HP Spectre X360 15 (2017)- N Trig Pen, 4k 15'' Screen

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by kneehowguys, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Though there is no narrative in the above, this is the most important post (IMHO) in this young thread. The very newly released important upgrade to the HP Spectre x360 13 (a Best Buy exclusive for about a week, but as of this week available for order/CTO on the HP site) takes what most reviewed as the near-perfect convertible from last November (2016) that had 3 major deficits (depending on use case):

    1) No active pen support
    2) No SD card
    3) No 4k screen option

    and now all of these are standard/optional on the Spectre x360 13! Personally, I was extremely disappointed that the November refresh of the x360 13 (widely acclaimed for further refining an already-top end convertible, making it thinner and lighter, upgraded to Kaby Lake, etc) had gone backwards on these 3 key features that were standard/optional on the 2015 version (the loss of pen support being the deal-breaker for me) and I was proportionately elated (I know, it's just a consumer level laptop - but note my handle!) at learning this week that these key deficits were eliminated.

    Accordingly, I ordered one of these from HP with the following key specs:

    Core i7-7500U
    16GB DDR4 RAM
    512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD (1TB avail, but for $400 more)
    4K 13.3" display (should be about 350 nit, 95% sRGB
    Pen included (N-trig)

    All for the price of $1,200, after a 25% discount from a coupon code (VIPFEB25NB). It is possible to purchase a very strong variant of this product for $1,000 if you are fine with a core i5 and 8GB RAM and, for yet $200 less ($800!) for a FHD variant of the i5/8GB configuration, again, using the coupon. Finally, one can (and I shall) add a 3 yr extended/ADH wtty for $200, the key feature of which is that HP has created the risk-free Care Package, which refunds the price of the package if, at the end of it's coverage date, you have not made a claim.

    (This wide price swing, from $800 to $1,400, was really tough for me to decide about. The Care Package is really a standalone insurance - truly a no-brainer IMO given the risk-free component - so the swing is really the $800-$1,200 depending upon whether you opt for/against the 16GB RAM, which requires the i7 cpu, which I would not have chosen on its own, but HP plays the same game many mfrs do with CTO orders by forcing you to buy the $200 worthless cpu upgrade to get the $60 RAM upgrade, and, finally, whether you want the 4k display. Many also consider the ultra-high resolution screen to be as much a deficit as a benefit due to concerns for its effect on battery life and scaling issues with some software - both of which have been substantially mitigated in 2017 technology).

    Btw, as this thread has largely featured, the 15.6" variant of this HP model was released in January with all of the recent 13.3" upgrades included at release time. Personally, I find 15.6"/4.4 lbs) to large and heavy for my uses for this kind of device (only 2.8 lbs in the 13.3" version) but at $100 less per config it is a compelling product for someone willing (or preferring) to have the size/weight dimensions. For some reason, though, this design - whether in the Thinkpad Yoga, Dell XPS or HP Spectre x360 versions - has never translated as well to the 15.6" form factor, hence the massive difference in popularity (and significant difference in professional review scores) that have obtained since the first "enlarged" versions were released by each of the big-3 mfrs.

    Sorry for the ultra-long winded post - my curse, for those who have known me over the years! I'm really excited about this HP model, the fact that it is truly a superb "ultrabook/laptop" and also an excellent penabled (though not WACOM) tablet PC. ( I personally don't need a dGPU, but it is available in the 15.6" model). I have long adopted a multi-device strategy and will always have an 8" Samsung or HP penabled tablet along with a 13.3" convertible, and this HP is the first one to entice me to make a major purchase (without waiting for the model to be available at 1/2 price as a refurb or open box, as my last 4 purchases have been!). I'll keep posting about the machine when I receive it - about March 3. There should be some more reviews of the upgraded screen option soon.
     
    JoeS, Starlight5, kvoram and 2 others like this.
  2. PrznMovieFan

    PrznMovieFan Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I was interested in getting this model (16GB RAM/512 SSD for $1499), but one week ago I got a pretty good open box deal on last years model (4K Screen / 16 GB RAM / 256 SSD). With power modifications I've made (50% brightness / removed OneDrive and Cortana / set max processor to 70%) I'm averaging about 8 hrs WIFI and 10 hours offline 1080p local video.

