HP Spectre x360 13 (2018) hands on: ‘Whiskey Lake’ power sits alongside 22 hours of battery life

HP Spectre x360 13

HP Spectre x360 13
Mark Hachman / IDG
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HP’s flagship HP Spectre x360 13 convertible laptop has previously won PCWorld’s Editor’s Choice award on the strength of its frequent, substantive improvements. Its 2018 update offers even more: incredible battery life (22.5 hours!), a new Intel “Whiskey Lake” processor, eSIM LTE, and even a webcam “kill switch.”

What you’ll immediately notice, though, is a faceted chassis design that angles the corners and offsets the power connections and USB-C port. On the side of the chassis is also a small red switch that electrically disables the webcam, actually removing the driver from Windows.

HP debuted two versions of the Spectre x360 13 in 2017, and what was noteworthy about the excellent late 2017 Spectre x360 13 was its leap to an 8th-gen, quad-core part. Intel still calls its latest quad-core “Whiskey Lake” chip an 8th-gen processor too, but there’s less of an emphasis on performance. HP believes you’ll see a boost of about 13 percent in 3DMark performance from the previous x360 generation, but a whopping 37-percent increase in battery life to a rated 22.5 hours. In part, that’s because the new Spectre x360 uses a 1-watt display panel that still manages to pump out a maximum of 400 nits of luminosity.

HP Spectre x360 13

Mark Hachman / IDG

HP designed its Spectre x360 for your professionals, with battery life among its primary characteristics.

HP Spectre x360 13 (2018) prices, features and specs

  • Display: 13.3-inch (3840×2160) WLED;13.3-inch (1920×1080) WLED with either HP SureView privacy protection or HP BrightView; protected by Corning Gorilla Glass NBT
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Core i5-8265U; 1.8GHz Core i7-8565U (“Whiskey Lake”)
  • GPU: Intel HD 620
  • Memory: 8GB-16GB, DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB-512GB SSD
  • Ports: 1 USB-A, 2 USB-C (Thunderbolt, fast charging), mic/headphones
  • Wireless: dual eSIM LTE support, gigabit WiFi
  • Security: IR camera; fingerprint reader
  • Battery: 60Wh
  • Chassis: CNC-machined aluminum in either “Dark Ash Silver/Copper Luxe Accents” or “Poseidon Blue/Pale Brass Accents”
  • Dimensions: Exact dimensions are unknown, but it’s 14mm thin and 2.9 pounds—slightly thicker and heavier than the previous generation.
  • Optional accessories: Ink Certified Pen (included); HP Spectre Tilt rechargeable Pen; HP Spectre Rechargeable Mouse 700
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Price: Beginning at $1,150
  • Shipping: December (Best Buy)

Hands on with the HP Spectre x360 13

(Editor’s note: Our hands-on was conducted at an HP event which showed off a new HP Spectre 15 x360 as well, emphasizing performance rather than battery life.)

Under the dim lights of a recent HP launch event, it was difficult to distinguish between the new Dark Ash Silver and Poseidon Blue colors. But the accent metals used on the corners gleam. And speaking of the corners—they’re gone. Well, sort of. On each of the rear corners, HP has angled the corners to include a power button on one side and a Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C connector on the other. Because the new x360 is USB-C powered, that means that the power cord can be attached at a convenient angle, or connected via the side of the Spectre, using the other port.

HP Spectre x360 13

Mark Hachman / IDG

HP widened its speaker grille and reshaped it to give it a geometric bent.

Honestly, the new faceted design is a bit gratuitous, as a USB-C slot at the side or rear of the notebook is just fine. But HP has always tried to make its products visually distinctive, and it’s a stylistic flourish that you’ll instantly identify with the Spectre line.

HP Spectre x360 13

Mark Hachman / IDG

The rear corners have been squared off to give the Spectre laptops this “faceted” look. On the right side of the Spectre x360 13, there’s a pair of USB-C ports (with Thunderbolt), the headphone jack, and the new webcam kill switch.

