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.

Computers

HP unveils Experience Hub flagship store in Malaysia

X-Hub for short

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X-Hub

Computer company HP on Wednesday announced the opening of the HP Experience Hub (X-Hub) flagship store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The X-Hub is a seamless online-to-offline (O2O) experiential retail experience for tech consumers.

The physical store in Malaysia is combined with an integrated O2O platform to create a seamless omnichannel commerce journey across six Southeast Asian countries.

More immersive retail experience

The Experience Hub unifies the retail experience across the Southeast Asia region, connecting the Kuala Lumpur flagship store to 82 online stores spread across Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, with Thailand and Vietnam to follow in March 2022.

Online consumers may be able to personally interact with HP Live Advisors, a team of dedicated experts based on the X-Hub via real-time video calls and chat functions.

These will be made available in preferred local languages, while live streams on the latest HP products is also made possible via the HP Virtual Showroom.

This way, consumers will be able to continue shopping without having to be in Malaysia physically.

Interactive ‘Test Drive’ stations

As for customers who want to visit the physical store in Malaysia, there are interactive ‘Test Drive’ stations to experience all of HP’s technology.

These stations include:

  • Premium (High-end consumer devices)
  • Gaming (Laptops, desktops, and monitors)
  • Commercial (Business-grade devices)
  • Print (Home and office printing)

Visitors can also access personalization services such as custom engraving and printing, or connect to in-store or online HP Live Advisors for real-time inquiries.

Location

The HP X-Hub flagship store in Malaysia is located at Pavilion Bukit Jalil (level 4) in Kuala Lumpur.

The flagship store was created in partnership with Thunder Match Technology Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s largest tech retailer. HP also partnered with Shopee and Lazada. Both of which support the online experience.

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Laptops

Windows 11 update coming to select Lenovo devices

From Yoga to Legion

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Legion 5i

Windows 11 is slowly but surely rolling out to more and more devices. Lenovo, who has a strong partnership with Microsoft, has a number of notable devices getting the update. These include laptops from their Yoga line all the way to their Legion gaming machines.

If you own or are looking to buy any of the devices listed below, then you can rest assured you can get the latest Windows software today.

Yoga Slim 7 Carbon 14 – 82L0003DPH

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Carbon 14 features up to an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800 U Series Mobile Processor with AMD Radeon Graphics, the laptop is available with optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics for supercharged creation.

Packed with up to 16GB LPDDR4x of memory, the Yoga Slim 7 Carbon 14 also brings up to 1TB PCIe Gen 3.0×4 of internal storage and a powerful 61WHrs battery that delivers the ease of Rapid Charge Express while on the go. It also mounts a stunning 14-inch 2880×1800 designed for ultra-vivid picture quality with Dolby Vision. A VESA Display HDR True Black 500 certification for enhanced video quality reproduction in a 16:10 display format with less scrolling and more content.

IdeaPad Slim 5 Pro – 82L500KKPH

Lenovo strongly believes they’re able to combine “Premium” and “Better Value” in one package. And that’s the IdeaPad Slim 5 Pro. Powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Processor, you are guaranteed to get any job done. The IdeaPad Slim 5 Pro is also accompanied by the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, creating high-resolution and immersive graphics. Packed with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and 1TB PCIe Gen 3.0×4 of internal storage, there is no need to worry about running out of space or memory.

IdeaCentre AIO 3i – 90NB00JEPH

The IdeaCentre AIO 3i is equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 and powered by the latest 11th-Generation Intel Core processors. It comes with 8GB of RAM that is upgradeable up to 32GB of DDR4 and a 512GB SSD for storage.

Legion 5i Pro – 82JD003VPH

The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro offers excellent gaming performance with the latest 11th Generation Intel Core H-series processors with 45W of dedicated processing power. Accompanied with the 130W NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070.

