We really liked HP’s Spectre x360 Ultrabook when we reviewed its first Broadwell version last year. HP gave it a minor revision to add a Skylake processor, but didn’t change the basic formula. Today the company announced the third version of its Spectre x360, now with a 7th generation Intel Core processor (better known to you and me as Kaby Lake). While some of the Kaby Lake refreshes we’ve seen have been minor, doing little more than swapping out a Skylake part and putting in a Kaby Lake chip, HP’s been a little more ambitious with the Spectre x360.
The updated system is smaller and sleeker: it shaves 2mm (0.01 inches) off its thickness, cutting it to 13.8mm (0.54 inches) at its thickest point, and almost 10mm (0.39 inches) off each side. This reduces the Spectre’s weight by 0.16kg (0.35lb). In spite of this, the new x360 sports a bigger battery (57.8 Wh, up from 56), and, with Kaby Lake’s power reductions, HP claims that the battery life will be at least 25 percent better than the Skylake version.
That’s all nice, but the Spectre’s new features are more exciting: HP has added Thunderbolt 3—a pair of USB Type-C ports support the high-speed technology—and an infra-red camera to enable Windows Hello biometric authentication. These are two of our favorite laptop features, and we’re delighted to see HP adding them to an already desirable system. The SSD (available up to 1TB) has been upgraded, too: it now uses NVMe instead of SATA, which should provide a performance boost. The system also sports fast-charging, taking about 90 minutes to reach 90 percent charge.
The only gripe we have is the screen. The previous model x360 came in both 1920×1080 and 3200×1800 versions. The higher resolution meant taking a hit on the battery life, but it looked beautiful. This time around, HP seems to only be offering an 1920×1080 13.3 inch option.
The new Spectre x360 should be available to order immediately, with prices starting at $1,049.99.
HP also announced a couple of other machines in its Envy brand. The Envy 13 is a good-looking Kaby Lake laptop that’s designed to be more affordable than the Spectre x360. It’s slightly larger and heavier (1.50kg/3.31lb), and it lacks the Windows Hello-capable webcam and Thunderbolt 3. It’s a conventional laptop, with no touch screen or 360 degree hinge; instead, its hinge is designed to raise the base of the machine when in use, to improve cooling and the keyboard angle. It still has a dual core Kaby Lake processor, up to 16GB RAM, 1920×1080 resolution, an NVMe SSD (up to 1TB), and a fast-charging 57.8Wh battery, with HP claiming about the same battery life as the Spectre x360, at around 14 hours.
The Envy 13 will be available from October 26, with prices starting at $849.99.
Also under the Envy brand is a stylish touch screen all-in-one desktop PC. This 27 inch, 2560×1440 system only has a quad core Skylake processor (the desktop Kaby Lake parts won’t be available until next year), and it comes with 16GB RAM and a combination of spinning disk (up to 2TB) and NVMe solid state (up to 256GB) storage. Like the Pavilion All In One we saw earlier this year, HP has equipped this system with a pop-up webcam that can be hidden away—securely preventing any malware from spying on you—when not in use. That webcam includes an IR camera, enabling Windows Hello support.
A discrete Nvidia GTX 950M GPU with up to 4GB RAM and Thunderbolt 3 support are both also available.
The Envy All-In-One 27 will start at $1,299.99, with availability some time this month.
HP is also going to sell a similarly-styled 27 inch Envy monitor, this time with a 3840×2160 resolution with USB Type-C support, starting Dec. 4. The monitor will cost $499.99. In common with most 4K panels, it will have a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, but it supports AMD FreeSync to reduce certain visual artifacts when gaming.