Laptops

HP Spectre x360 13 (2020) review: An elegant convertible

Small but terrible?

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I live in a world where beauty matters above all. I can’t seem to like something if it isn’t pleasant to look at, or if it doesn’t match my aesthetics. When HP sent over the Spectre x360 13 (2020), I was flabbergasted. I’ve never seen a laptop that made me feel… underdressed.

Head-turning elegance

In a glance, the HP Spectre x360 13 (2020) is astounding to look at. It looks premium, it made me want to dress up in suits. This refreshed laptop comes with a cutting-edge design, and it looks even more polished compared to its predecessors.

Admittedly, I fell in love the first time I saw it. The Spectre x360 13 speaks to me on a spiritual level, with its brushed metal and copper finish — which looks like rose gold in certain lighting conditions — it’s a color that my 2017 self would appreciate but I’m more into white and silver now.

Nonetheless, it looks sexy and gorgeous, especially if you bring it in cafes and your meetings. It feels weird to find people in awe while looking at my laptop instead of me. Definitely a head-turner!

Naturally, there’s an impression of a pretty laptop as frail and fragile. This laptop defies the conceived notion since its sturdy yet slender chassis feels robust. It’s small, lightweight, and impressively thin, too! I find it funny that it fits inside my PacSafe sling bag and people were surprised when I take my laptop out of my small bag.

Even though it’s not the thinnest and lightest, the Spectre x360 13 is still easy to carry and bring wherever you go. Using it for almost a month, my back didn’t feel any pain compared to when I’m using a 15-inch Windows laptop or a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Well-thought details

What I love about the Spectre x360 is how HP thoughtfully crafted and refined it is. Just like the Dell XPS 13, I always stress the importance of details. It’s always the little things that make a laptop premium — from convenience, portability, security, to ease of use.

For starters, the Spectre x360 put a blazing-fast fingerprint reader to unlock my laptop — if it accurately scans your fingerprint. In the occasion that it didn’t read your fingerprint, you can still access your laptop through a pin or password unlock.

Its keyboard is excellent for typing, too. Despite being relatively small, HP didn’t cramp its keys, evenly spacing it while keeping it soft to ensure a quiet experience.

About its touchpad, it’s smooth and responsive for a Windows laptop. Surprisingly, I found it easy to glide my fingers at it and when I’m feeling lazy to navigate the touchpad, I can always stick to using its touchscreen display.

When you take a close look at its edges, the Spectre x360 is really beautiful. From its glossy, exemplary hinge and gem-cut design, to its subtle buttons and ports that easily blends into its frame — it’s difficult not to love it.

Found on its left side is its power button, audio jack, and a covered USB 3.1 Type-A port which ate my colleague’s flash drive. To prevent similar incidents, I opted not to use it anymore.

Luckily, HP packed a dongle with two USB Type-A ports, a USB-C port, and an HDMI port. It proved useful since the laptop’s right side comes with a USB Type-C port on the right, and another USB Type-C port for charging on the upper corner.

Both HP’s dongle and charger come in a gorgeous braided cable. Frankly, it’s the best set of cables I’ve had in a while and the fact that HP put a lot of effort even in its accessories proved they take their premium laptops seriously. It also has a microSD card reader which I barely used, and my favorite — the webcam kill switch.

Like a gorgeous secretary

The HP Spectre x360 13 is a premium convertible. Attached to a beautiful hinge that flexes smoothly, this 2-in-1 laptop gives you a beautiful tablet to use like you’re some kind of gorgeous secretary.

Thanks to its lightweight form factor, it’s a breeze to switch from laptop to tablet mode. HP provided a tilt pen — powered by AAA battery — to help you navigate and write notes quickly.

Apps are also simplified when in tablet mode. It’s supposed to be easy for anyone to handle but even with my past experiences with convertibles and my long stint with this laptop weren’t enough for me to fully grasp its tablet mode.

I still get confused with the tools, buttons, and software available — but that’s just me. Here’s to hoping that the next generation of Spectre laptops come with less pre-installed software. As of now, the Spectre x360 13 runs on Windows 10, packed with software like HP Command Center, Microsoft Office 365, ExpressVPN, and McAfee LiveSafe.

Don’t let its size fool you

The Spectre x360 13 is a powerhouse for a relatively small laptop. This is where the adage “don’t let its size fool you” comes in. This laptop is powered by a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7, with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, and 16GB LPDDDR4 RAM, and 1TB SSD storage.

During my stint, I was able to handle multiple tabs in Google Chrome — a power-hungry browser. Additionally, I can run multiple apps and software alongside Chrome such as Spotify, Netflix, and Adobe Creative Suite. Yes, you can edit with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom. To an extent, it can handle Premiere Pro but expect for it to heat up.

The biggest struggle I had to deal with is how the Spectre x360 13 heats up. It tends to get scorching hot, which proves impossible for you to put it on your lap or on your arms when in tablet mode — unless you want to fry and toast your arms or your parts from down under.

