Sixteen inches is the new black for notebooks. The HP Spectre x360 16 is the latest such big-screen laptop, which counts the Apple MacBook Pro and the LG Gram 16 among its peers. The Spectre's 16:10 display is well suited for work and play, while its high-resolution OLED touchscreen is lush and vibrant. Meanwhile, a dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics chip ensures that the Spectre is good for both consuming and producing content. But you can expect to fork out top dollar (S$3,199) for this premium 2-in-1 convertible.
- 16-inch (3,840 x 2,400 pixels) OLED touchscreen
- Intel Core i7-11390H with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
- Stylus included
- 83 watt-hour battery
HP showcases the Spectre's lovely OLED screen with a predominantly-black default wallpaper. This display is certainly a joy to look at with its narrow bezels and sharp 4K resolution. There's also support for HDR (but not Dolby Vision) in video streaming apps like Netflix. The front-firing quad speakers at the sides of the keyboard impressed me with the clarity of the dialogue and their bright sound. Overall, the Spectre offers an excellent movie viewing experience. The screen's 60Hz refresh rate, though, will disappoint gamers. 4K gaming is also possible only for more casual games. For example, the Spectre's RTX 3050 graphics ran less-demanding games like Hollow Knight at around 69fps at 4K. However, in Doom (2016), while the Spectre managed an average of 61fps at 1,440p, there were some minor stuttering and frame drops. If you're mostly playing games, I recommend getting a proper gaming notebook instead.
The Spectre may be a convertible, but given its size and weight (around 2kg), it's barely usable as a tablet. HP does provide a very decent stylus pen if you're using it for sketching and note-taking. But it makes sense to convert the Spectre into stand mode, which brings the screen forward, for watching videos. However, the rear and bottom of the laptop can become fairly warm after extended use. Like previous Spectre laptops, the rear corners are cut-off and used to place a headphone jack and one of its two USB-C ports. There's also a USB-A port, HDMI, and a microSD card slot. The keyboard is spacious and comfy, but shallow. All in all, the Spectre looks good, with no obvious flaws in the design and connectivity departments. In fact, the only nitpick is that the matte finish on the lid seems to retain smudges from my hands.
If you intend to use the Spectre for work, you may want to try out the HP GlamCam feature for its 5MP webcam. This AI-powered feature adds a beauty mode and lighting correction to ensure you look your best. The camera can also constantly track your face and keep it in focus during video calls. In addition, the camera can be used to secure the laptop. For example, you can set the Spectre to lock itself if you walk out of sight of the camera. Naturally, the Spectre supports face unlock, though it has a fingerprint sensor, too. You can also tap a Fn key to activate a camera shutter for privacy.
This isn't unique to the HP Spectre x360 16, but I was hit by a host of offers from the likes of Dropbox and ExpressVPN when I first started using it. You'd think that a S$3,000 laptop would be free of such promotional junk. Battery life is predictably middling, which isn't surprising considering the big bright display. It clocked 5hr 13min in our video-loop battery test. Overall, the HP Spectre x360 16 looks and runs like the premium convertible it is. Its gorgeous display and useful camera features make it ideal for work and entertainment, with some light gaming on the side. Just make sure there's a power outlet nearby. Get it now from the official HP Store on Lazada and Shopee. You can also try it out in person at Challenger retail outlets.
Note: Review unit provided by HP.
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