Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Which powerful convertible should you buy?

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Which powerful convertible should you buy?

With the redesigned Surface Laptop Studio now unveiled, there’s a new option for those looking for a premium Windows laptop. It’s honestly the refresh we’ve wanted to see for quite a while, including an all-new sleeker design. But there are a number of excellent options to consider when picking a high-end Windows laptop. Microsoft has a lot of nice productivity features specific to the surface line, but HP Spectre x360 16 brings a lot of power to the table and a large display perfect for media consumption and gaming.

The Surface Laptop Studio has a little less power, but plenty of other features for creatives, students, and everyone in between. In this comparison we’ll look at how these laptops stack up and discuss which one is best for your use case. This is the Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16.

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Specifications

SpecificationSurface Laptop StudioHP Spectre x360 16
Dimensions & Weight
  • 12.7” x 9.0” x 0.7”
  • Intel Core i5 models 3.83 lb (1742.9 grams)
  • Intel Core i7 models 4.00 lb (1820.2 grams)
  • 14.09 x 9.66 x 0.78 inches
    (358mm x 245mm x 20mm)
  • 4.45 lbs (2020 grams)
Display
  • Screen: 14.4
  • PixelSense Flow touch display
  • Up to 120Hz Refresh Rate
  • Resolution: 2400 x 1600 (201 PPI)
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Contrast ratio: 1500:1
  • Touch: 10-point multi-touch
  • Dolby Vision support
  • 16 inches, 3072×1920 (3K),Touch, IPS
  • 400 nits, 100% sRGB
  • 91% screen-to-body ratio
  • Flush Glass, Anti-Reflection, micro-edge
Processor
  • Quad-core Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H
  • Quad-core Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i7-11370H
  • 11th Gen Intel
  • Up to Core i7-11390H
  • Four cores
  • Up to 5.0GHz
RAM & Storage
  • 16GB or 32GB LPDDR4x RAM
  • 256 GB, 512 GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD removable SSD.
  • 16GB to 32GB DDR4-3200MHz
    Soldered
  • 512GB to 1TB
  • M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 32GB Intel Optane
Graphics
  • Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i5-11300H models:
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Intel 11th Gen Intel Core H35 i7-11370H models:
    NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU with 4GB GDDR6 GPU memory
  • Commercial only: NVIDIA RTX A2000 laptop GPU with 4GB GDDR6 GPU memory
  • Intel Iris Xe
Battery and Charging
  • Intel Core i5: Up to 19 hours of typical device usage
  • Intel Core i7: Up to 18 hours of typical device usage
  • 83Wh
  • 90W AC adapter
Webcam 
  • Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)
  • 1080p resolution front facing camera.
  • Front-facing 5MP
  • IR camera
  • Camera shutter
Colors
  • Platinum
  • Nocturne blue
  • Nightfall black
Port(s)
  • 2 x USB 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4 technologies support
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • Two Thunderbolt 4
  • USB-A
  • 3.5mm audio
  • HDMI 2.0b
Audio
  • Dual far-field Studio Mics
  • Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Quad speakers
  • Bang & Olufsen tuning
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
    Bluetooth Wireless 5.1 technology
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Pricing      Starting at $1,599      Starting at $1,639
Other Features
  • Dynamic woven hinge
  • Precision haptic touchpad
  • Surface Slim Pen 2 support for Studio mode.
  • 3K display
  • TrueVision camera
  • HP MPP 2.0 Tilt pen support.

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Design and build

The Surface Laptop Studio is an entirely different form factor altogether. Microsoft’s vision here was to create something closer to a minature Surface Studio. You can use it like you can a regular laptop, and then the display pops out and you can fold it down to be used as a tablet. It still has a premium build, but it’s more portable and versatile than most laptops.

Unfortunately, if exciting color options and varying materials are your jam, you won’t find that with the Surface Studio Laptop. As with previous Surface Book models, this laptop only comes in Platinum.