The laptop also features a 16-inch QHD gaming display with up to a 165Hz refresh rate, providing gamers with a 16:10 aspect ratio with best-in-class color accuracy and high dynamic range. It comes in a sleek Stingray White color to top it all off. It’s optimally cooled via the Coldfront 3.0 thermal system with the Legion AI Engine.

Legion 5i – 82JH00CSPH / 82JH00CTPH

The Legion 5i is for gamers looking to compete on equal footing with the pros. It comes with with the 11th Generation Intel Core processing and 45W of dedicated power. Optimized with the Legion AI Engine that powers the revolutionary Legion Coldfront 3.0 and Q control and dynamically shifts power between the CPU and GPU, experience a massive leap in performance in the Legion 5i with up to 130W NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060.

All devices will also include a Premium Care Warranty that allows buyers front-of-the-queue and straight-to-the-experts customer support service.

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Laptops

ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED review: Serious-looking champ

This serious looker made me want to skip work

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Zenbook 14X OLED

When it comes to displays, OLED panels are usually considered the best of the best. Whether it’s a TV, monitor, smartphone, or even a laptop.

Hopping on the opportunity of bringing a visual spectacle, ASUS unveiled a full range of notebook computers — all sporting OLED displays. What came to my lap is the sleek-looking Zenbook 14X OLED, gearing up to be a machine for professionals on the go.

Looks that really mean business

The Zenbook 14X OLED looks like your familiar clamshell notebook, carrying a distinct style that screams ASUS. It evokes a serious vibe, parading a glossy shade adorned with an off-center version of the iconic ZenBook spun-metal finish.

It’s more evident in the Jade Black colorway. It’s not my cup of tea, but it projects a serious mood. Showing off this laptop can mean business for anyone who’ll see it.

Especially when you lay it flat with its 180-degree ErgoLift hinge — perfect for when you’re sharing information and presenting to your clients.

You can also conveniently type when you tilt the rear of the laptop a little bit. The arrangement of the keys, together with the slightly elevated platform, helped me in writing my stories and preparing documents.

Build that can take a beating

I haven’t been stuck to a desktop ever since I started working. It’s why I’ve always been fascinated with the desire to learn about laptops and other portable machines. I don’t want to be tied down in one place, ruminating over papers and a messy desk.

Before the pandemic, I used to work in airport lounges, restaurants, cafes, and even inside a car while I travel between provinces. For professionals on the go, having a thin and lightweight laptop means a lot.

While I barely work outside these days, the Zenbook 14X OLED — despite carrying a design that I find bland — still amuses me with its thin and light form factor. It weighs only 1.4kg and measures only 16.9mm. You can easily carry it in between your meetings, or fit it inside your everyday bag without straining your shoulder and arms.

The chassis and lid are made of military-grade diamond-cut aluminum alloy. That’s why it felt sturdy even if it is lightweight. The Zenbook 14X OLED is built extra durable, it can probably take a beating when it gets thrown into bins at airports during security checks.

Display that makes you want to stare at it all day

One of the most underrated parts of a laptop is the screen. Most people go after power and performance, and I can’t argue with that. But a good display can elevate your experience.

We spend a lot of time staring at our screens. The work we do, the shows we watch, the games we play — all of these activities can be made more fascinating if you have a display that brings out the best in whatever you do.

And that’s why I enjoyed using the Zenbook 14X OLED. Its 14-inch 4K OLED touchscreen display is perfect for accompanying me in my pursuit of a work-life balance.

The slim, 3mm bezels and 92 percent screen-to-body ratio made my favorite Netflix shows immersive. Games look expansive, as well

It’s like watching on an OLED TV but on a smaller machine. The colors reproduced are so rich and vivid, and I like how it exhibits the same amount of color detail even at a lower brightness setting.

If it’s easy switching gears, I could probably move back to a Windows laptop. Except, the display alone isn’t enough to make me switch, no matter how spectacular it looks.

