Gears & Gadgets

HP updates Spectre x360 2-in-1s with webcam privacy switch, more battery life

HP’s premium convertibles have consistently won over our hearts for the past couple of years. Now, the company is updating both the 13-inch and 15-inch Spectre x360 machines with more security features, more powerful CPU and GPU options, and an edgier design.

Let’s start with the Spectre x360 13: the fourth generation of the 13-inch two-in-one is slightly thinner and lighter than the previous model, now measuring 14.5mm thick and weighing 2.9 pounds. The now-faceted edges complement the jewelry-like gold finish, and the back corners near the hinge have a new angled design. HP made use of the angled corners by sticking an extra USB-C port on one of them. Whether open or closed, the Spectre x360 13 can connect to peripherals or charge via that extra USB-C port.

The touchscreen hasn’t changed much, but it will now come in an FHD with Sure View option. HP’s Sure View integrated privacy screen prevents others from looking over your shoulder and spying on your work. Professional users will be happy to have that as an option on the Spectre x360 13—it may not be billed as a commercial two-in-one, but many users who have the device use it for both personal and professional purposes.

The Spectre x360 13 also has an optional IR camera and fingerprint reader, the latter of which moved from the side of the device to the right side of the keyboard deck. One side of the device also includes a new webcam privacy switch, which is basically a toggle that quickly disables the front-facing webcam. Unlike Lenovo’s webcam solution—which covers the camera with a physical shutter—HP’s switch turns the camera on and off by controlling the electrical lines that power the camera. All of these hardware features in addition to new BIOS recovery solutions increase the privacy and security abilities of the updated convertible.

Inside will be 8th-gen Intel quad-core CPUs, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. While HP didn’t disclose the size of the battery inside the new Spectre x360 13, the company claims it has doubled the battery life from the previous version. The new model should last up to 22.5 hours on a single charge—impressive if true, but we’ll have to test it out for ourselves to see if that claim holds up. HP will also offer an LTE version of the new Spectre x360 13, enabling users to get online no matter where they are.

On the flip side, the new 15-inch Spectre x360 measures larger and weighs more than last year’s version (now 19.35mm thick and 4.8 pounds). That extra heft is for a good reason. Inside will be either quad-core Whiskey Lake CPUs or hexa-core Coffee Lake CPUs from Intel. The former pairs with Nvidia GeForce MX 150 graphics, while the latter pairs with Nvidia GeForce GT 1050Ti with Max Q design.

That’s a lot of power for gaming, photo and video editing, and other labor-intensive tasks. To support the new internals, HP improved the thermal management system inside the device to include larger dual fans, dual radiators, an IR thermal sensor, and three heat pipes. The new Spectre x360 15 should expel heat more efficiently than the previous model, and users can choose from Performance, Cool, and Quiet heat modes in HP’s Command Center depending on their needs.

The new 15-inch model also has the angled corners found on the Spectre x360 13 as well as the extra USB-C port and the new webcam privacy switch. It supports up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage and lasts up to 16.5 hours on one charge.

On the commercial side, the Elitebook family gains a new member in the Elitebook x360 1040 G5. HP tried to strike a balance between portability and screen size in this device by making it thinner and lighter than its predecessor and by sticking a 14-inch screen in a 13-inch convertible profile. The screen itself now reaches 700 nits of brightness and has an anti-glare coating to make it easier to read in direct sunlight.

The updated unibody chassis is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and was designed to pass MIL-spec tests. It also has HP’s array of privacy features including the optional HP Sure View, HP Sure Recover, fingerprint sensor, and IR camera. Like the Spectre x360 13, the new Elitebook will come in an LTE model as well.

The Elitebook x360 1040 will support 8th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 32GB of RAM, and various NVMe SSD, SATA SSD, and Intel Optane storage options. Its edges include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one HDMI port, one nano SIM slot, and an audio combo jack. HP estimates the Elitebook x360 1040 will last about 17 hours on a single charge.

The new Spectre x360 13 starts at $ 1,149, and the new Spectre x360 15 starts at $ 1,389. Both will be available this November. The Elitebook x360 1040 G5 starts at $ 1,499 and will be available at the end of October.

Listing image by HP

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Tech – Ars Technica