Display pulled forward on Surface Laptop Studio

Microsoft also took steps to make sure the Surface Laptop Studio is easier to type on while on your lap. Previous iterations of the Surface Book were simply too top-heavy. One other thing that’s changed about the design is how the new Slim Pen 2 is stored. There’s a cut-out for it under the base of the Surface Laptop Studio, rather than the old method of magnetically attaching the Surface Pen to the side. This method should more convenient and easier to store your pen with the laptop when you put it in your backpack or briefcase.

The HP Spectre x360 16 inch 2-in 1 Laptop PC, is available in nocturne blue with celestial blue accents, and nightfall black with pale brass accents. Another interesting tidbit is this is the first HP consumer notebook made with recycled CNC aluminum. This laptop also features a sustainably made keyboard, bezels and a speaker box made with ocean-bound plastic, along with molded fiber packaging to help reduce the environmental impact.

We do know the Spectre x360 16 will come bundled with the HP MPP 2.0 Tilt pen bundled in the box. While not as revolutionary as the the Slim Pen 2 from Microsoft, it’s nice to have a pen included for the price. HP hasn’t really given many other details on the design and build, and there aren’t any hands on impressions or reviews just yet, as the device was just announced. Past Spectre laptops have been superbly designed and engineered for ergonomic use, so this new model should be no different.

HP Spectre x360 16 open

The build on both of these laptops should be incredibly premium, especially given the starting prices north of $1,500 for each. At the end of the day, it’s all about picking a color option you like and testing out the keyboard layout to make sure it’s spacious enough for your needs. The Spectre x360 16 does have an advantage when it comes to ports though, sporting an HDMI option if you need to connect to external monitors or projectors often.

We’ll certainly have more comparisons in the design department when we’ve had a chance to fully review both of these devices.

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Display

Whether streaming the latest movie or editing the perfect image, the 16:10 ratio and up to UHD+OLED display with VESA True Black HDR and 100% color calibration brings bold details and visuals to life. Experience an extra 22 mm of viewing space compared to the 15 inch version with the 91% screen-to-body ratio. Basically, if you’re a big fan of HP’s other Spectre laptops, but always wanted a little more screen real estate, this should be the perfect device for you.

The 16:10 aspect ratio is a nice compromise between 16:9 and 3:2 for both productivity and entertainment purposes. Black levels should be on point as well with the OLED screen and colors will really pop with the True Black HDR.

Woman standing in front of HP Spectre x360 16

On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Studio only comes with a single display configuration across all SKUs. The good news is that the display has been significantly upgraded from the Surface Book line. You get an all new 14.4″ display at 2400 x 1600 resolution. That’s a 3:2 aspect ratio for those keeping track. If you’re needing a laptop for productivity purpose, I’d argue that 3:2 is the best aspect ratio to go with, especially for writing or working with spreadsheets.

Front view of Surface Laptop Studio

The biggest upgrade though is that the screen goes up to 120Hz refresh rate. The spec sheet actually says “up to 120Hz” though, and that’s because it actually ships at 60Hz. You’ll have to turn on the 120Hz refresh rate. Dynamic refresh rate, like you’ve seen on many smartphones, should be coming later on. Microsoft didn’t really give a firm timeline, but we should hear more about that in the near future.

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Performance

On the HP Spectre x360 16, you can expect base model options such as a 512 GB Intel PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, and other top-tier inclusions like a 3072 x 1920 display, 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11390H CPU, and Windows 11. Of course, we expect that storage, RAM, and processor may have some configurable options once the Spectre x360 16 hits HP’s store later this year.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio comes with Intel’s Tiger Lake H35 processors, along with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, or an RTX A2000 in the business model. H35 processors are new to Intel’s 11th-generation lineup. The H35 processor enables a powerful laptop that’s still thin and light. Having the H-series chip with dedicated graphics should be a big deal for an ultra-portable and adaptable machine like the Surface Laptop Studio.