Held in the hand, the Spectre x360 (2018) was both bright and light. The display can blast  out up to 400 nits, even with the new 1-watt panel technology—a huge deal, and one of the most important announcements to come out of Computex this year. The new, ultra-efficient panel minimizes one of the most power-hungry components within a PC. Even though the battery remains unchanged from the Spectre x360 (2017) at 60Wh, HP executives described the reduction in panel power as one of the key enablers of its massive increase in battery life—pushing into the territory carved out by Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, but with a traditional x86 architecture.

To our eyes, the Spectre x360 13’s new display appeared both bright and color-accurate. You also have the option of buying a SureView-equipped panel, which helps reduce visibility to viewers to your left and right, preserving privacy. HP also said it trimmed the bezel size by just under 6 percent, the majority at the bottom of the screen.

Power plays a role in other changes, as well. The Spectre x360 13 (2018) includes an improved thermal architecture, which adds a bit of thickness and weight—it’s about a millimeter thicker, and 0.05 lb heavier. At 2.9 pounds, the Spectre x360 felt sturdy, but not overly heavy.

HP Spectre x360 13 pen

Mark Hachman / IDG

HP’s pen ships with the Spectre x360 13.

HP has also included a “Performance HP Command Center” app that offers three modes: performance, cool, and quiet. We weren’t able to tell how the different modes affected performance and battery life, but the “quiet” mode runs the fan at minimum speed or turns it off entirely, if possible. (Because the demo room was pretty loud, we weren’t able to accurately judge its effects.)

Three other details distinguish the Spectre x360 13 (2018) from its predecessor, the 2017 model. First, there’s a wider, “micro-drilled speaker grille,” which allows what HP calls better acoustic transparency from the traditional Bang & Olufsen-certified speakers. What we’d expect from this would be a louder, clearer sound, but we didn’t have a chance to compare one generation to the other.

HP Spectre x360 13

Mark Hachman / IDG

The fingerprint reader has been returned to its traditional position on the palm rest.

Enhancements to privacy, security

The second feature is a novel take on webcam privacy: a “kill switch” that appears on the right side of the Spectre x360 13 (2018). When flipped on, the laptop’s webcam is electrically switched off. That’s no joke: If you go to into the Windows Task Manager while flipping the “kill switch” to on, the webcam driver actually disappears from the driver list, like so:

Is this a better solution than the physical ThinkShutter on the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon (6th Gen), or the wacky pop-up webcam of the Huawei Matebook Pro X? We’ll have to test it to be sure. (It seems that all three solutions leave the mic enabled unless you manually disable it.) There’s also an IR camera for biometric logins.

Finally, what the side of the Spectre doesn’t have anymore is a fingerprint sensor. With the 2017 Spectre x360 generation, HP argued that the side-mounted sensor facilitated logging into the laptop in whichever mode it was in: a laptop configuration, tent mode, or folded back. HP now puts the fingerprint sensor where most other laptop makers place it: on the palm rest, which makes more sense.

Granted, we couldn’t test a number of features in just the short time we were able to examine the Spectre x360 13, not the least of which include the new chip inside of it. Choice features like dual eSIM should allow always-on connectivity both at home and abroad, and the new gigabit Wi-Fi capabilities should speed downloads dramatically—provided you have a compatible router or access point.

As for the flagship feature, battery life: Based on our tests of the HP Spectre x360 (2017), it seems that our tests usually confirm about 80 percent of HP’s claimed battery life. That would put HP’s eye-popping claim of 22.5 hours of battery life closer to 18 hours—still a massive amount. We’ll have the full report once we can get our hands on one.


Away from caravan, other migrants travel out of spotlight

A small group of Honduran migrants trying to reach the U.S. border walk along train tracks in Trancas Viejas, Veracruz state, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. As a caravan of thousands of Central Americans renewed their slow march toward the U.S. on Wednesd

On a day when a migrant caravan of several thousand was still crawling through far southern Mexico, hundreds of young men were walking swiftly between train rides more than 200 miles to the north.