    Know this new 2017 has a bigger battery but also has a dedicated graphics card as well, which could affect its battery life. Some reviews I've seen have stated the 2017 model only moderately outperforms the 2016 model by 15-20 minutes total, if at all. Would anyone know if that is the case for sure? Otherwise a bigger ssd, pen, bigger battery, and slimmer bezel is tempting for a return....
     
  3. bloodycape

    bloodycape Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    So, is N-Trig for their consumer models, while Wacom for their business models? And I take they also stopped using Atmel pens on their business models like the Elitepad 900/1000 line offered?
     
  4. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    The pen support is the only variable that would, in my view, justify a return/replace with the 2017 model. If it is not of much use to you, chances are the deal you got for the previous model would be worth keeping - though you didn't indicate the price you paid. I have read other reviews and, without being able to name the sources, can confirm that the net battery life improvement is likely less than 1 hr. Otherwise, I don't recall if the 15" variant already had SD card slot, but that can be useful, if not a deal-breaker/maker.

    Before you decide, make sure you check both the HP site - for Presidents' Day sales - and a site like SlickDeals - for coupons to get a realistic picture of whether you could score the new model for less than $1,499 and, of course, compare the net/net costs for the comparison. I was apparently very lucky in that I was able to get 25% off using a coupon code from SlickDeals, whereas today when I checked to see if the coupon would still work, it didn't and an HP rep said he was pretty surprised I got it to work at all 3 days ago. Usually HP excludes the newest - and hottest - models in their consumer line from across-the-board X% off coupons.

    So, again, I would:
    1) Check for the best deal available on the formerly $1,499 config as of now - though I cannot do better on the 13" because the 25% off coupon is no longer honored, since that was not in your original calculus, you may find the current selling price for the 15" model has been reduced from the price available a week ago. The price of the 13" model I ordered was reduced by $150 for, I believe, a Presidents' Day sale. The 15" was already $100 less, at $1,499, than the equivalent config of the 13" model, but if it retains that differential, its price in max config may be down to $1,349 now.

    2) Make the decision largely based on the price differential based on today's prices and how much you value the pen and the larger SSD and, to a lesser degree, the warranty you got on the open box.

    It's a form of heresy in this forum to buy consumer grade gear unless the price point is below $500, but unless you need to put this device through traveling hell regularly, the performance and design of the Spectre x360 are top notch and I don't think you can get the combo of performance and screen resolution in a business class model. Plus, don't know what you prefer/ordered, but I am blown away by the styling of the "Ash Grey" (Charcoal) with copper accents and am willing to sacrifice some durability to get it. Though for me, I also de-risked the lack of on-site service contract with the 3 year Care Pack from HP, but that added $239 to the price.

    I'm afraid I may have confused you more than helped! With the best of intentions.....

    Jeff
     
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    I have to say, after 2 years living with both Wacom EMR on my phone, 8" tablet and 12.5" Thinkpad Yoga and N-trig on my Surface Pro 3 and (now-dead) Sony Flip, I am firmly convinced that the two technologies are even-steven! The precision of Wacom EMR is beyond compare, but I really hate the offset calibration around edges. The modern day Microsoft Ntrig (used on the last Sony models as well) don't have the depth/control of Wacom EMR but, as a non-artist, I much prefer the nearly 100% reliability of the N-trig screen calibration. Given that a Microsoft/Vaio-backed N-trig is more likely to have strong support down the line (and old devices get benefit of pen upgrades - by upgrading the pen for the SP3 with the forward-compatible SP4 pen - and getting the SP4 keyboard - I pretty much upgraded my SP3 to an SP4 for all purposes that matter for a net out of pocket cost of $110.

    FWIW....
     
