Hadyn Green trials the latest convertible laptop from HP.
The HP Spectre is a fantastic laptop. It’s fast, powerful and versatile.
It’s a hybrid, which means the screen folds all the way around, turning a normal clamshell into a tablet. Mix this with a touchscreen and a pen (included) and you’ve got the perfect mix for a laptop.
And it looks good, with a big high-resolution screen and a thin (but hefty) burgundy and gold body. It’s a laptop you’ll want to show off. Despite this, it’s the design that lets the Spectre down. While it looks good, there are some questionable design decisions, from its oddly clunky touchpad to the weird placement of the power button behind the screen.
Of all the design quirks, the most notable is the Spectre’s keyboard. The body of the laptop is large enough to house a full keyboard and number pad. But while it can, that doesn’t mean it should. Having a number pad means the main keyboard has been shifted off-centre to the screen, so when you’re typing, your right hand is a quarter of the way across. This is more than a little impractical.
While it isn’t something that ruins the laptop or makes it unusable, it’s enough to put me off buying it.
We often forget these sorts of design elements when buying tech. We look for big numbers. Does the screen have 4K resolution or does the computer have a giant processor? We don’t check if the phone wobbles when you put it on a table or the remote is annoying to use or “will this keyboard layout mean I keep hitting the enter key instead of the shift key?”
These are things that can take a while to notice and can be hard to spot in the shop.
The Spectre is a blazing-fast laptop that handles tasks with ease. But, before you buy one, play with it in the store. Pick it up, try folding it, type on it for a while. Because $3900 is a lot to spend on something that might annoy you after a week.
HP Spectre x360 15-df0002tx
Price: $3899 (15”)
Pros: fast, powerful, big screen, pen and leather folio case included, full-size keyboard, foldable.
Cons: off-centre keyboard, heavy, touchpad’s clunky to use.
This laptop was loaned to the writer by HP.