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 finest convertible 2-in-1 available today and one of the best laptops overall, while the Apple MacBook Air M2 is a great updated version of Apple’s venerable machine. Both are outstanding laptops that should be on anyone’s shortlist for their next upgrade.

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


HP Envy x360 13.5 Apple MacBookAir M2
Dimensions 11.73 inches by 8.68 inches by 0.67 inches 11.97 inches by 8.46 inches by 0.44 inches
lester 3.01 pounds 2.7 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i7-1255U
Eight-core Apple M2 processor, eight-core GPU
Eight-core Apple Me processor, 10-core GPU
Chart Intel Iris Xe Apple M2
8 GB
16 GB
24 GB
Display 13.5 inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touchscreen
13.5-inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touchscreen privacy screen
13.5-inch 3:2 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED touchscreen
13.6 inch 16:10 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina IPS
Storage 512GB PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
To touch Yes Nope
Ports 2 USB-C 4.0 ports with Thunderbolt 4
1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 microSD card reader
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
webcam 5MP with infrared camera for facial recognition 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 macOS Monterey
Battery 66 watt hours 52.6 watt hours
Price $1,250+ $1,199+
Evaluation 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Prices and configurations

HP prices change regularly, with sale 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 processor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 13.5-inch 3:2 IPS WUXGA+ touchscreen. it is configured with a Core i7-1255U, 16GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD and a 13.5-inch 3:2 3K2K OLED touchscreen, the laptop costs $1,810. You can also configure the Specter with up to 32GB of RAM, but for some reason that’s not available with the OLED display.

The price of the Apple MacBook Air M2 is fixed, at least when purchased from Apple. The base model costs $1,199 for an Apple M2 8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Max out the MacBook and you’ll spend $2,499 for an 8-core CPU/GPU 10 M2 cores, 24 GB of RAM and a 2 TB SSD.

Overall, the Specter x360 13.5 is a cheaper laptop except at the entry level, where HP includes double the storage for an additional $50.


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 is constructed from CNC machined aluminum in one of three colors, Natural Silver, Nightfall Black and Nocturne Blue and its build quality is truly superior with zero flex, flex or twist anywhere in the lid or frame. The latter adopts the more blocking design of the larger MacBook Pro models, ditching the historic tapered shape of the MacBook Air, and its unibody chassis is impressively thin at just 0.44 inches compared to the Spectre’s 0.67 inches. The MacBook Air M2 is available in Midnight, Space Grey, Silver and Starlight, and while the chassis is as rigid as the HP’s, the lid is slightly bendable.

Both are attractive laptops that represent the pinnacle of high-end machines. What’s right for you depends on whether you want the flexibility of a 2-in-1 that can convert to clamshell, tent, stand, and tablet mode, with touch and active pen support, or whether you’re 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 snappier, more precise feel. The Specter x360 13.5’s keyboard is also excellent, and it’s deeper, but it’s just a little behind the MacBook’s. Both will allow you to comfortably type at full speed, however. The MacBook’s Force Touch trackpad is far better than the mechanical version of the Specter (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 touchscreen with active pen support, so it supports tapping and inking with aplomb.

The MacBook Air M2 includes a notch to accommodate a 1080p webcam, which bothers some people. HP managed to include a 5MP with an equally small bezel, so it’s curious 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 includes an IR camera for passwordless Windows 11 Hello support with its fingerprint reader, while the MacBook Air M2 relies on a Touch ID power button to log in. .

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


MacBook Air cover and keyboard.

We reviewed the Specter 360 13.5 with a 15-watt Intel Core i7-1255U processor with 10 cores (two performance and eight efficient) and 12 threads. That’s against the MacBook Air M2 with the 8-core CPU/8-core GPU M2 ARM processor. Apple’s chip is very capable, but it wasn’t significantly faster than the Spectre’s Core i7-1255U in our CPU-intensive benchmarks. The Specter maintained those benchmarks when set to its performance mode, although this did spin the fans where the fanless MacBook Air M2 remained completely silent. Both laptops got warm under heavy use.

Where the MacBook Air M2 gets the strongest win is in creative apps that can use the GPU. The M2 includes optimizations for various processes used by applications such as Adobe’s Creative Suite. It scored a solid 497 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark running in a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro, for example. That’s about 50% faster than laptops that run Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics such as the Specter x360 13.5.

For productivity tasks, both laptops are equally fast. But for creative workflows, the MacBook Air M2 is the winner. Neither laptop is a particularly good gaming machine.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Apple MacBookAir M2
(Apple M2)
Geek Bench 5
(single / multiple)
Balance: 1,566 / 7,314
Performance: 1,593 / 7,921
Balance: 1,925 / 8,973
Performance: N/A
Hand brake
Ball: 169
Performance: 120
Ball: 151
Performance: N/A
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
Balance: 1,623 / 5,823
Performance: 1,691 / 7,832
Balance: 1,600 / 7,938
Performance: N/A

Display and audio

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The MacBook Air M2’s Liquid Retina IPS display is outstanding, with plenty of sharpness, brightness, color and contrast. This is ideal for productivity workers and designers, although more demanding creative professionals 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 go with OLED’s inky blacks. It’s a creator’s dream, as well as a great media-consuming laptop. Note that you can also choose a privacy screen with the HP, which is ideal for people with sensitive data to protect.

HP Specter x360 13.5
Apple MacBookAir M2
380 486
AdobeRGB Range 97% 90%
sRGB gamut 100% 100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.61 1.08
Contrast ratio 28 230:1 1310:1

Both laptops are equipped with four speakers that produce excellent sound. Apple’s sound is slightly better thanks to some specific optimizations.


One side of the MacBook Air showing the ports.

The Specter x360 13.5 is a bit heavier than the MacBook Air M2 at 3.01 pounds versus 2.7 pounds, and it’s a bit thicker. Both laptops are quite portable, however.

Where the MacBook Air M2 really shines is in its battery life. Even though the Specter has a larger battery, the MacBook achieves longevity of almost a day. The HP can be configured with a lower resolution, less power-hungry screen, but even at its best it will fall behind Apple.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Apple MacBookAir M2
(Apple M2)
web browsing 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 as stiff 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 who wants a laptop that can function as a tablet and as a flip, then the Specter wins.

Editors’ Recommendations

#Specter #x360 #Apple #MacBook #Air #Digital #trends

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