HP Specter x360 13.5 vs Apple MacBook Air M2 |  digital trends

HP Specter x360 13.5 vs Apple MacBook Air M2 | digital trends

HP’s Specter x360 13.5 is the slickest convertible 2-in-1 available today and one of the best laptops out there, while the Apple MacBook Air M2 is a superb updated version of Apple’s venerable machine. Both are standout laptops that should be on everyone’s shortlist for their next upgrade.

If you’re looking for a quality 13-inch laptop, you’ll come across these two. It’s a tough choice, but one of them is a better choice than the other overall.

specifications

HP Envy x360 13.5 Apple MacBook Air M2
Dimensions 11.73 inches by 8.68 inches by 0.67 inches 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches by 0.44 inches
weight 3.01 pounds 2.7 pounds
processor Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i7-1255U
Apple M2 eight-core CPU, eight-core GPU
Apple Me eight-core CPU, 10-core GPU
graphic Intel Iris Xe Apple M2
R.A.M. 8GB LPDDR4
16GB LPDDR4
32GB LPDDR4
8GB
16 gigabytes
24GB
advertisement 13.5 inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touch
13.5-inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touchscreen with privacy screen
13.5″ 3:2 3K2K OLED touchscreen (3000 x 2000).
13.6 inch 16:10 2560×1664 Liquid Retina IPS
storage 512GB PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive (SSD)
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
2TB PCIe SSD
Touch Yes no
ports 2x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
Wireless WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
cam 5 MP with infrared camera for face recognition 1080p
operating system Windows11 macOS Monterey
battery 66 watt hours 52.6 watt hours
Price $1,250+ $1,199+
valuation 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

price and configurations

HP’s prices change regularly, with both selling prices and list price changes being a common theme. Right now, the Specter x360 13.5 starts at $1,250 for a Core i5-1235U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 13.5-inch WUXGA+ IPS 3:2 touch display . When configured with a Core i7-1255U, 16GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a 13.5-inch 3:2 3K2K OLED touch panel, the laptop retails for $1,810. You can also configure the Specter with up to 32GB of RAM, but for some reason that’s not available on the OLED display.

The pricing of the Apple MacBook Air M2 is set in stone, at least when purchased from Apple. The base model costs $1,199 for an Apple M2 processor with 8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Max out the MacBook and you’re spending $2,499 on an 8-core CPU/10-core GPU M2, 24GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD.

Overall, the Specter x360 13.5 is a more affordable laptop, except at the entry-level, where HP adds storage twice for an additional $50.

draft

For two laptops aimed at the same market, the Specter x360 13.5 and the MacBook Air M2 couldn’t be more different. The former is a 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 with a sleek “gem-cut” aesthetic that’s toned down from previous models. It’s made from CNC-machined aluminum in one of three colors, Natural Silver, Nightfall Black, and Nocturne Blue, and its build quality is truly top-notch, with no lid or body bending, flexing, or twisting. The latter takes the blockier design of the larger MacBook Pro models and ditches the MacBook Air’s historic conical shape, and its unibody is insanely thin at just 0.44 inches compared to the Specter’s 0.67 inches. The MacBook Air M2 is available in Midnight, Space Gray, Silver, and Starlight, and while the body is as rigid as the HP, the lid is slightly pliable.

Both are attractive laptops that represent the pinnacle of premium machines. Which one is right for you depends on whether you want the flexibility of a 2-in-1 that converts between clamshell, tent, media and tablet modes, with support for touch and one active pen, or whether you are looking for a traditional laptop.

We found the MacBook Air M2’s keyboard to be superior. It’s an Apple Magic Keyboard with slightly shallow switches but a faster and more precise feel. The Specter x360 13.5’s keyboard is also excellent and deeper, but it lags only marginally behind the MacBook. However, both let you comfortably type at full speed. The MacBook’s Force Touch touchpad is much better than the Specter’s mechanical version (which is a solid example of the type), with support for clicking anywhere on its expansive surface and a haptic mechanism that closely mimics physical buttons . As mentioned, the Specter x360 13.5 has a touch display with active pen support, so it supports typing and inking with aplomb.