It’s also noisy when its fans start working to dissipate the heat, even when situated in a desk or a cooling stand. At best, the laptop is perfect for presentations, meetings, browsing, and entertainment.

Despite having a 13.3-inch screen, it comes with 4K resolution and AMOLED panel — guaranteed to deliver better visuals. It’s also strengthened by a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, enhancing the screen’s scratch resistance.

The HP Spectre x360 13 carries two audio speakers from Bang & Olufsen. It’s not the best speakers you can get but it’s more than enough for your entertainment usage.

Lastly, expect this small laptop to have a lot of juice throughout your day. When I was working remotely, I had the HP Spectre x360 13 last for 12 hours, allowing me to be productive and finish my tasks.

It comes with a small 65W Type-C power adapter, so you can expect it to recharge itself faster than you do when you try to recover from your week-long fatigue.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

With a whopping starting price of PhP 79,990 (US$ 1586), it’s difficult to recommend an expensive laptop since there are cheaper yet more powerful Windows laptops out there. If you have the money to spend, I would even suggest getting flagship Windows laptops like the Lenovo Yoga S940 or Dell XPS 13 or a MacBook Pro for more focus on power and productivity.

But if you’re keen on getting the HP Spectre x360 13 2020 because you fell in love with its looks, then you can maybe talk yourself into buying this laptop. After all, it looks elegant, premium, polished, and delivers decent performance, packed with plenty of features to like.

Entertainment

LG just launched a limited edition NewJeans laptop

It’s pretty… expensive

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Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

NewJeans is continuously making waves both in and out of South Korea. From their ultra-catchy songs, dance moves that are trending in TikTok and Instagram Reels, to reaching top charts in UK and US’ Billboard, there’s no surprise that homegrown tech brand LG Electronics partnered with these power rookies.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

LG just released the gram Style NewJeans Limited Edition! While this is an unfortunate news for Hanni (who is actually an iPhone), it’s actually a big step towards knowing NewJeans past the K-Pop hype (and by that you should stream Hype Boy).

Mini and Big Bunnies

This special edition LG Gram Style is available in two styles: Mini Bunny and Big Bunny.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

There’s actually no stark difference between the two except for — you guessed it — the size of bunny decals on its lid. Either of the two, you will never get wrong choosing the bunny for your personal taste.

Other than that, the highlight of this laptop comes from its weight. From the brand itself, it’s just 999 grams — actually 23 grams lighter than the 2022 model. It also has the US military-graded MIL-STD 810H standard that passed seven (7) durability tests.

Powerful punch

The LG gram Style NewJeans isn’t slouching in performance. Just like a hopping bunny, it’s quite a powerful device for its size and heft.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Hardware specifications of these two Bunnies aren’t too far off — at least after making a side-by-side comparison of their spec sheets. Both styles come with an Intel Core i5-1340P under EVO Platform for lightweight ultrabooks plus Intel Iris Xe graphics. It’s then paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of NVMe 4.0 SSD with an extra PCIe 4.0 slot for expandability.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Just like NewJeans‘ visuals, you can’t also go wrong with the visuals of this device. It has a 14″ low-reflective OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, WQXGA+ resolution (2880 x 1800), a 16:10 aspect ratio for wider screen real estate, and an improved 400nits brightness over last year’s 350.

Moreover, it supports 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut for color-accurate goodness as well as VESA Certified DisplayHDR TrueBlack 500 for deeper blacks and better contrast ratio. Its 2-watt stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support make it a full-on entertainment device.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

One more highlight is its “Hidden Touchpad”. Instead of the usual rectangular trackpads, it’s highlighted by two halo lighting on its two sides dubbed as “Aurora White” paired with haptic feedback for that nice feeling when clicking.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

For ports, it has two (2) USB-C plus one (1) USB-A ports, microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones, earphones, amplifiers, and other audio peripherals.

Goodies for Bunnies

If you have actually reached this part, you’d know that you are not here for its powerful hardware, rather for the NewJeans styled-laptop. Aside from having that special laptop, there are more goodies that come with this device.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Being one of the few Bunnies out there since NewJeans’ Attention, I was actually more excited when I saw the list. There’s a notebook pouch, cable strap, posters, sticker and stationery set.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

There’s even a free NewJeans-style mouse with this cute vinyl-like mousepad. These are truly treats for Bunnies! The laptops even come with preloaded wallpapers and four icons in it.

Pricing and Availability

While the LG gram Style is light, the pricing isn’t. It’s a pretty laptop with a pretty expensive price. It retails for around KR₩ 2,700,000 — which is about US$ 2190 / SG$ 2675 / ₱119,513.

There’s no word on global availability but LG will hold a live event in Korea with NewJeans on February 1, 2023 (Wednesday) around 8PM KST (Korean Standard Time).

If you will participate during the live, a comment could help a participant win a specially-signed autograph from NewJeans or three winners of the Limited Edition Goods.

If you plan on buying the NewJeans’ limited edition laptop, there are more benefits other than having the Limited Edition Goods set such as 12 winners of NewJeans autographs.

