Apple MacBook Pro 15 vs. HP Spectre x360 15

Need a portable workstation? One of these two 15-inch laptop might do the trick

HP Spectre x360 15 2019 review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that provides some additional horsepower for more demanding tasks, then chances are you’ll be considering a 15-inch laptop. There was a time when your choices were limited to a traditional clamshell, but that’s changing.

Today, there are more powerful 2-in-1 options that offer higher-end GPUs, and most recently HP released its Spectre x360 15 with a six-core Intel CPU that’s in the same class as you’ll find in laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro 15. We’re going to compare those two laptops here to see if you can get the performance and functionality you want in a modern 2-in-1.

Design

MacOS Mojave 10.14

Neither of these 15-inch laptops aims to be particularly small, compared to a host of competitors using tiny bezels to fit their displays into diminutive chassis. That’s even truer with the Spectre x360, given that its top and bottom bezels are even larger to accommodate its 360-degree convertible nature.

As such, the MacBook Pro is smaller in all dimensions, and it’s considerably thinner at 0.61 inches compared to the Spectre x360’s 0.76 inches. It’s also much lighter at 4.02 pounds versus 4.81 pounds. What you give up in flexibility — the Spectre x360’s display swivel from laptop to Netflix-binging media mode to a very large and cumbersome tablet — you gain in a more comfortable laptop to carry around.

Both notebooks enjoy solid build quality, though, with all-aluminum constructions. The MacBook Pro’s chassis maintains the same elegant and understated aesthetic that’s graced the line for a few generations. Meanwhile, the Spectre x360 has doubled down on a chiseled metal design that’s at once futuristic and attractive. This generation’s “gem-cut” model looks like a jeweler had its way with the machine, giving it light-catching angles along every side.

Regarding input, the Spectre x360 maintains HP’s standard keyboard that offers greater travel and a snappy feel. We like it more than we do Apple’s 3rd-generation butterfly keyboard with its extremely short travel. It’s less comfortable for extended typing sessions. The MacBook Pro benefits from the most massive touchpad around that supports Apple’s Force Touch technology, which outdoes the Spectre x360’s smaller touchpad that uses Synaptics drivers rather than Microsoft’s Precision drivers.

Finally, the Spectre x360 offers much better connectivity thanks to its two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support (supporting dual external 5K displays), one USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 port, and a full-size HDMI 2.0 port. The MacBook Pro forces you to use some dongles, with its four USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support (also supporting dual external 5K displays).

Performance

HP Spectre x360 15 2019 review
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 is the first 2-in-1 with Intel’s 8th-generation six-core CPUs, specifically the Core i7-8570H. That’s a 45-watt part that provides excellent performance for demanding tasks like video editing. The MacBook Pro 15 takes performance up another notch with support for the even faster Core i9-8950HK.

The Spectre x360 incorporates the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, which is slightly faster than the optional AMD Radeon RX560 available on the MacBook Pro 15. But, the MacBook Pro 15 can be configured with AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega 20, giving it another edge. Also, the MacBook Pro typically has much faster PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) than its competitors, and it can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM (compared to the Spectre x360’s maximum of 16GB).

Finally, we can’t fault the MacBook Pro 15’s excellent display, which is very high-res at 2,880 x 1,800 resolution offers an extensive color gamut with near-perfect accuracy, incredible brightness, and great contrast. It beats out the 4K UHD (3,920 x 2,160) display on the Spectre x360 that’s very good for productivity work but isn’t fit for creative professionals.

The MacBook Pro 15 is significantly faster across the board, making it our performance winner.

Portability

HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2018)
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Neither of these is a thin or light laptops, and you’ll feel them taking up space in your backpack. But the MacBook Pro 15 is considerably lighter and smaller than the Spectre x360 15.

We haven’t yet tested the battery life of either of these laptops, but neither is likely to last a full working day if you’re running demanding tasks.  The MacBook Pro 15 has 83.6 watt-hours of battery capacity compared to a very similar 84 watt-hours in the Spectre x360 15. Both have high-resolution and power-sucking displays and fast components, and so they’re both likely to enjoy similarly limited longevity.

The MacBook Pro 15 isn’t the smallest 15-inch laptop around, but it’s nevertheless more portable than the Spectre x360 15.

The MacBook Pro 15 proves that traditional laptops remain more powerful

best laptops for video editing macbook pro 15 3

The MacBook Pro 15 is a very expensive laptop, starting at $2,400 for a six-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a Radeon RX555X. It jumps up to $7,050 when configured with a Core i9, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro Vega 20, and 4TB of storage. Wow.

The Spectre x360 15 is almost a bargain by comparison, coming in at $1,720 with a Core i7-8750H, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. It maxes out at $2,460 with 2TB of storage.

The Spectre x360 15 is the fastest and best-looking 2-in-1 you can buy today, but it just can’t keep up with the mercilessly fast MacBook Pro 15.

Mobile

Amazon Prime Day 2019 will likely be on July 15, according to leaked email

It looks like we now have an idea of when Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be, thanks to a leaked email that was sent out to promote a vacuum cleaner deal for Prime Day. According to the email, the massive shopping event will take place on July…
Computing

15-inch laptops come with extra power, but which of these wields it better?

HP's latest "gem-cut" Spectre x360 15 adds powerful components to make it the fastest 2-in-1 we've ever tested. Can it take on the equally fast and incredibly svelte Dell XPS 15?
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Monzo will launch its banking app in the U.S., but it may be a hard sell

Monzo, a popular mobile banking app from the U.K., will launch this summer in the United States, but its plan for a slow release and an initially feature-light banking app may be a hard sell for its prospective U.S. customers.
Computing

Apple just registered seven new MacBooks, but what are they? Let’s speculate

When Apple registers new devices, that usually means they’re only weeks away from being released. The company has just registered seven new devices -- but are they Airs, Pros or something else entirely?
Photography

The Loupedeck Plus custom keyboard will make you feel like a pro video editor

With recently added support for Final Cut Pro X, the Loupedeck Plus improves speed and accuracy for video editors. With a collection of customizable buttons and dials, the Loupedeck can almost completely replace a mouse and keyboard setup.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.