The MacBook Air M2 has a notch for a 1080p webcam, which annoys some people. HP managed to pack 5MP with an equally small bezel, so it’s odd why Apple felt the need to use a notch. In any case, both laptops offer excellent video conferencing quality. The Specter x360 13.5 also packs an infrared camera for passwordless Windows 11 Hello support that comes with its fingerprint reader, while the MacBook Air M2 relies on a Touch ID power button for login.

Finally, connectivity favors the Spectre, which includes USB-A for legacy support and a microSD card reader for the same number of Thunderbolt 4 ports. The HP also includes faster Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 compared to the MacBook’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

perfomance

The MacBook Air lid and keyboard.

We tested the Specter 360 13.5 with a 15-watt, 10-core (two Performance and eight Efficient) and 12-thread Intel Core i7-1255U. That is against the MacBook Air M2 with the 8-core CPU/8-core GPU M2 ARM processor. Apple’s chip is an excellent performer, but it wasn’t significantly faster than the Specter’s Core i7-1255U in our CPU-intensive benchmarks. The Specter was able to keep up in these benchmarks when set to performance mode, although that did rev up the fans, while the fanless MacBook Air M2 remained completely silent. Both laptops got warm with intensive use.

Where the MacBook Air M2 wins the most is in creative applications that can take advantage of the GPU. The M2 includes optimizations for various processes used by apps like Adobe’s Creative Suite. It scored a strong 497 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro, for example. That’s about 50% faster than laptops with Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics like the Specter x360 13.5.

When it comes to productivity tasks, both laptops are equally fast. But for creative workflows, the MacBook Air M2 is the winner. Neither laptop is a particularly good slot machine.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
geek bench 5
(single / multiple)
Bal: 1.566 / 7.314
Power: 1,593 / 7,921
Ball: 1.925 / 8.973
Performance: N/A
handbrake
(seconds)
Ball: 169
Power: 120
Ball: 151
Performance: N/A
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
Bal: 1.623 / 5.823
Power: 1,691 / 7,832
Ball: 1,600 / 7,938
Performance: N/A

display and sound

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The MacBook Air M2’s Liquid Retina IPS display is superb, with plenty of sharpness, brightness, colors and contrast. It’s great for both productivity workers and creatives, although the most demanding creative pros would probably prefer slightly wider colors. The Specter x360 13.5 we reviewed came with a sharper OLED panel that’s even better, with robust color gamuts and excellent accuracy to match the inky black OLED colors. It’s a creator’s dream and an excellent laptop for media consumption. Note that the HP also lets you choose a privacy screen, which is great for people who need to protect sensitive data.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(OLED)
Apple MacBook Air M2
(IPS)
brightness
(nits)
380 486
AdobeRGB scale 97% 90%
sRGB scale 100% 100%
accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.61 1.08
contrast ratio 28,230:1 1,310:1

Both laptops have quad speakers that deliver excellent sound. Apple’s sound is a little better thanks to some specific tweaks.

portability

One side of the MacBook Air showing the ports.

The Specter x360 13.5 is slightly heavier than the MacBook Air M2 at 3.01 pounds versus 2.7 pounds and is a bit thicker. However, both laptops are light enough to carry around.

Where the MacBook Air M2 really shines is in its battery life. Although the Specter has a larger battery, the MacBook lasts almost a day longer. The HP can be configured with a lower-resolution and less-power-hungry display, but even at best it will fall behind the Apple.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
surf the Internet 9 hours, 58 minutes 17 hours, 59 minutes
Video 13 hours, 59 minutes 21 hours, 9 minutes

Flexibility is key

While the MacBook Air M2 gets better creative performance and battery life, it’s not quite as stable as the Specter x360 13.5. And the HP has a better display option on a laptop that offers more flexibility.

If you’re just looking for a clamshell, the MacBook is a solid choice. But for anyone looking for a laptop that can function as both a tablet and a clamshell, the Specter wins.

Editor’s Recommendations






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