13" Spectre on Ice

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by kurt corbin, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Ok folks, let's all take a deep breath (boy, is that the pot calling the kettle black). All of the stats above show that HP cut corners on the SSD. But let's step back from the edge for a moment and view the overall end product. During the past week, the top end BB SKU (i7 Ice Lake, OLED, 16gb RAM, 1TB SSD, Iris Pro Graphics, and almost no bezels) was on sale for $1499! At $1799 it is a bargain, but at $1499 it is ASTOUNDING value. It is one of the smallest, thinnest, lightest, most full feature 2-in-1 on the market today. Here's my CrystalDiskMark 6.02 results:

    HPSpectreCDM.png

    Not earth shattering, but well better than necessary except for the most demanding professional use. Now I've b*****d about vendors and SSD's myself, particularly the perceived trick of shipping review units with Samsung EVO drives, but production models come with Toshiba. And are they really stretching it with the "Optane" marketing to unsuspecting customers (and equally naive pimple faced blue shirts at BB), as well as spec sheets that can't even get their own devices described correctly - of course. But put the Spectre up against the current MacBook Pro 13, XPS 13, Lenovo C940, Surface Pro 7, etc., and you have quite a bargain there.

    Yes, I own one, and may appear to be coming off as defensive of my decision, but I think not. Modern PC's are often far beyond what we really need even as power users. Look at @Bronsky - a top level environmental law practice from a Surface Go.
     
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  2. ikjadoon

    ikjadoon Pen Pal - Newbie

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    TL;DR: it's a great laptop. I love it, bought, and run the Owner's Thread at NBR. All the SSD info is mostly nitpicking to most consumers. I'll be the first to note that it won Editors' Choice at 3x major reviewers even while equipped the QLC/Optane SSD (so take that, me!). The win-win for consumers is that TLC drives are still available & cheaper, for those who'd like them.

    //

    Oh, eh, of course: I agree. I should clarify (as I realized my signature didn't carry over, haha, as these two forums are separate): I'm a happy to-be owner of an HP Spectre x360 late 2019 eagerly awaiting delivery. I also "run" the Owner's Thread at Notebook Review. I popped in here to reply about the QLC/Optane benchmarks as some noticed the peculiarly fast SSD scores in some reviews (i.e., the benchmarks stayed mostly within the Optane cache), but some called it average, too, so it's like, "Wait? Is it very fast or just average?"

    It is a fantastic laptop and as I note in my thread, now a 3x Editors' Choice winner at CNET, PCWorld, and Laptop Mag (even when equipped with the QLC/Optane hybrid drives, mind me). For a 2-in-1 in late 2019/early 2020, I don't think you'll find a better choice overall anywhere from any manufacturer. I actually bought it before the reviews came out, but now I'm a little more excited.

    And the value: unequivocally unbeatable. For $1129 + tax, you could get the i7-1065G7 / 16 GB LPDDR4X-3733 / 512 GB SSD / 1W LTPS FHD 1080p panel / normal active pen: that already comes with a sturdy yet thin aluminum chassis, 2x Thunderbolt 3, a USB type-A port (praise be), two-stage backlit keyboard, Microsoft Precision Touchpad, Windows Hello IR + fingerprint, dedicated home/page up/down/end keys, the newest AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (while soldered, it's a tad better than the AX200 Wi-Fi 6), 60.76 Wh battery, a non-soldered SSD, a bundled active pen, a bundled faux leather sleeve, unique styling & colors, dual-fan / 3x heatpipe, webcam/microphone kill switches, a microSD card reader, a 65W braided fast-charger over type-C, and, best of all, Project Athena certified (see the Owner's Thread first post). That's unbeatable and that made it an instant-buy for me (as my $350 Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1 finalizes its death march).

    I'm very hopeful many more people buy this laptop; it's an excellent device & HP's refusal to compromise on so many factors make it deserve a large, vibrant community.

    Ah, all right, yes: it's all just pre-purchasing advice here (I still think most people probably won't find a better laptop overall), but I don't think there is a reason to prefer the H10 SSDs unless you know exactly how you'll manage the cache & you're all right with the slower QLC speeds. And, as mentioned, the snobbery is really only relevant for those who need/are looking for a higher-end SSD.

