Back in April, Intel announced details of their new Intel Optane H10 solid-state storage. Now we’re seeing hardware with the product in, that we can get hands-on and let you know if all the hype about extra performance, is really worth it.
What makes this new Optane different and exciting is that Intel took one of those new super fast M.2 SSDs drives and turned it into a hybrid chip. Half of the chip contains 32GB of Optane memory, and the other half houses 512GB QLC-based NAND for storage. The combination of high-speed acceleration and large SSD storage capacity on a single drive will benefit everyday computer users, whether they use their systems to create, game or work.
Intel says it’ll accelerator performance to deliver documents launch times as much as twice as fast, launch games 60% faster and open media files up to 90% faster while multitasking.
“Intel Optane memory H10 with solid-state storage features the unique combination of Intel Optane technology and Intel QLC 3D NAND – exemplifying our disruptive approach to memory and storage that unleashes the full power of Intel-connected platforms in a way no else can provide.”
–Rob Crooke, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group
Curves in all the right places
The HP Spectre X360 is a stunningly designed laptop, one of the best on the market and reminds me a lot of the Dell Adamo I reviewed many years ago. Of course, being an X360, the screen folds back and offers you plenty of options for different use conditions.
The 13″ model is a perfect size and weight for daily use, whether that’s on a commute to the office, during a flight or just watching a movie on the couch, with the X360 it’s designed to do all of it.
I promise you, if you take this to meetings, it’s an absolute conversation starter, most people have never seen anything like it. The angled corners, the Dark Ash Silver colour with gold accents, it just screams premium and to use the device, it feels it as well.
How do it perform ?
The HP Spectre X360 offers some great performance, with system boots amazingly fast, wake from sleep times that feel sub-second and Windows Hello face and fingerprint unlock faster than you can blink.
The system has no problems with most productivity tasks but is slightly let down by the Intel UHD Graphics 620. This isn’t a problem for most users as you understand what you’re buying, a business laptop with great battery life, storage, performance and design, it’s just not going to be a 3D gaming laptop.
The model I got hands-on with, offered just a 1920×1080 resolution which did look great (100% or 125% scaling), but there is a higher spec model offers a 4K display (3840 x 2160) which I would love.
When it comes to performance, I wanted to compare to other devices I’ve used in the past. This thin, light and convertible was never going to beat a gaming laptop with dedeciated RTX2060 graphics, but that’s not exactly a fair fight. This laptop acheived 3206 in PC Mark 10.
Is this going to beat a modern PC build, no, but you’ll always pay a performance penalty for portability and that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. The good news is that when you return to your desk and dock it to external peripherals, you’ll have a device powerful enough to get most tasks done with ease.
Stand out features of this display.
The Spectre X360 comes in 2 sizes, the 13″ (reviewed) and the 15.6″ model. The size difference can dramatically impact your specs like display resolution, battery life etc, but interms of design and features, its the same device.
The Spectre comes in a number of different configurations, so choose carefully when checking out. The review model had 1920×1080, while the top-end models feature a 4K display. The display was amazingly bright and colours were vibrant, great for use in coffee shops, even next to windows exposed to sunlight.
Passwords are nightmare, I think we can all agree on that. Thanks to a Windows Hello compatible webcam, the Spectre X360 is super easy and crazy fast to sign into. It takes a couple of minutes to register your face in Windows 10, which then allows you to sign in easily. I found this to be incredibly accurate and the facial recognition worked incredibly quickly.
While we’re talking about the camera, HP have included a hardware switch on the side of the device to enable you to ensure the camera is not on. Known as the Privacy Camera Kill Switch, it’s a feature that’ll give some users confidence, although I never found myself using it.
Between the keyboard and display, runs an edge-to-edge speaker grill that allows the HP Quad Speakers, custom tuned by Bang & Olufsen to eminate from the chasis. The audio does have plenty of volume to it, but does lack some of the bass I hoped for, easily outpaced by even mid-level headphones.
One of the most unique attributes of the Specture X360 is the angled corners, setting it appart from the regular HP Elitebook X360. These corners aren’t just a design element, they’re functional. The left features the power button, while the right has a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, great for charging the device without impacting the space beside the device, like when you add a mouse.
In terms of ports, you’ll find a MicroSD card slot, USB-C Thunderbolt 3 and 3.5mm audio jack. The left side is only interrupted by a single USB 3 Type A port.
Being a 2-in-1 device, HP include a digital stylus with the Spectre X360. This is thicker than a regular pen, but does feel great in the hand and is fast and responsive when used on the screen. From annotating a screenshot in Snip & Sketch, or just taking notes in OneNote, the pen is a great inclusion to the product.
Any device, no mattery how good, is only as good as it’s battery life. Thankfully there’s good news here, HP officially list ‘up to 20 hours’ which definitely sounded ambitious. After spending time with the device, it’s easily getting 15-16 serious hours out of it. In my mind, these numbers are really what it takes to earn the heralded ‘all-day’ battery life label.
The best thing about the Spectre X360 is that even under loan, I never really heard the cooling fans.
Not everything’s perfect
There’s really not a lot to complain about with this device, its really polished, refined and feels like a device in its 10th generation. Perhaps the biggest point of contention is the inclusion of Windows 10 Home edition, for the price you’re paying, I’d definitely expect the Pro SKU.
In reality, most of these units are probably purchased by business and therefore will have the Microsoft volume licences to image it with a higher edition like Pro or Enterprise.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The HP Spectre X360 13″ is available now in Dark Ash Silver (reviewed) or Poseidon Blue and comes with the following specs.
- Intel Core i7 8565U Processor (1.8 GHz base frequency(2b), up to 4.6 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology(2g), 8 MB cache, 4 cores)
- Windows 10 Home 64
- 13.3″ diagonal FHD IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass (1920 x 1080)
- 16 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (onboard)
- 1 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
It’ll cost you A$2,999.00 including GST.
The HP Spectre X360 is honestly one of the nicest devices I’ve used in a long time. The design and features are seriously impressive and refined. If you pull this out at your next meeting you’ll create some serious envy as the thin, light, portable and powerful package is something everyone wishes they could have, but the price tag will scare some.
If you can find a way to justify the cost of this, stretch and get the 4K display, it’s not many more dollars. The best strategy is to get your boss on-board and get them to buy it for you.
Intel’s hybrid Optane Storage and RAM module is seriously impressive and I’m not sure I’ve used a faster device this year. This thing is so snappy, it really never feels like your waiting for application launches or switches. The slowest part of this device will be your interet connection on a large internet download.
Sure it’s pricey, but this is one instance of getting what you pay for. The build quality, keyboard, trackpad and display are all exceptional, nice work HP, I’ve got no problem suggesting people buy this, just start saving for it now.
- USB-C charging
- Windows10 Home, not Pro