HP Spectre x360 (Challenge Athena) evaluation: Arms-on
Intel’s Challenge Athena is a daring initiative from the chipset producer that, if profitable, will present laptops that provide not solely spectacular energy in a slim kind issue, however AI enhancements and lengthy battery life too. One of many first Athena-certified laptops is the upcoming HP Spectre x360 13, and whereas the prevailing Spectre x360 is a superb all-round laptop computer, the upcoming mannequin seems to supply one thing particular.
We went hands-on with the upcoming HP Spectre x360 13 at an Intel Open Home occasion in London, and right here’s what we predict.
Pricing and availability
The Challenge Athena-certified HP Spectre x360 is about to be launched on the finish of October 2019 and with a beginning worth of $1,099. UK pricing is but to be confirmed, however we think about it’ll be a reasonably easy conversion of £1,099, however we’ll replace this part as soon as HP formally reveals UK pricing and pre-orders go stay.
For extra laptop computer inspiration, check out our collection of the very best laptops of 2019 and the very best laptop computer offers too.
On the floor, the newest iteration of HP’s Spectre x360 laptop computer seems similar to the earlier technology with the identical skinny angular design, gem-cut aluminium chassis and skill to fold virtually 360-degrees, however there are key enhancements that actually improve the design of the high-end ‘pro-sumer’ laptop computer.
The primary – and doubtless most noticeable – improve is the show. The thick black bezels current on the previous-gen x360 are gone, changed with a close to edge-to-edge show with a formidable 90% screen-to-body ratio that, along with offering a extra premium expertise, shrinks the general measurement of the physique to make it much more moveable with out compromising on energy.
A smaller physique normally means sacrifices within the keyboard division, however that’s definitely not the case right here. You’ve obtained a full keyboard with full-size keys that present nice journey and a cushty typing expertise with out the educational curve that you simply usually get with laptop computer keyboards.
A few of the key parts of the laptop computer – together with the charging port, energy button and headphone jack – have been relocated for ease of use. That gained’t make a distinction to you if that is your first x360, nevertheless it’s one thing that present customers could admire.
However whereas the design is mostly improved, there’s one space that has seen a downgrade: audio. The previous-gen x360 featured forward-facing audio system above the keyboard that delivered decent-quality audio playback, however that has been eliminated within the latest-gen gadget and changed with an odd system.
As defined by a HP rep, the brand new x360 options audio system that fireside into the chassis itself, inflicting the phantasm of audio coming from the keyboard itself. Whereas it was admittedly a reasonably loud hands-on setting, we struggled to listen to any sound output from the brand new laptop computer whereas we may hear audio from the older x360 on present. We think about that audio readability can even undergo consequently, however that’s not one thing we had been capable of choose up on throughout our hands-on.
However whereas the front-facing audio system have been eliminated, a number of different fan-favourite options return with the newest Spectre x360. This contains the privacy-focused Webcam Kill Change that each one however avoids the problem of potential webcam hacking, Home windows Howdy assist and the privateness display that hides your show from prying eyes is again too, though the latter gained’t be accessible as an elective function till January 2020.
The Spectre x360 can also be accessible in a model new color possibility – Pure Silver – alongside Dusk Black and Poseidon Blue, though these could be unique to numerous areas and/or retailers.
Constructed for Challenge Athena
The HP Spectre x360 is one among few Challenge Athena-certified laptops available on the market in the intervening time. For these unaware, Challenge Athena is an Intel initiative, and to have Athena certification the laptop computer has to supply not solely spectacular efficiency however AI assist, lengthy battery life and a slim kind issue too, and that’s definitely the case with the brand new x360.
It sports activities a quad-core tenth-gen Intel Ice Lake CPU alongside both eight or 16GB of RAM and as much as 1TB of SSD storage, and whereas that’s spectacular sufficient, it’s the Iris Professional graphics that actually offers it a kick within the efficiency division. The built-in GPU affords 2x the efficiency of the previous-gen which, in line with Intel, can present 60fps+ when operating fashionable shooter CS:GO at Full HD decision with medium graphics.
That’s clearly not so good as you’ll get from a gaming-focused laptop computer, however to offer that stage of efficiency in a kind issue as skinny as what’s on provide from the x360, it’s definitely spectacular.
The x360 additionally boasts built-in AI assist which ought to make operating power-hungry duties somewhat simpler, though at this early stage it’s onerous to say precisely what it’ll be used for. It wants builders to replace apps and packages to utilise the tech, however Intel is assured concerning the further energy it’ll present.
The claimed battery life can also be spectacular at as much as 22 hours however, after all, that’ll rely on utilization and that’s not one thing we may take a look at on the hands-on occasion. Other than the important thing options talked about, the x360 helps the latest-gen Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and elective 4×5 Gigabit LTE connectivity in the event you go for the mobile variant.
For extra data on the Challenge Athena initiative, check out our explainer: What’s Challenge Athena?
We’ll withhold our verdict and star score till we’ve obtained a pattern again to Tech Advisor towers for testing and benchmarking, but when HP’s energy and battery life claims are correct, the Spectre x360 could possibly be amongst the very best laptops accessible in 2019.
Be aware: We could earn a fee whenever you purchase via hyperlinks on our website, at no additional price to you. This does not have an effect on our editorial independence. Study extra.