs 1.6kg. The difference is negligible, and we would expect both devices to work well for any hybrid workers or people that are always travelling.

Display

The MacBook Pro slimmed down its bezels and added a notch, which we noted didn’t interfere with our work whatsoever during testing. The 14-inch Mini-LED display features Liquid Retina XDR and can deliver a constant 1000 nits of brightness and 1600 when you’re watching HDR content.

We thought that the MacBook offered up deep blacks and bright whites with great contrast, with the resolution sitting at 3456 x 2234. It also comes with 120Hz ProMotion, which ramps up the refresh rate when required, like when you’re watching a movie or quickly moving between tabs, and drops it down low when it’s not needed to save battery.

MacBook Pro M1 Pro 16-inch open on table
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews) Apple MacBook Pro

The Spectre x360 actually has three different display choices, but we will be focusing on the high-end option for now. The 13.5 OLED display has a 3000 x 2000 resolution and a 500 nit cap when you’re viewing HDR content, with a quoted 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. Since we haven’t fully tested out the laptop, we can’t make any definitive comments on the screen, but during our short test, we thought that the screen looked bright and the colours looked vibrant.

Unlike the MacBook, the Spectre is touchscreen and comes bundled with the HP Tilt Pen, so people can start writing notes and doodling out of the box. It also has a 360-degree hinge that can transform the traditional clamshell shape into a tablet, again making it easier for creatives to draw.

Performance and battery

Since we haven’t tested out the Spectre x360, we can only comment on the specs. There are two choices when it comes to processors: 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1255 and 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1235U. Anyone looking to engage in more intensive creative work should probably go with the i7 variation, though we would still expect the i5 to perform well since it is built on the Intel Evo platform, it should also have speedy load up times and smooth performance.

The Spectre uses Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which is an integrated GPU, which is usually less powerful than a discrete GPU. This doesn’t mean that the HP laptop cannot be used for content creation like drawing and Photoshop, though we wouldn’t expect it to be able to handle high-intensity tasks like 3D rendering or 4K video editing.

The MacBook Pro can either be configured with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chipset, which is Apple’s own solution. Since we can’t compare the performance of the Spectre specifically, we can’t say that the MacBook Pro is definitely more powerful, however, our review notes that with both chipsets perform excellently. The M1 Max is capable of tasks like 3D rendering and other graphically intense workflows, which is why we would suggest the MacBook Pro for any media professionals.

The MacBook Pro can be configured up to 64GB RAM and 8TB storage, which massively outpaces the Spectre x360, which can go as high as 32GB LPDDR4 RAM and 2TB PCle. Generally, this is more than enough storage for productivity workers, though anyone who is editing 4K or even 8K content may benefit more from Apple’s massive amounts of storage.

In our PCMark 10 battery test, the MacBook Pro lasted 21 hours during offline video playback, while HP claims that the Spectre x360 can last up to 16 hours during mixed usage, though we can’t test these claims.

Early verdict

Since we haven’t tested out the HP Spectre x360 13.5-inch, we can’t give a conclusive verdict on how it compared to the Apple MacBook Pro. However, it looks like this could be a great contender for anyone who is interested in doing productivity work or low-level creative work, like doodling or Photoshop.

For media professionals, it looks like the MacBook Pro is still the way to go, though Spectre’s next-generation Intel Core processor and quoted battery life look to be a cheaper alternative for people who are after a premium device without all the extra bells and whistles.

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
Operating System
Release Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
GPU
RAM
Connectivity
Colours
Display Technology
Screen Technology
Touch Screen
Convertible?

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