But if you’re just opting to buy the regular LG gram Style without the NewJeans skin, it will still give you other perks such as a free LG gram mouse, Wiggle Wiggle goods package consisting of a notebook pouch, mousepad, and a cable strap, as well as a free 512GB microSD card.

More advanced purchase benefits are Intel software package, 2023 gram gift pack, and 5,000g Jammy points coupon.

Other common benefits include MelOn one-month free subscription, 10,000 membership points after writing a photo review after purchase, and 20 winners of two Helinox chairs and table set.

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Laptops

Samsung to launch improved touchscreen notebooks soon

In time for Galaxy Unpacked

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Touchscreen notebooks are making a new push to the spotlight. While the general technology has been out for a while, new developments are starting to introduce better screens with faster response times. Samsung, according to a new report, is already ready to launch an improved version of its own touchscreen notebook as early as next month.

As first reported by ZDNet, Samsung Display has started to mass produce OLED screens which integrate touchscreen functionality directly on the panel. The technology, called OCTA or on-cell touch AMOLED, will launch first on upcoming Galaxy Books this year.

Though essentially unconfirmed for now, the new touchscreen lineup might launch in time for the Galaxy Unpacked event early next month. If so, Samsung will have a huge leg up against Apple, who is also working on its own touchscreen laptop.

Apple, contrary to Steve Jobs’ initial reaction against the technology, is building a touchscreen OLED MacBook for a hopeful launch by 2025. Because the upcoming MacBook allegedly uses OLED panels, the device will be thinner and lighter than current MacBooks in the lineup.

Much like the chatter around Apple, Samsung Display’s new OLED panels will also be thinner and lighter — a big step, considering last year’s notebooks were also touted as thinner and lighter then ever before. Unfortunately, the report does not indicate how large the new screens will be. If anything, the Galaxy Book lineup currently offers devices in 13- and 15-inch models.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S23 Preview

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CES 2023

HP reveals new hybrid, gaming lineup at CES 2023

New Dragonfly and Elite series too

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HP CES 2023

At CES 2023, HP has revealed its newest gaming devices: the OMEN 17 laptop and the OMEN 40L and OMEN 25L desktops.

Both these gaming powerhouses are powered by up to 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900K series processors. They also have NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics for 4K visuals.

All new OMEN devices also utilize HP’s OMEN Tempest Cooling Technology. Meanwhile, the OMEN 17 will be the first to feature optical mechanical keys. These are 25 times faster than traditional laptop keyboards.

HP has also introduced cloud gaming through the OMEN Gaming Hub. It offers gamers access to over 1,450 titles.

HP E-series G5 monitors: More immersive experience

Meanwhile, the visual experience is about to be taken to new heights further, with HP’s new E-series G5 monitors which range from the 21.5 to 44.5-inch sizes and are all capable of displaying 4K seamlessly.

The HP E45c G5, in particular, is the world’s first QHD dual curved monitor which showcases a super ultrawide Virtual Dual Display feature.

Essentially, there is just one extra-long monitor instead of two monitors which need to be combined side-by-side to create the ultimate gaming setup.

The M24h and M27h FHD monitors also provide upgraded experiences while coming with improved ergonomics to tailor fit users’ postures and viewing angles.

Poly Voyager Free 60 series

When it comes to accessories, headlining the list is the Poly Voyager Free 60 series wireless earbuds.

This wearable comes with 10mm drivers for hi-fi sound and adaptive hybrid ANC. It has a smart charge case with 3.5mm OLED display, a three-mic array, and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity.

It supports up to 24 hours of total playtime on a full charge. Everything is made a breeze too through the Poly Lens mobile app for customizing settings.

For other accessories, there’s the HP 620/625 FHD webcam for Zoom-ready looks on a 1080p camera. It has built-in dual noise-reduction microphones and video features like auto-focus and AI face framing.

The HP 710 rechargeable silent mouse also allows users to work seamlessly. Its compact design features six programmable buttons for 20 custom shortcuts.

Hybrid-fit laptops: Dragonfly, Elite series

Lastly, HP has unveiled the new Dragonfly G4, EliteBook 1040 G10, and Elite x360 1040 G10. These productivity laptops shall benefit users who work in remote setups, physical office spaces, or a combination of both.

All powered by the latest gen processors in the market, here are some of the distinct new features:

  • Multi-Camera Experience: The laptops support dual video streams and camera switching. With it,  users can easily show both themselves and an object or keyboard at the same time, picture-in-picture or side-by-side.
  • Auto Camera Select: Since there are two cameras on each device, this feature uses intelligent face tracking to recognize which camera a user is facing for uninterrupted virtual eye contact.
  • HP Be Right Back: This will enable users to change their video feed to a still feature when taking a break, without having to steal the attention from meetings
  • Intelligent Hibernate, Smart Sense: As users begin to work on their PCs regularly, these study their patterns to optimize performance and even predict what’s next.
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