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HP’s Spectre x360 16 looks like best new Windows laptop 11 yet, with one caveat

Windows 11 won’t be available as an upgrade until 2022, leaving a few months of time for new laptops to take the limelight. HP just announced what might be one of the most compelling new options, the HP Spectre x360 16.

The Spectre x360 line already contains some of the most premium 2-in-1 convertible laptops you can buy, whether that’s the portable Spectre x360 14 or the high-powered Spectre x360 15. A 16-inch model, though, is new to the mix — and Windows 11 is far from the only intriguing new feature.

The HP Spectre x360 16 on a white desk.

First off, it has a new design that ditches some of the glitzy accents of other Spectre laptops, such as the gold, chamfered edges. This new design is simpler, taking more inspiration from the HP Elite Dragonfly business laptops.

Beyond looks, the Spectre x360 16 includes a 5-megapixel webcam with features like Auto Frame, Glam Cam, and Lighting Correction. Each is made to enhance the videoconferencing experience in different ways, either by keeping you centered in the screen or adjusting the image quality through software improvements.

Now, there is a caveat — and it has to do with the specs under the hood. The Spectre x360 16 includes just a 35-watt processor, the Intel Core i7-11390H. That means it won’t have the 8-core Intel processors that high-end, creative-focused laptops do.

The device does include options for up to an Nvidia RTX 3050, however, which should help in heavier workflows such as gaming or video production. Still, in terms of performance, this is not quite the Dell XPS 17 or MacBook Pro 16-inch competitor you might want it to be. HP is targeting “creative prosumers, young professionals, and tech lovers,” not necessarily content creators who spend the majority of their day in Adobe Creative Suite.

The other specs on the Spectre x360 16 are a bit more promising. The screen uses a 16-inch, 16:10 OLED screen with a 4K+ resolution. HP promises up to 400 nits of brightness and 100% in the sRGB color space. The display sports some spectacularly slim bezels as well, with HP claiming a 91% screen-to-body ratio.

The screen features some interesting smart features, such as the ability to blur the screen if someone is looking over your shoulder, which is detected by the camera. It’ll also lock your screen when you walk away, wake back up when you sit down, and even dim the screen when you look away to save battery. None of these features are brand new, but they have commonly been seen in extremely high-end business laptops, such as the HP Elite Dragonfly.

The HP Spectre x360 16 is 0.78 inches thick and weighs 4.45 pounds, making it slightly thicker and heavier than the current MacBook Pro 16-inch. It does have Apple’s laptop beat in terms of I/O though, offering two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, HDMI 2.0b, and a SuperSpeed USB-A port.

The HP Spectre x360 16 is expected to be available beginning in October for a starting price of $1,639. You’ll have to pay more for the higher-end configurations, of course.

The HP 14-inch Laptop open in front of a white background.

HP has also announced a cheaper Windows 11 laptop, known simply as the HP 14-inch Laptop. It runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, meaning it’ll be one of the first laptops to benefit from improvements to ARM-powered laptops in Windows 11. The device has the basics covered, including a 1080p 14-inch screen, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage. The 2.76-pound weight should make it quite portable, too.

Pricing has not been announced for the HP 14-inch Laptop, but it will be available for purchase starting in October at Walmart.

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