If you’re looking for a laptop these days, chances are it’s also a 2-in-1. Ranging from less than $1,000 and to over $2,000, you can find a premium 2-in-1 laptop that rivals any other form factor on the market. In fact, unless you’re looking for a hardcore gaming system or workstation with a very high-end discrete GPU, there’s usually not a real reason to settle for “just” a clamshell notebook.
Two outstanding cases in point are Lenovo’s latest premium 2-in-1, the Yoga C930, and HP’s Spectre x360 13, which has been on our best 2-in-1 list for some time now. Given that the Yoga C930 was just released, does it have enough to take over the top spot?
The Yoga C930 doesn’t stray too far from Lenovo’s usual conservative and rather businesslike aesthetic. It comes in a Mica or Iron gray colorways that won’t stand out too much in a coffeehouse or conference room. The Yoga C930 also maintains the line’s solid build quality and thin (0.57 inches) and relatively light (3.0 pounds) chassis, particularly considering it packs in a 13.9-inch display. It’s a 360-degree convertible, of course, and that means it depends on its hinge to flip through four modes — but it’s no ordinary hinge. The iconic watchband hinge from the previous versions is gone, replaced with a new, longer “sound bar” that houses speakers for some awesome Dolby Atmos audio. The Yoga C930 is, in other words, like a finely crafted sedan that’s meant to ferry around four or more adults in comfort — and without drawing any undue attention.
The Spectre x360 is more like a sports coupe, with some shiny angles that are meant to catch the eye. HP offers its premium 2-in-1 in three distinct color schemes, and all of them are gorgeous. There’s the bold Dark Ash Silver, the lovely Rose Gold, and the more traditional Natural Silver from which to choose. The Spectre x360’s aesthetic is also more angular and modern than the Yoga, with shiny chrome accents that add some flair without too much ostentation. The Spectre 360 isn’t quite as solidly built as Lenovo’s 2-in-1, but it’s also slightly thinner at 0.54 inches and lighter at 2.78 pounds, with a robust convertible hinge that spins the display with confidence.
As 2-in-1s, both notebooks offer a wide range of input options. We liked the Spectre x360’s keyboard better thanks to greater travel and a lighter, springier mechanism. The Yoga C930’s was a bit shallow and wasn’t nearly as comfortable for our longer typing sessions. Lenovo’s touchpad is better, though, being larger and sporting Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad protocol compared to HP’s choice to use Synaptic drivers. In addition, the Lenovo Active Pen (which is stored and recharged in a slot on the rear edge) also offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity versus the HP’s 1,024 levels, but the latter’s is larger and more natural.
The Spectre x360 is a far more striking notebook that manages to walk that fine line between being a standout good looker and attracting the wrong kind of attention. It’s also well built, if without the tank-like rigidity of the Yoga, and HP’s keyboard is much better. The Spectre x360 wins this round, narrowly. We’ll note that HP has just announced a refresh of the Spectre x360, and it looks to take the current model’s design and make it even more stunning.
Both the Yoga C930 and the Spectre x360 utilized Intel’s quad-core 8th-generation CPUs, and so they offer similar performance in both synthetic benchmarks and real-world usage. Both, therefore, are excellent productivity machines that can handle anything the typical user can throw at them. The Spectre x360’s PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) is slightly faster, but not so much so that it’s likely to be noticeable unless you’re working with really huge files.
The Yoga C930 offers a 13.9-inch IPS panel at either Full HD or 4K resolutions, and the latter supports Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) as well. The Spectre x360’s display is the usual 13.3 inches, and HP also offers Full HD and 4K options (albeit without HDR support) along with a Sure View privacy screen that keeps sensitive information invisible to unwanted onlookers.
In our testing, we found Spectre x360’s Full HD display to beat out the Yoga C930’s, which was below average for this class. HP’s panel was better for viewing text, images, and video, and overall we just preferred it to Lenovo’s somewhat lifeless version. We’re sure that the 4K HDR option is probably a winner, but we haven’t had an opportunity to give that one a try.
With performance being very similar, the choice here is down to display quality. If you’re looking for a Full HD notebook, then the Spectre x360 is most worth your money. The next version of the Spectre x360 will sport the absolute latest Whiskey Lake 8th-generation CPUs, though, and so they’re likely to up the performance delta a bit.
The Yoga C930 is slightly thicker and heavier than the Spectre x360, and that’s not too surprising given its larger display. They’re both highly portable, though, and the differences aren’t going to be that noticeable once you toss them into a bag and carry them around. The Spectre x360 will be slightly more comfortable in tablet mode, though, if you’re carrying it around — and that’s not nothing.
Battery life is a mixed bag for these two thin and light notebooks. The Yoga C930 lasted longer in our aggressive Basemark web benchmark and web browsing tests, but the Spectre x360 lasted longer when looping an Avengers trailer from the SSD. But again it’s something of a wash since both 2-in-1s will likely last you a full working day.
The Yoga C930 and Spectre x360 are closely matched here, although the HP edges out the Lenovo as a tablet. When the next version of the Spectre x360 arrives, expect battery life to be significantly in its favor, though.
The least expensive Yoga C930 costs $1,300 for a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a Full HD display. The price jumps to $2,200 for a version with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 4K HDR display. The Spectre x360 is quite a bit less expensive, starting at $1,150 ($950 on sale) for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 256GH SSD, and a Full HD display. With a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 4K display, you’ll spend $1,800 ($1,600 on sale).
Not only does the HP Spectre x360 look better and has a much better keyboard, but it’s also available at a lower price than the Yoga C930. Lenovo’s latest effort is a good one, but it can’t beat out the kind of 13-inch 2-in-1s, the Spectre x360.