    New UEFI updates: I'll be curious what the firmware does. I guess the updates may have been for H10 SSDs units, as the HP BIOS notes mention just "- Updates the Intel CPU microcode to improve system stability" and "- Updates the BIOS to provide support for additional notebookmodels." They're dated Nov 29, but I think they've only gone public in the past few days (full release notes).

    Likewise true: the 900P idles at 5 watts (!), while the full-fat 14-watt 905P is screeching at M.2 power limits (3.3V x 2.5A = 8 watts and change) in an oversized 110mm package. Though, these are specifically tuned for high-performance enterprise conditions & the ordinary M.2 Optane SSDs do better.

    Ah, it's definitely "interesting", heh. I'll give you that. My post really is to shed some light on the QLC/Optane hybrid situation, as none of the HP Spectre reviews mention the use of QLC.

    Hopefully my two posts haven't drowned out the discussion from the other 135 posts in this thread, heh, though I spelled out probably more than I needed to!

    To be fair, I've never purchased an HP system before, so this may be par for the course, but, true: their spec pages get mixed up sometimes. For example with the RAM: the consumer actually wins in this one, but HP repeatedly mentions the HP Spectre x360 late 2019 uses LPDDR4-3200 (but then a few times mentions LPDDR4X). In reality, all late 2019 units use the faster & more power efficient LPDDR4X-3733, but somehow it's been copied wrong. Definitely a much more minor inaccuracy.

    Yes, I was a little disappointed QLC wasn't mentioned by reviewers (nor HP, tbh): for the "high-end users", QLC can become problem that manifests a few months/years down the line when people fill up the storage (and not within the hours/days of just testing a review unit). HP & Intel have a lot of sway on their end, so it seems fair to double-check just what's really inside (pun intended).

    And, even for the SSDs, we consumers "win" as the TLC SSDs are cheaper than the QLC SSDs (when at retail prices), so I applaud HP for that.

    Ah, I didn't know that about the Lenovo C940: I wan to believe there were some behind-the-scenes changes quite late in the Lenovo's department, even the X1 Carbon 7th gen / X1 Yoga 4th gen were slated (in a rumor only, of course) to get Ice Lake, but somehow both ended up with Comet Lake and now the C940 is the only Lenovo device offering Ice Lake.

    Reviewer guides: well, for the H10 SSD, absolutely yes. You'll note quite a few review sites all, at the same time and only for the H10 SSD, added to their long-standing SSD benchmarks a brand-new Intel-provided scenario involving opening Excel (among other applications) while transferring a video. Intel calls them "RUGs" (Representative Usage Guides)", as Legit Reviews details:

    This rather canned scenario is what Anandtech called out as possibly "RAID 0", where this very specific "real-world" condition forces the system to 1) read to one end of the hybrid SSD and 2) write to the other end of the hybrid SSD. If I had to guess, they wrote to the Optane portion & read from the QLC portion: to consumers, well, right, that's not that organic. Because they're wired separately, you can get better performance vs an average TLC SSD that needs to handle both simultaneously. Is this impossible to reproduce? No way: I'm sure it hits some customer scenarios. But not many.

    Oh, very much agreed. This laptop is fantastic. And the QLC/Optane situation isn't a be-all, end-all as HP still offers TLC SSDs, sometimes for less than QLC/Optane hybrids, and, yup: I agree with everything else here, honestly. You can't get an overall system that has so few compromises like this.

    And exactly, the SSD is still absolutely an SSD through and through.

    I've never bought an HP before (I've always had Dell Inspiron/XPS laptops), but they really hit it out of the park here. Here's to hoping to a long, storied history with the late 2019 HP Spectre x360 (which also just was called one of CNET's "Best Technology Products of 2019 -- the Tech Worth Buying" earlier this morning).
     
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  3. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I've been looking around, but couldn't find any of 2019 OLED models from Canadian retailers.

    Where did you happen to get yours?
     
  4. tcassidy

    tcassidy Pen Pal - Newbie

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    From HP Canada. They do not have the sale on their site any more. And the regular priced one which just lists 4k rather than OLED is showing shipping delays until January. Guess it was a better seller than they expected.