  6. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Lisa just put up an awesome review:



    I have to say, I'd never thought I'd be drawn to gold accents (or other such 'bling'), but that chassis looks quite nice... :)


    UPDATE: Some interesting tidbits from Lisa's more in-depth look at the digitizer:



    • Pen nibs are interchangeable with the Surface Pen nib pack
    • Uses a new digitizer which reduces jitter (@4:25 X360 15" vs @5:05 SP4)
    • Claimed increase in pressure sensitivity (2048 vs 1024 levels)
    Looks like a clue for lot of the things we might expect from the SP5 next month!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    So, the question I keep waiting to hear answered is, is the extremely early refresh of the 13" version of this product (which appeared in Best Buy and on the HP web site for 2 weeks now) going to have all of the attributes of the 15" version, other than port count, which we know is improved from the December 2016 version (SD card added) but lacks the display port and HDMI of the 15" version. Specifically, does the 13T upgrade have the same 4k screen and stupendously fast NVIe SSD (3,000 Mb/s sequential reads!) and equivalent battery life (8-9 hrs) as Lisa reports is found in the 15 version? If so, then this is too impressive - even though a consumer grade product - to pass up. Problem is, I'm not an artist and really don't value a 15.6" "palette" for drawing and much prefer the 2.9 lb weight of the 1080p model to the 4.4 lbs and added girth of the 15.6" version. Part of the reason the 15.6" version gets such good battery life is that it has a larger battery than last year's model. But, between the active digitized, 4k screen and the added battery size needed to keep battery life at the same 9+ hr level of the December 13T would seem to require that its weight go up to some 3.3 lbs. I wouldn't mind that, but think there's a better than even chance HP will feel it would be competitively damaging when compared to the Yoga 910 and XPS 13 to go much over 3 lbs.

    I guess I'm just posting something that can't be resolved until someone reviews the new 13T, but since I've been following this so closely since the December 2016 model came out disappointingly lacking pen support, SD card, 4k option I know as much as can be known at this time and will post any updates as soon as they appear.
     
  8. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    Thank you for posting those. They were excellent, as Lisa Gade's work always is. Now I'm just keeping fingers crossed that the 13.3" refresh (from a December release!) uses the same screen and SSD and accomplishes the same battery life with the actively digitized 4K screen. I think they would need to let the weight rise from 2.9 lbs to about 3.3 lbs between the screen weight and the needed extra battery mass.

    BTW, any thoughts about the following: you can purchase the 13T refresh (with active pen support, 4k screen) with a Kaby Lake i5 and 8GB RAM or an i7 with 16GB RAM and the difference in price is $260! My total CTO invoice price for the top configuration is $1,300, due in part to the successful use of a now-defunct 25% off coupon. Thus, I could have purchased the i5/8 GB config for around $1,040 (only $840 without the 4k screen, which I really don't want to miss). I'm not sure I can save the full $260 by downscaling the config (coupon is no longer valid, but list price has been reduced) but I could get the i5/8GB config for $1,140, $160 less than the top config cost, $940 with the FHD screen. Part of me wonders if the extra $360 isn't wasted as I am really not a power user and it is not clear I would see much difference in the 4k screen in a 13.3" laptop/tablet. The reason I ordered the top configuration, though, was to virtually eliminate all possibility of performance lag and to have the thrill of being blown away by the increasing amount of 4k content that will dazzle on that screen. Call it "future proofing" or, frankly, the fact that instead of my usual purchasing of 2 yr old open box/refurb products, for once I want to go "whole hog." One problem is that you can't upgrade the RAM - it's soldered - and to get it with 16GB you have to get the i7 cpu. I'm pretty sure I made the right decision, but am curious if anyone thinks it's a waste of money given what I say about my use cases.

    **by the way, note that the 13T has long had a problem with battery drain while in sleep mode, approx. 6%/day. HP has been working overtime on patches - and denials of the problem! - but if you read the forums on hp.com it's the typical BS you see from consumer laptop mfrs!
     
  9. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Well it sounds like you value portability above performance and don't need a large screen for art. So I'd say you made the right choice.

    Regarding the SSD speeds and battery life, maybe you could be the first one to do a mini-review and verify if they match 15" performance! ;)
     
  10. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    You talked me into it! Should be getting it around Mar 10.

    FYI, I do value performance, just don't need a dgpu. I was drawn to the i7/16GB combo with the ultra fast SSD to attain an extremely fast, responsive machine, no matter what load I put on it - I may not do heavy video editing, but with a screen like that I would like to play 4k video. :vbbiggrin:
     
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