Some of them had left Honduras the same day as those in the caravan. One had left a week later. The difference: They were moving along one of the traditional Central American migrant trails, riding the freight trains known as La Bestia, or “the beast,” that have been speeding — and maiming — migrants on their journey toward the U.S. border for decades.

While world attention has been focused on the migrant caravan numbering an estimated 4,000 people for the past two weeks, thousands of other migrants have continued their steady flow north on well-trod migratory routes. It’s a faster option — and those taking it hope may help them fly under the radar while Mexican authorities focus on the slow-moving caravan.

In fiscal 2018, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 396,000 migrants who crossed the southwest border illegally. Just the ones who were caught in a week amount to more than the estimated 7,000 traveling in the caravan at its peak.

One afternoon this week, at the spot where a set of mud-packed railroad tracks crossed a rural backroad in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, figures emerged walking in the distance. Every few minutes more groups — of eight, 10, 12 young men — came into view.

They said they had gotten off a train that had stopped an hour’s walk away and were trying to make it to a migrant shelter before nightfall.

Cesar Ferrera, wearing a green shirt and black jeans covered in grime from the train, said he left his home in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on Oct. 13, the same day the caravan departed, but never considered joining it.

“The train takes you much more quickly, and they are walking slowly and are super behind,” Ferrera said. “We are, wow, way ahead.”

He estimated there were 500 to 600 people just like him on the train that crossed the Guatemalan border into Mexico, passing town after town in southern Chiapas state in recent days.

His reasons for leaving were identical to many of those traveling in the caravan. Work was hard to find and what was available didn’t pay enough to support a family. Crime was an ever-present threat. The 28-year-old left his two children at home along with his wife.

“More than anything, the government doesn’t solve people’s problems,” Ferrera said.

He was working as a private security guard at a mall in San Pedro Sula last December and had to fight off looters in the disturbances that followed President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s contested re-election, which was marred by irregularities and denounced as outright fraudulent by Hernandez’s opponent. He said he was not making enough to risk his life protecting someone else’s property.

Since leaving Honduras two weeks ago, he hasn’t had access to news about President Donald Trump’s threats of sealing the border to stop the caravan, but said he was undeterred.

Those living along the tracks in Trancas Viejas didn’t blink an eye at the sight of dozens of young men walking by their homes.

Estefana Reves Cardenas has lived there for more than 15 years. Sometimes the migrants ride the train past, but it’s also common to hear them walking by throughout the night. She couldn’t remember ever having a problem with any of the young men, pregnant women and children who have passed.

“We give them a bit of food,” Reves said. “Not everyone, because they are so many and they all want some.”

It was Manuel Hernandez’s first time attempting the trip.

The 23-year-old farmer from Santa Barbara, Honduras, had started travelling six days earlier and had heard some of Trump’s threats about the caravan.

“Yes, we heard, but we are going to try it,” Hernandez said. “It is an adventure.”

He preferred to travel this way on his own because the caravan attracted a lot more attention.

“One person alone,” he said, “that’s the way.”

Hernandez, who has family in Washington, D.C., said he was sure he could find a landscaping job there.

Noting that he’d be “very close” to Trump, he chuckled and said maybe he would “visit him.”


Florida man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., arrested in probe of mail bombs targeting Obama, Clinton and other Trump critics

A 56-year-old man, Cesar Sayoc Jr., was arrested Friday morning in Florida in the investigation of 12 suspected mail bombs sent to former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leading Democratic critics of President Donald Trump.

Sayoc, a registered Republican voter who lives in Aventura, Florida, will face federal criminal charges for the mailed devices, according to NBC News.

The Brooklyn, New York, native, previously was arrested, in Florida in 2002, on a charge of threatening to throw a bomb. He received probation in that case, without having been convicted.