    Terry
     
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I will soon place an order (from HP.com) for the following:
    -- Spectre x360 13
    -- i7 Ice Lake cpu
    -- 16GB RAM/512GB (or 1TB) SSD
    -- FHD display (concession, not choice - to get LTE)
    -- LTE

    I think it will cost about $1,200. That's an awfully fine piece of kit for that price. Closing comments?

    (Anyone interested in providing me an effective $300 (obo) discount by buying my mint condition, little used Surface Book 13 with 6th gen i5, (weak) discrete nVidia gpu, 8gb/256gb for around $300 with MS pen? That has to be the best $300 (or less) one could spend for an extremely competent device with a wonderful screen, impeccable design/construction and rock stable (W10 updates dependent!) performance! At that price, I should be a buyer (keeper?) rather than seller, but @Steve S has inspired me to lighten up on last gen TPCs.)
     
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  6. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Anyone OLED model owners notice the moire pattern on the screen reported over at NotebookReview:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Since it's claimed to be caused by the digitizer grid, it may also be visible on the IPS variant as well, so maybe @lovelaptops you could look for this too when you get your unit in.

    Personally I'm surprised by this, as I thought modern metal mesh digitizer feature sizes had long surpassed the threshold of naked eye visibility.

    @MobileTechReview @desertlap Did HP mention if they were using a different manufacturing process on the screen touch layer? Maybe it's related to the extra jitter compared to other N-Trig digitizers?
     
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  7. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    @Marty, a couple of observations on the digitizer part of the display.

    Looking at my own unit this morning I can see it under what I would consider abnormal/unusual usage scenarios e.g the screen 90% black with and external light source directly facing it a ~20% angle you can see the mesh if you look really close.

    Slightly more noticeable is if you have a~95% white screen and the brightness is set to maximum at extremely close viewing distances (i.e as you might do when doing a pixel level edit of a photo) there is what they call in TV forums a "dirty screen effect". Of course TVs normally don't have digitizers, but the look is similar. Again it's not something that most would notice in normal use and neither I or my wife observed it but my eagle eyed early twenties aged daughter did.

    As to why for all this, I haven't gotten confirmation from HP but visually the digitizer is closer to the glass of the display than other recent models. I'm speculating that this is a by-product of the extra small bezels and overall thinness of the display (you still have to put the needed hardware somewhere).

    And I have some bad news for those that might be bothered by this (I'm not BTW) but you can observe it on the 1080p screen as well. Further proof I think that it's a function of the physical aspects of the display.

    One more observation: I've said it before, but putting an LCD or OLED in something as small as a laptop or even more so in phone is a huge engineering challenge and you can see any number of "issues" if you go looking on pretty much any display. e,g. using the same first scenario above I can see the grid pattern of the digitizer on my iPad Pro 11 or I can see a slight variation in screen brightness on the Note 10 + I have sitting next to me this morning.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  8. kurt corbin

    kurt corbin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but which digitizer are you referring to, the pen or the touch? Or does Micro soft have them integrated?
     
  9. desertlap

    desertlap Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Not 100% certain as things can change with newer devices, but in device manager the Elan touch controller is listed.

    If it's like previous HP designs, the pen control and touch are in the same physical structure.
     
  10. kurt corbin

    kurt corbin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hasn't HP tried Wacom, Synaptics, and Micro soft capacitive pen digitizers? Anyway, the one in yours uses the tech Micro soft got from N-Trig and developed further, right? But some other companies might license the tech and actually make and sell the digitizers, right?

    Anyway, I'm trying to figure out how the pen and touch digitizers are integrated into the same physical structure, since it supposed to be an active digitizer for touch and a passive digitizer for an active pen, right? That may be great engineering, except when it isn't. I personally don't care for touch, and I'd rather avoid any possible complications by just not having it. So of Micro soft, Wacom, and Synaptics, does anybody know which, if any of them, do not integrate the pen and touch digitizers into one part so that a person could get a pen-and-no-touch display? Am I the only one? Does Wacom even still make displays with resonance digitizers only?
     
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