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Hands-on review: HP Evo Spectre X360 Flip Ultrabook 13.5” laptop

By Owen McCarthy
Tue 19 Jul 2022

Every time HP sends me a Spectre to review my heart rate goes up and I wonder what new innovations they have in store for me. Before I get into the technical stuff, I want to spend some time talking about ergonomics. 

The Spectre comes with a keyboard that makes working for long hours something to be looked forward to. It has to be one of the best keyboards I have seen on a 13.5” laptop. The keys have a wonderful action and are generously sized. The trackpad is well positioned, and it manages to remain dormant even when my hands stray onto its surface as I type. 

Speaking of the trackpad, I am pleasantly surprised by its well-behaved action. Moving around the screen is easy, with a pleasant absence of the flightiness I have experienced on some of my personal laptops. I have switched off my mouse because I find the trackpad does everything I need to do with no fuss.

The HP EVO Spectre X360 Ultrabook is feather-light weighing in at a measly 1.3kgs; ideal if you are on the move in your work. Moving into tablet mode is fast and seamless: Simply flip the screen, grab your stylus, and off you go. The HO Evo Spectre X360 has been such a pleasure to use because it appears custom-made for me, my pudgy hands and my forgetful self. That comment is caused by the fact that my work popped up immediately upon restart, right where I’d left it.

I have only a layman’s grasp of the EVO environment, but the reality is a workspace that fits the needs of the user, and does so with a minimum of interference. Having said that, I was just prompted to do a restart, but it’s still 100% more fun than starting up my normal Windows laptop and then enduring a raft of software updates before I can recommence work. 

The Evo interface appears as a popup window, rather than Window’s traditional, clunky Start Menu. It is much more my cup of tea, with its intuitive knowledge of what I require, which it builds in quickly, without me having to prompt it. 

The Evo environment does what it promises; less than a second from sleep to wake-up and back to work. The science behind Evo is fascinating, and can be summarised as meeting the following KEI (Key Experience Indicators):

  • Consistent responsiveness on battery
  • Wake from sleep in less than one second
  • 9 or more hours of real-world battery life on laptops with full HD display
  • 4 or more hours of battery life in a 30 minute charge on laptops with full HD display.

The development of Evo is ongoing. “Verification of second edition designs pays attention to the interaction between local and cloud-based tasks to better reflect today’s agile work environment. Intel’s research found that most people have multiple cloud-based accounts logged in while companion apps-such as Chrome, Zoom, Spotify or Twitter- run simultaneously in the background.”

Oh my! How long have they been watching me? It’s not uncommon for me to be working in more than one cloud-based environments, switching from Google to Dropbox to iCloud. I have become so used to having my photos and video clips simultaneously available on all my devices, including laptops, iPads, Android and IOS devices, that it never occurred to me to ask “How?” 

The Bang & Olufsen speakers are delivering a sound that is only matched by the outstanding video quality as I watch Ricky Gervais stumble through early widower-hood. At least I heat up my canned food! However, our kitchen benches look disturbingly similar. 

The OLED screen is one of the clearest and sharpest I have ever encountered. Despite my loading up the system with multiple applications running, there was no lag at all as Ricky’s character had me moving from laughter to tears.

I love the new feel of the Evo environment, and am can report that I’ve only had to close one unresponsive window, which was caused by me not doing the two-stage authentication I had set up ages ago. That was caused by my impatience, not the environment.

The HP Spectre has performed just as I expected it would. I haven’t managed to run the battery down in my normal work day, and the Evo environment is just as quick and responsive as they say it is. Workload testing, they say, has intensified, measuring up to 25 tasks against the KEI’s. Sadly, I only got as far as editing a personal project in Adobe Express, and the most difficult part was reading my long pass-phrases off another device. With only a few layers, my amateur efforts failed to place the Spectre under any appreciable load.

The most difficult task now awaits me; resetting this little beauty and packing it up. I would have loved to have tried out some really memory-intensive tasks, but time constraints and my inability to think of 25 tasks I needed done simultaneously meant I will have to leave that for another time. 

The HP Evo Spectre X360 Flip Ultrabook 13.5” packs in features that many competitors will envy. While not everyone needs the versatility of HP’s Spectre X360, they will be bound to have a long hard look at what they are paying for other laptops with nowhere near the versatility. 

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