HP's updated Spectre x2 will compete against new Surface Pro

How does the $999.99 convertible laptop stack up against Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 device?
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

HP Spectre x2

Lost amid yesterday's launch hoopla for Microsoft's latest Surface Pro hybrid tablet was HP's announcement the day before of a refreshed Spectre x2 convertible that will squarely face off against the more-hyped device.

With its 12.3-inch display and digital pen-based input, the Spectre x2 is clearly gunning for the same target buyer as the Surface Pro. But how does it compare? It wins on screen resolution (3,000x2,000 versus 2,736x1,824) and its base model uses a seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) Core i5 processor whereas the new cheapest Surface Pro settles for an updated Core m3 chip.

The base Spectre x2 will also outdo the new Surface Pro when it comes to RAM, doubling the 4GB that comes with Microsoft's base model, and you even get a second USB 3.0 port built into the HP convertible compared to the Surface Pro's single one. Each base model includes 128GB of solid-state storage, but the Surface Pro scores points with its superior battery life (up to 13.5 hours versus the Spectre x2's 8 hours) and starting price of $799 compared to the HP's $999.99. (Note that both hybrids max out with Kaby Lake Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM, and up to a terabyte SSD if you want to pay hundreds more.)

That price gap, however, is a bit deceiving, as the Surface Pro comes as just a slate sans pen and detachable keyboard, which are included with the Spectre x2. Tack on the Surface Pen and the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover accessories, and you actually wind up paying a bit more for a less powerful, albeit longer-running, 2-in-1.

This is, of course, Microsoft's problem with its lengthy delay in upgrading the Surface Pro 4: It's allowed competitors to produce similarly elegant devices with superior specs at similar price points when you factor in the accessories that actually make the tablet a productive hybrid. The tech giant has been resting on its laurels a bit, allowing the likes of Dell, Samsung and HP to cash in on the Windows convertible market that the initial Surface devices kickstarted.

With the refreshed Spectre x2, HP is giving you a choice when both it and the new Surface Pro arrive next month. For around $1,000, you can get a 2-in-1 with a higher-res screen and more powerful processor, or one with superior battery life and the Microsoft imprimatur. If you're in the market for a Windows convertible device, which one would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below.

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