The introduction of the 2016 MacBook Pro was met with a fair amount of criticism, not to mention excitement over the introduction of the Apple’s OLED Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pros are thinner than ever, and, in turn, give up legacy ports, opt for a second-gen keyboard, and house smaller batteries.
HP went in the opposite direction with its refresh of the Spectre x360 15, however, outfitting the Windows 2-in-1 with a thicker chassis designed to accommodate a larger battery, thus allowing it to power the machine’s 4K UHD display. Adding thickness also lets HP outfit the machine with an excellent full-travel keyboard and a few legacy ports to go along with the device’s USB Type-C connections.
Which approach — thicker or thinner — results in the best machine, though? Read on to find out whether it’s the HP Spectre x360 15 or the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro that benefits the most from the recent design changes.
MacBook Pro 15-inch
HP Spectre x360 15
|Dimensions||13.75 x 9.48 x .61 (in)||14.00 x 9.88 x .70 (in)|
|Weight||4.02 pounds||4.42 pounds|
|Processor||6th Generation Intel Core i7 quad-core||7th Generation Intel Core i7 dual-core|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR3||8 or 16GB DDR4|
|Display||15.6-inch IPS display||15.6-inch IPS touchscreen|
|Resolution||2,880 x 1,800||3,840 x 2,160|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB PCIe SSD||256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe SSD|
|Networking||802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2||802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Ports||4 x Thunderbolt 3, 3.5mm||1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x USB Type-c with Thunderbolt 3, 1 x HDMI, Headset, SD Card reader|
|Webcam||720p FaceTime HD||1080p webcam with IR camera and Windows Hello support|
|Operating System||MacOS Sierra||Windows 10|
|Battery||76 watt-hours||79.2 watt-hours|
|Availability||Available now||Available late-February|
|Review||Hands-on||4 out of 5 stars|
One battery got smaller, the other got bigger
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is significantly thinner than its predecessor, coming in at 0.61 inches compared to 0.71 inches — a 14 percent reduction. The display bezels are also thinner, meaning all dimensions are smaller. It weighs 4.09 pounds, too, which makes it almost a half a pound lighter than the previous model.
The Spectre x360, on the other hand, got a little thicker, but also lost some width thanks to thinner bezels. The thicker chassis results in increased weight, though, bringing the laptop to 4.42 pounds.
Apple’s thinner design resulted in a 24-percent reduction in battery capacity, taking it from 97 watt-hours to 76 watt-hours. While we haven’t tested battery life on the 15-inch model, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar — which touts similar battery life — provided only average longevity compared with similar Windows 10 machines.
The HP Spectre x360 15, on the other hand, added a little thickness and increased battery capacity by 23 percent, from 64.5 watt-hours to 79.2 watt-hours. The new machine also utilizes Intel’s seventh-generation CPUs. Both improvements help HP meet its goal of ensuring the new model and its 4K UHD display will last as long as last year’s Full HD version. HP promises up to 12 hours and 45 minutes of battery life, though, our own test results show a little over 10 hours.
That doesn’t mean that the Spectre x360 beats out the MacBook Pro in terms of battery life. Apple’s efficiency and the display’s lower resolution means that the Spectre x360 15 likely loses this round, although not by much. Both offer enough battery life to last a typical work day — depending on the workload — but we can only imagine how much longer the MacBook Pro would last if Apple had kept battery capacity the same.
Winner: 15-inch MacBook Pro