Read more: Cesar Sayoc charged with five federal crimes in bomb plot

“I’m as surprised as anybody,” said Daniel Lurvey, a Florida criminal defense lawyer who represented Sayoc in several cases in which Sayoc had been charged with theft from retail stores.

At the time, Lurvey said, Sayoc was doing work as a bouncer for a group of male dancers similar to Chippendales.

“He was a normal guy. Somebody I would never think he’d be capable of something like this, if he is responsible,” Lurvey said.

The attorney said Sayoc never discussed anything “political” during their meetings about his criminal cases.

Records show that Sayoc also was arrested in 2015 for violating probation in a case in which he first was charged with grand theft and battery.

A mugshot of suspected package bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. 

A mugshot of suspected package bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr.

Sayoc also had previously been arrested in Florida on charges of possession of steroids.

In 1994, a woman who had the same name as Sayoc’s grandmother accused him of domestic violence in the civil division of domestic violence court in Broward County, Florida. If it was Sayoc’s grandmother, she would have been about 80 years old at the time.

Sayoc filed for bankruptcy in 2012, public records show.

The Justice Department has scheduled a news conference in the case at 2:30 p.m., Eastern time.

Police on Friday seized a van that had been parked outside an AutoZone store in Plantation, Florida.

FBI investigate a van owned by a suspect who was arrested in relation to the a series of package bombs that were sent to leading democrats, in Plantation, Fla on Oct. 26th, 2018.

FBI investigate a van owned by a suspect who was arrested in relation to the a series of package bombs that were sent to leading democrats, in Plantation, Fla on Oct. 26th, 2018.

Investigators were examining a white van plastered with stickers carrying Trump’s name and the presidential seal, according to MSNBC. The network said authorities were looking at “right-wing paraphernalia” found at the scene.


Honda Car Will Roll Out BS6 Compliant CarAhead Of The April 2020 Deadline

Honda Cars will comply with the upcoming BS6 standards at least four months prior to the norms.

Honda Cars will comply with the upcoming BS6 standards at least four months prior to the norms.
It is pretty much obvious that all the Indian automakers will have to start production of BS6 compliant vehicles before the April 2020 deadline. While most of the companies plan to roll out their cars ahead of the introduction of the BS6 norms, Honda Car India’s strategy is no different. The company has shared that its entire product line-up will comply with the upcoming BS6 standards at least four months prior to the norms kicking in. On the side lines of the 4th edition of the CII Smart Manufacturing Summit held in Delhi today, Mukesh Manocha, Assistant General Manager, Welding Division, Honda Cars India, spoke to carandbike about the Japanese carmaker’s preparations to meet the BSVI norms and said, “We will be ready much before the BSVI norms are regulated throughout the country.” When asked about a specific timeline, Manocha said, “I will not give you the exact month now but yes at least four months before the BS6 norms kick in.”

Honda already has the technology and experience to get its cars ready for the BS6 norms. However, the limitation is BS6 most likely will increase the cost of the cars and significantly for diesel cars which will have to be fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter in addition to a Catalyst reductor and exhaust treatment system. Honda currently has two diesel engines in India- a 1.5-litre i-Dtec motor that made its debut in the first-generation Honda Amaze and also is the workhorse for diesel variants of the City, WR-V, Jazz and the BR-V. Then there’s the 1.6-litre i-Dtec engine that made its way into the country in the recently launched Honda CR-V. The latter one is exclusively made for the Indian market and is being assembled in Honda’s Greater Noida plant in India. Honda will consider exporting it at a later date.

Also Read: Honda Cars India Looking To Set Up A Third Facility In The Country


Honda is planning to bring five new models in the Indian market in next three years. The upcoming big lunch is the Honda Civic facelift which was recently unveiled. The Honda Civic facelift is powered by a 140 bhp, 1.8 litre petrol engine in the global market, however; it’s likely to get a bump up in the power output for the Indian market. One among the five new launches will also be the a compact SUV- Honda HR-V (known as Vezel in some foreign markets) that will go up against the Hyundai Creta