HP Spectre x2 review: more imitation than innovationImitation is a form of flattery. Great artists steal. You can choose whatever cliché you prefer, but the truth of the matter is that many of the products we use today are copies of, or at least inspired by, something that came before it. In the laptop world, Apple’s MacBook Air was the inspiration for countless Windows laptops for more than half a decade. In more recent times, Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has been the muse by which many PC makers have designed their two-in-one devices.HP’s Spectre x2 is one of those devices. It’s a detachable two-in-one tablet that purports to replace your laptop. The x2 is basically HP’s take on the Surface, and it borrows many ideas and features from Microsoft. The latest version, which came out this summer, is closer to the Surface than ever before: HP upgraded the display and changed its shape to match the Surface; the speakers have been moved to the front bezel of the screen; and the whole package is thinner and lighter than before.The main area where HP differs from Microsoft is in pricing: at $1,299.99, as tested, the Spectre x2 offers a more powerful processor and more storage than the Surface Pro. And unlike the Surface, which doesn’t include a keyboard or pen, the Spectre x2 includes both items in the box. A comparably equipped Surface Pro will run close to $1,830 when you add in the keyboard and pen, making the real-world cost difference between the two devices a not insignificant $500.That’s a big price gulf, so unless HP really dropped the ball with the Spectre x2, it seems like the obvious choice, right? After using the Spectre x2 for over a month, and comparing it directly with the new Surface Pro, I’m not so sure that it is.The Spectre x2 looks like an obvious clone of the Surface Pro, but it has a more understated, business-like appearance. In place of the light gray frame and colorful, fabric-covered keyboards of the Surface, the x2 is a dark charcoal with a matching dark textured keyboard cover. The only pop in the design is the shiny coppery-gold HP logo and kickstand on the back.
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