Best Light Weight 15.6 inch Laptop with 4K UHD Display – 2018
We review the high performance, light weight 2-in-1 laptop from HP. The latest in the “Spectre” series is the Spectre x360 15t 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop. It has a 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) touch-screen display, with a huge (512GB or 1TB or 2TB) solid state drive (SSD) and a killer 8th Generation Intel i7 with a dedicated Radeon GPU. These start under $1,500 and top out around $3,000 for the fully configured.
The “2-in-1 Convertible” means you can use it like a standard laptop, or flip / fold back the screen to use it like a tablet. The touch responsive screen also works with a stylus / pen.
The battery life on these is fantastic, with up to 12 hours of work time before needing to recharge.
Read the review / buyers guide below, and get the one that best fits your budget (starting under $1,500) and performance requirements.
The “HP Spectre x360 15t” comes in four basic configurations of RAM and Solid State Disk Capacity:
32GB RAM, 2TB SSD – about $3,000
32GB RAM, 1TB SSD – about $2,200
16GB RAM, 1TB SSD – about $2,000
16GB RAM, 512GB SSD – about $1,500
FYI – “SSD” stands for “Solid State Drive”, not to be confused with a mechanical, spinning hard disk drive (HDD). SSD are lighter, faster, and use less battery. But they cost more for these benefits; However, it’s worth the extra cost for SSD.
We recommend the 1TB system over the 512GB, since more file space is always good and the incremental price is very reasonable. You’ll thank us later for going with the 1TB. If you are really into movies, video or photography (a full frame NEF / RAW image on the new Nikon D750 can take about 50MB each) you’ll probably want to go for the 2TB configuration, and just pay the premium for the extra storage.
The entry level 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD is a nice system if you are on a budget. Just keep in mind that it may be a little slow if you like to have a ton of browser windows open at the same time, and also like to keep all your apps / programs open as well. But with the excellent 4K UHD touchscreen, Intel i7 core and the 4GB GPU, even this minimal HP Spectre x360 is a workhorse.
Overall, our best recommendation is the mid-range configuration with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The price difference for the 1TB model to go from 16GB to 32GB is good, especially for the productivity increase you’ll get.
Now let’s get to more of the details:
The HP Spectre x360 15t 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop is powered by Intel’s 8th Gen i7-8705G (“Kaby Lake”) processor.
The i7 CPU runs at 3.1 GHz, with boost mode up to 4.1 GHz, and has an 8 MB Cache. There are 4 cores which can support 8 simultaneous threads, and an internal bus speed of 8 GT/s DMI (Direct Memory Interface). Communicating outside the CPU, it has a maximum memory bandwidth of 37.5 GB/s – that’s fast!
Supporting the CPU is a Radeon RX Vega M Graphics Processor Unit. This GPU has 4GB dedicated memory, which is excellent for pumping pixels out to the 4K Ultra High Density (UHD) Display.
If you aren’t familiar with 4K, it is a resolution of 3840 x2160 or also referred to as 2160p. Comparing this with the next best “Full HD” of 1920 x 1080 or the more common 1080p, there is a 2x improvement in BOTH the horizontal and vertical resolutions. Basically, this means you get about 4x the details in a 4K screen as you would in an HD.
The display measures 15.6 inches, and is made from Touch Corning Gorilla Glass. This is great material, similar to what you would get on an expensive iPad, and it’s very durable. The glass is nearly to the bezel edges with HP’s “micro-edge” technology. This keeps the size of the laptop to a minimum for maximum actual display.
We like “BrightView” technology HP uses for the display. Along with the WLED back-lighting, it helps reduce eye-strain and screen induced headaches after hours of constant use.
Also with the laptop comes an HP Z5000 Bluetooth Mouse (three standard buttons and scroll wheel) and a touch screen Active Stylus Pen. The mouse usually costs around $45 and the Pen around $50, bought separately (don’t want to lose that!). And no, unfortunately the $100 Apple pen and the $50 HP pens aren’t interchangeable to work on the other device.
One trade-off for such a thin, light weight 2-in-1 laptop is the omission of a DVD / CD player. If this is critical for your setup, you can get a low-cost USB connected external player for under $20 (e.g., Mougerk USB 3.0 Ultra Slim ).
Connectivity is provided with a MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) 2×2 antenna for 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. This is dual-band, supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
The Spectre also has a Bluetooth 4.2 Combo wireless interface.
For video conferencing, video calls or making podcasts, there is a Full HD resolution front facing IR camera, with a dual array digital microphone. The image quality is great, and the sound pick up is also very good.
The built-in stereo speakers pump out high volume with good bass tones. You can really enjoy a movie or other videos on this laptop.
You’ll find the standard array of ports for wired connections as well as providing power to your other devices:
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 (Data Transfer up to 40 Gb/s, Power Delivery, DP1.2, HP Sleep and Charge)
- 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (HP Sleep and Charge)
- 1x HDMI v2.0
- 1x headphone/microphone combination jack
Last, but very important, the Spectre weighs in at under 5 pounds (4.63 per HP), making it one of the lightest 15.6 inch laptops you can get. It measures a compact 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches, so it’s easy to carry with you wherever you need to go.
We can’t say enough good things about the latest HP Spectre x360 15t 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop. Hopefully this will be a laptop you can use and enjoy for years to come. Use these links to order from Amazon, or just to get more information / read other customer reviews. We understand this is a big purchase item, and you want to make sure you get the right laptop at the right price.
Because we like to give choices and alternatives – If you aren’t an HP fan, here is one from ASUS.
The ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T is Full HD (1920×1080) 15.6 inch screen instead of the “4K” (3840×2160), and you have to buy the $50 ASUS pen stylus separate. Also, it isn’t a “2-in1” flip / fold, just a regular touchscreen laptop.
It’s powered with the Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core CPU and has the GTX 1050Ti GPU.
- ASUS EOS Shoulder Bag – Grey, Water Resistant($50 value)
- ASUS Wireless Gaming Controller ($40 value)
And a final suggestion, you might want to get an external hard drive to copy all of your files from the old computer. The 1TB drives are in the $50 range – you can read our complete review of inexpensive portable hard drives.
Western Digital 1TB Black My Passport – about $50
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB – about $50