​HANDS ON: Why the HP Spectre x2 offers a compelling hybrid alternative

HP's new device definitely offers the most bang for buck option within the hybrid market.

HP Spectre x2

HP Spectre x2

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 may be currently taking all the plaudits as the best Windows 10 device, but for those who are more budget conscious, HP has released the Spectre x2 to fill the void.

HP is not new to the hybrid market, but this is the first device they have built that includes a built in kick-stand.

Since its unveiling I’ve heard differing opinions about the viability of the kick-stand, but I found it to be sturdy, reliable and more flexible than the Surface Pro 4 alternative.

The only possible negative is the reliance on a single switch release to access the kick-stand from the bottom left hand corner, instead of being able to access it from multiple points.

The keyboard also offers a more comfortable typing experience than Microsoft’s latest offering and the built in Bang and Olufsen speakers transfer the sound from the main device when the keyboard is connected.

The built in speakers do not offer the same clarity as the Surface Pro 4, but when the keyboard is connected, the sound is richer and approaches you from a better angle.

HP Spectre x2
HP Spectre x2

Although not built from one single piece of metal, the Spectre x2 fits together seamlessly and offers a stylish black and silver contrast, while resembling a smaller iPad Pro.

Across the market today, it is currently one of the slimmest Windows 10 devices available, measuring under 7.9 mm when the keyboard is not attached - with the keyboard attached it is still under 13 mm thick.

The Spectre x2 operates a range of the new ‘Intel Core m’ CPU’s, the variant I tested incorporated the m5-6Y54 CPU operating at 1.1GHz with a boost of 1.51GHz,8GB of RAM and a 128GB mSATA SSD.

A real honourable mention must also go the performance of the Core m series CPU however - the performance for multi-tasking is very respectable considering this is not a Skylake chip as in the Surface Pro 4.

There is also a 5MP HP TrueVision HD front-facing webcam, 8MP rear-facing camera, Intel RealSense 3D R200 camera. As well as 2x USB Type C connectors and an SD Card Reader.

But unfortunately, as the rear sense camera is at the rear of the device, there is no real chance of using ‘Windows Hello’ to login to the Spectre x2.

HP Spectre x2
HP Spectre x2

HP has decided to stick with a full HD display (1920x1080) which has helped to keep the cost down, but the majority of users will find this more than acceptable for daily use.

There is also a pen/stylus included with the device but it lacks the added functionality of the Surface Pen and users will find no added eraser, click to open OneNote or built in magnetic connection to attach it to the device.

But crucially, when you add all of this up, the Spectre x2 definitely offers the most bang for buck option within the hybrid market.

For those of you on the fence about splashing out on a Surface Pro 4, the HP Spectre x2 offers a compelling and real alternative.

The device has enough of its own innovations to separate it from Microsoft’s flagship device, yet it does not feel like the cheaper alternative many would have thought.

Compromises have been made with the pen, resolution and thicker bezel, but overall users will feel they have purchased a premium device that sacrifices little while maintaining an affordable price tag.

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