I'm not a big fan of convertible laptops since more often than not it feels like you're getting the worse of both worlds. However, that all changed when I met the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr. This is an impressive laptop on its own right and doubles as an even more impressive tablet. Today we're gonna dive head first to know everything there is to know about this impressive cutting edge machine in our full review of the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr.
Pros: Quality build, High definition display, 128GB of SSD storage, LTE connectivity support, 4 GB of RAM, Bang & Olufsen speaker technology, Core M3 processor, affordable price.
Cons: No dvd drive, no USB 3.0 ports.
Reviewing the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr, Pros and Cons included
A design that goes above and beyond
Before we take a look at the specs, the first thing that takes you by surprise when handling the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr is the build quality. This laptop was crafted on aluminium and it shows, it's very ergonomical and the stainless steel stand only adds to that experience.
Despite having a 12 inch display the keyboard doesn't feel neither tight nor restricted. Sure, you don't have a fully dedicated numeric pad on the side but being a MacBook user I wasn't really caught off guard. The typing experience is overall very comfortable and though I wouldn't object to having a backlit keyboard the ample trackpad more than makes up for that absence.
The screen is one of the most attractive features of this convertible laptop and what makes this a great stand-alone tablet when need be. To be specific, we've got a 12 inch IPS WLED touchscreen display with a 1920 by 1280 pixel resolution.
For me this is the perfect size for a portable laptop, as a tablet it's a bit on the bigger side of things but when you set out to watch movies, chat with friends or edit documents on the go you'll definitely appreciate the extra screen real-estate.
Also, essential to the portable experience, we've got a pretty lightweight device that weighs a full 2.7 pounds when attached to the keyboard and less than 2 pounds when using it as a tablet.
Let's dive into the performance aspect
If we were comparing this processor to another one we could compare it to a third or even 4th generation Core i5, chances are you probably worked with a laptop that has either of these processors.
Being a convertible I was expecting sub-par performance, fortunately I was wrong about that. At the heart of the matter is an Intel Core M3 6Y30 dual core processor that clocks in at 0.9 GHz and can reach a maximum frequency of 2.2 GHz thanks to the infamous turboboost feature. It's a 64 bit processor that works over 4 threads and features 4 MB of Intel's smart cache.
What's the equivalent?
If you aren't a geek like me then perhaps all I just said means nothing to you. In that case I will procure to translate. If we were comparing this processor to another one we could compare it to a third or even 4th generation Core i5, chances are you probably worked with a laptop that has either of these processors.
So what can I actually do with this processor?
Overall this is a very good processor, designed for mobile devices where portability is essential and therefore there's no room for fans and therefore no issues of overheating. This processor isn't what I'd recommend for a desktop replacement laptop but for people who are looking for a laptop to edit videos, watch movies, edit documents, and even launch virtual machines and so forth then this is an amazing processor that will hardly disappoint.
System memory isn't the best on the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr, in that sense we've got a single 4GB DDR3 module. Due to the design of this laptop RAM is not upgradable. That said, I've always maintained that 4 GB is the best amount of RAM for those who aren't power users since it will allow you to run multiples programs at once without much issue. Of course, if you're an intensive multi tasker looking to run 7-10 apps at a time you might find the 4 GB of RAM a tad limiting.
Is gaming completely out of the question?
In a nutshell: Yes. Gaming on this laptop is highly unrecommended since it features an integrated Intel HD 515 Graphics chip which means that with any luck it can run 2014 titles at a decent frame rate but anything much more demanding than that will result in an utter disappointment.
As we mentioned earlier, watching Full HD movies and editing high quality videos shouldn't pose much of a problem but other more graphic intensive tasks such as hardcore gaming are pretty much a non starter with the Spectre X2 12-a008nr.
An impressive battery life and SSD storage
If you're looking for portability chances are you're paying close attention to battery life. In this regard, we're happy that our review of the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr can report a lithium battery capable of delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.
However, since we're typically quite cynical about battery life claims we're gonna go ahead and slash that to 8 hours of "normal usage" which, all in all, is still pretty great for you to not have to carry around any cords with you.
In terms of storage, this is another big pro for this laptop since we've got a 128GB SSD storage unit. If you're familiar with SSD storage you'll know that this is a much faster storage option than traditional hard drives delivering quick a seamless access to your apps, files as well as incredibly fast boot times.
Sure 128GB might seem on the low end if you're accustomed to 1 TB hard drives but you can always carry around an external hard drive and benefit from the massive speed bump that an SSD delivers.
Connectivity that goes beyond traditional laptops
Connectivity on convertibles is hardly ever done right, however HP managed to go the extra mile here and actually embedded this convertible with a Verizon LTE connection allowing you to get a contract so that you may have an internet connection wherever you go. You can also choose to not activate this option but it's always good to know it's there.
As far as the rest of connectivity we've got a couple of USB C ports (there's an adapter included in your purchase) an audio jack and an SD card reader. There's no DVD reader which you might've guessed by now but we get a nifty 8 megapixel rear end camera which is not as common as you might think.
Finally, audio quality was also a big surprise, with Bang & Olufsen technology this laptop is great for watching movies or listening to music with a truly remarkable audio experience.
Closing statements: Is this convertible worth your money?
We wrap up this review of the HP Spectre X2 12-a008nr with our finishing arguments for which we would state that this one of the best convertibles in the market, of not the best, especially when you consider the price tag on this thing.
We've got a breath-taking design, exquisite screen, long lasting battery life, powerful CPU and enough RAM to keep you busy for many years to come. Of course this convertible won't meet all needs and for gamers and graphic designers alike it isn't the best option but for students and professionals looking to buy a portable powerhouse this is one of the best options available.