The display is a 13.3-inch IPS panel with a 1920x1080p resolution (166ppi) and is manufactured by Chi Mei Corporation (CMN1367), featuring a glossy finish with rather decently responsive touchscreen. The backlight reaches up to 319 nits, which is similar to the HP Spectre 13 (non-convertible) at 305 nits and the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA at 309 nits. This should be more than enough for indoor environments, though it still comes short of products such as the Dell XPS 13 9360 (Kaby Lake) with QHD+ panel option, or the Lenovo Miix and Yoga Book, which are reported at 400 nits in some tests.
HP has not specified whether the touchscreen on Spectre x360 Kaby Lake refresh supports stylus pen input, as its website only lists official support for Spectre X2 detachable notebooks. However, users of previous 13.3-inch Spectre x360 Skylake models have said that the company’s Active Pen, and even active pens from other companies should work just fine with the notebook. We can also note that there are several pen products listed on Amazon that are designed specifically for the device.
Windows Hello works, with minor drawbacks
The notebook also supports the Windows Hello login feature, which uses two IR sensors on each side of a webcam centered at the top of the display bezel to recognize facial features with relative ease. The feature can operate in low-light environments and allows for subtle changes in appearance including facial hair or makeup, but in our experience it does not seem to work well with glasses. Many eyeglass wearers do not always wear transparent glass or plastic lenses, and it appears that the IR sensors are not able to recognize optical features behind anti-reflective or UV coating, or other materials such as polycarbonate, Trivex, etc.
Touchpad and Keyboard
The second-generation Spectre x360 refresh still features a wide glass touchpad though a bit smaller than the original, measuring 4.7 by 2.3 inches (11.9 x 5.8cm) versus the previous 5.5 by 2.5 inches (14 x 6.4cm). Other reviews have been quick to note it isn’t a Microsoft Precision Touchpad, a recent technology that now handles multi-touch algorithms and gestures directly from within Windows rather than through third-party manufacturer firmware and driver files. The touchpad provides adequate multi-gesture support in Windows 10, yet may still occasionally trail in accuracy over products like the Microsoft Surface Book or Dell XPS series with the aforementioned technology, or even the MacBook Pro experience. From first glance, however, the keyboard and touchpad layout are particuluarly reminiscent of the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390A as the keys stretch from edge to edge in a minimal yet space-efficient design.
HP Spectre x360 (Kaby Lake) keyboard and touchpad
ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390A keyboard for comparison (0.8mm key pitch)
The keyboard provides 1.3mm of key travel, which is on par with Dell’s XPS 13 9360 and Lenovo’s Yoga 910, while just a bit higher than the MacBook Air 2016 with 1mm travel distance. We have been slowly adjusting to the more brushed metallic keys on the Spectre x360 from an ASUS ZenBook, which featured a smoother metal aluminum finish. The wider keyboard design on this notebook refresh definitely helps to improve overall keystroke accuracy, though the near edge-to-edge design is a bit of an optical illusion, as it gives the impression of working on a larger 15-inch device than on the 13.3-inch form factor.
The keyboard backlight is relatively straightforward, as there is only one brightness level to choose from when the F5 button is toggled. Needless to say, the backlight definitely bleeds through the bottom of the keys, and this can be quite irritating for those who only want the key symbols themselves to be illuminated in darker environments. As such, we have found that during indoor evening use in dim lighting conditions, the keys are still more recognizable when the backlight is off due to the excessive bleeding, so this is likely an area that HP can improve upon with later revisions