You can configure the RAM up to 32GB on the Surface Laptop Studio. That should be plenty of RAM for most daily tasks, even with an intense workload. The Surface Laptop Studio also technically has removable SSD storage. While the storage is removable by Microsoft or another service technician, there isn’t an easy way to remove it yourself for a quick swap. The SSD can be configured up to 2TB, which should be enough to satisfy most users.

Front view of Surface Laptop Studio with display pulled forward

Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop Studio will get between 18 and 19 hours of usage depending on which processor you choose. HP is claiming a similarly impressive 17 hours maximum battery life on the Spectre x360 16. Honestly, 17-18 hours sound pretty far-fetched with real-world use, so we’ll need to see how realistic those numbers are when we get units in for review.

Surface Laptop Studio vs HP Spectre x360 16: Cameras and audio

Audio is a strength of both devices. The HP Spectre x360 16 comes with with newly designed quad speakers for higher volume, more balanced treble, along with AI Noise Removal that mutes any background noise. The AI Noise Removal should be a particularly interesting feature to test, given it’s something that HP is really pushing with this laptop.

On the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, you get Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos, which should be excellent for watching Netflix, YouTube or other streaming content. Sometimes speakers can be a weak spot for portable laptops, but you shouldn’t have any concerns with either of these options.

Side view of Surface Laptop Studio

The Surface Laptop Studio has a respectable 1080p resolution on the Windows Hello webcam on the front. That should be just fine for video calls with family and friends, as well as any work calls you need on Zoom, Teams, etc. Webcam quality has definitely become a much bigger deal in the last year due to the pandemic, so it’s good to see manufacturers step things up on that front.

HP is definitely taking the webcam seriously on the Spectre x360 16. Touting it as the the world’s first 16″ laptop PC with an integrated, intelligent 5 MP camera, this also makes it easy to log in using Windows Hello. The camera features a physical shutter controlled by a hot key, with an on-screen display shown in all apps that use the camera to remind the user of its status for added security. That’s not all. The HP GlamCam in the HP Command Center elevates the video call experience.

Woman sitting and using HP Spectre x360 16

Enable Beauty Mode to touch up skin, teeth, and eyes. Get up and take a break mid-call with Auto Frame. Lighting Correction brings the right amount of light to your face by adjusting poor lighting conditions for a seamless transition when you’re moving from the home office to the patio.

The device automatically locks when you walk away and awakens when you approach; when you look away, the screen dims so you can save battery; and if someone is behind you, the device will blur the screen to protect against shoulder surfing. Receive wellbeing reminders including screen time and distance to improve your overall use.

You’ll also enjoy temporal noise reduction, and integrated dual array digital microphones when taking video calls on the HP Spectre x360 16.

Conclusion

Those that are loyal HP fans will absolutely love the HP Spectre x360 16, particularly if you’ve wanted a larger Spectre laptop. The camera features are also a significant reason to consider the Spectre x360 16. HP is taking video calling serious these days. But the Surface Laptop Studio is the sleeker and more portable of the two devices, can utilize the amazing Slim Pen 2, and has the distinctive Microsoft design aesthetic.

If those things matter to you, the Surface Laptop Studio is an absolute masterpiece from Microsoft. Both of these devices are quite expensive, so price isn’t too much of a consideration. Overall, either laptop will last you for years. It’s really a matter of your use case and which specs matter most to you.

    HP Spectre x360 16
    The HP Spectre x360 16 has the portability and power to stay connected wherever they are, and the ability to seamlessly switch between productivity, creativity, entertainment, and collaboration. With an excellent webcam, powerful speakers, and solid internals, you can use this machine for media consumption, gaming, or work.
    Surface Laptop Studio
    The Surface Laptop Studio comes with an all-new design, more powerful internals, and more.

About author

Jeff Springer
Jeff Springer

Applied mathematician with a love for Android. I am interested in inverse problems for imaging and integration with camera software for mobile phones.