HP Spectre x360 15 AMOLED hands-on review

The HP Spectre x360 is bringing OLED back to laptops, and it’s gorgeous

The HP Spectre x360 15 is a great 2-in-1, now upgraded with a gorgeous AMOLED display.
The HP Spectre x360 15 is a great 2-in-1, now upgraded with a gorgeous AMOLED display.
The HP Spectre x360 15 is a great 2-in-1, now upgraded with a gorgeous AMOLED display.

Highs

  • OLED display looks incredible
  • 500-nit HDR support
  • Discrete graphics comes standard
  • Diamond cut edges look great
  • Great keyboard and touchpad

Lows

  • No six-core processor or GTX graphics
  • Top bezel is big

OLED is finally coming to laptops. Well, some at least. There’s been a lot of talk about the advanced display tech at CES 2019, but only one laptop actually had it available to try out. The 15-inch HP Spectre x360.

The 2-in-1 is a great choice to be one of the first devices of 2019 to implement OLED. It’s already a fast, capable workhorse — and now it has a display to match.

Bow down to the OLED

This updated Spectre x360 doesn’t look much different from its predecessors. Fortunately, it’s a design we like. The royal blue lid is tinted with gold trim along the hinge and logo, creating a unique swath of colors. And, of course, the diamond-cut edges are chiseled into the chassis for a distinctly premium feel.

Speaking of the edges, they’re as angled and sharp as ever. But this time, HP has snuck ports into some unusual locations. A USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 can be found on one corner — and a power button on the other. We like the position of the power button since it prevents accidental presses. Other than those options, you get an additional USB-C port for power, USB-A, and an HDMI port for video.

Let’s get to the screen, because that’s where the Spectre shines. Literally. Maxing out at 500 nits, this is one seriously bright laptop. As plenty of PC manufacturers have pointed out, a laptop is where most people watch movies and television. The Spectre x360 15 supports your Netflix binge with a 4K, HDR, OLED panel. That’s a lot of acronyms, but it represents the best combination of display tech currently available. And on the Spectre x360 15, it looks fantastic.

Maxing out at 500 nits, this is one seriously bright laptop.

The contrast ratio is awesome. Every aspect of image quality is enhanced by the AMOLED display, which is built by Samsung. The difference is noticeable, especially sitting on the table next to the LCD version.

Between the high resolution to the incredibly dynamic colors, we’re ready to call this one of the most impressive displays we’ve ever seen on a laptop — that is, without having been able to test it with a colorimeter ourselves quite yet.

A good configuration — at least, until we know the price

The Spectre x360 15 comes with a quad-core Whiskey Lake Core i7 processor. It also comes with up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia MX150. While that’s not the most powerful graphics card in the world, it should provide a bit more muscle for any kind of content creation or video rendering. We’re happy to see graphics come standard, even in the base model.

HP Spectre x360 15 review
Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

While that should be plenty of power for the average person, it should be noted you’re going to get more power in the non-OLED version of the device, which features the six-core processor and a more capable GTX 1050 Ti. In terms of raw power, that’s the better option. The same goes for other 15-inch options like the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook Pro.

Until we see widespread support of OLED, it will remain an expensive, niche option for laptops.

We had a couple of issues that held back last year’s model, which included AMD Vega graphics onboard. The biggest, though, was the battery life. The combination of those graphics and the 4K screen left it without enough juice. We’re concerned that an OLED screen might make that situation even worse, though we’ll have to test it ourselves to know for sure.

We don’t have a price on the OLED Spectre x360, but don’t be surprised if that extra display tech comes with an extra fee. Until we start seeing more widespread support of OLED, it will remain an expensive, niche option on laptops. That doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful, though, and it’s hard not to excited by the preview of that future the Spectre x360 offers.

As we said, the price is currently unannounced, but HP says the system will arrive in March of 2019.

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