Sadly, no secondary screen

Zenbook 14X OLED

Unlike the Intel version of the Zenbook 14X OLED, the Ryzen variant uses the proprietary NumberPad 2.0 instead of a second-screen built into the touchpad.

It would’ve been nice to get a secondary display, but it’s not necessary especially when the 4K OLED touchscreen takes so much battery life.

Lose yourself in that audio-visual experience

What I enjoyed the most is the audio-visual experience that the Zenbook 14X OLED brought me. When you parade a visually-stunning display together with a stereo sound system tuned by Harman Kardon, you could lose yourself in awe.

I had a pleasant time watching Single All The Way on Netflix, I forgot I was working. Sometimes, I end up zoning out when I play “La Vie En Rose” on YouTube Music. The experience is simply spectacular, it helps you enjoy a bit of life.

Professional laptop that lets you work and literally play

Like many guys out there, I care for power — especially when talking about a Windows laptop. Maybe it was me growing up tinkering with computers, but I have so many high expectations on Windows laptops.

When I got the Zenbook 14X OLED, I knew right away it’s a multi-tasking powerhouse. And it certainly did not disappoint despite having a unit that only has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of Internal Storage. My only gripe is how there’s a one- or two-second delay opening up important programs like the file explorer and anything related to the system settings.

Zenbook 14X OLED

It’s not the case when you’re browsing, switching apps, or even playing games. Yes, I did install Steam and re-downloaded my favorite games. My exact unit uses an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H clocking up to 3.3GHz, so it made me wonder if a professional-looking laptop can handle my desire to blow off some steam.

I played some of my favorite MMORPGs, Dota 2, and of course, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I’d say the machine handled everything well — keeping up with graphics-intensive gameplay, high resolution, vivid colors, and staying lag-free.

Zenbook 14X OLED

Excessive heat and shorter runtime

What bothered me was the excessive heat the Zenbook 14X OLED produced when I was playing for only a few minutes. I guess I pushed it harder than what’s expected, but happy to report that you can balance work and play.

Its new, thermal design and smart sensors — like the ones in the ProArt Studio — helped maintain high performance at optimal power efficiency. No. Throttling. Involved.

Zenbook 14X OLED

Its heat pipes and 90-blade fan tried their best, so props to that. What’s funny though, is how the Zenbook 14X OLED promises up to 8.3 hours of work and play unplugged, but it actually has a shorter runtime. Much shorter when you play a game. My 100 percent battery went down to 51 percent in just 30 minutes of playtime.

For everyday tasks, the laptop lasted me around five to six hours. That includes writing my stories on moderate brightness, watching videos, music playback, hopping on virtual meetings, and browsing on the web.

Charging it for one hour with its thick yet compact power brick gave me enough juice to power through the day. From 20 percent, I was able to fill the battery up to 82 percent.

Ready to keep you connected whenever, wherever

If you’re the type of professional who needs a lot of ports for different devices and peripherals, the Zenbook 14X OLED is packed with relevant input and output ports. There are two (2) reversible USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, supporting up to 10Gbps of data transfers. There’s also your regular HDMI port and even a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port for your connectivity needs.

My favorite would be the 3.5mm combo audio jack and the microSD card reader — which I still deem essential for transferring confidential files obtained using my smartphones and cameras.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re a professional in need of a machine that lets you balance work and life, the Zenbook 14X OLED can surely keep up. And it’s probably the way to go, especially when you’re in the market for a new laptop.

The Zenbook 14X OLED simply means business from the way it looks. And it can carry its duties excellently whether it’s sharing presentations, a half-day worth of video meetings, or even doing creative work.

Zenbook 14X OLED

Its only shortcomings were its shorter runtime and excessive heat produced over highly intensive tasks. But it surely can deliver the power, audio-visual experience, and performance that can keep up with your fast-paced lifestyle and go-getter personality.

The ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED (UM5401) retails for PhP 64,995 for the 8GB/512GB variant. Meanwhile, it costs PhP 66,995 for the 16GB/512GB configuration.

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