Owner's Lounge: Spectre x360 - 15-df0068nr (Late 2018) - 8565U cpu, MX150 gpu

Discussion in 'HP' started by nosauce, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Deihmos

    Deihmos Notebook Consultant

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    I am looking at this laptop. HP is given me $1350 in gift cards because they can't repair my Envy 17. After 3 Envy 17 eventually failing I am going with the Spectre unit instead but they are more expensive and I can't seem to find a coupon.

    I wish it had builtin LTE like the 13 inch units though.

    I am shocked the laptop is cheap plastic. HP laptops always look really cheap for that reason.

    Definitely going for the more powerful units as battery life isn't that important to me. I rather the power.
     
  2. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    [EDIT: I checked and the laptop, including the back cover is DEFINITELY made out of metal]

    I must have been mistaken. Please see the previous post by @silverwolf0. He corrects me and points out that it's made of metal. It seemed plastic-like to me but must be a very thin metal.

    I wish there was a version with the 8565U processor and the 1050 Ti gpu.

    17" sounds sweet. I'd consider it if battery wasn't an issue, but not sure what it'd be like to carry around a 17".
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  3. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, they've been updating this line a lot. This is why I wanted to create a model specific lounge. There's so many threads that doesn't specify the model in this forum and it seemed to me that the Spectre owners were splintered.

    A lot of people don't like the numpad because the keyboard is off center. Numpad used to be requirement for me but I got used to not having it. But now I'll have to get used to the Numpad again. I definitely type gibberish sometimes because my hands are off.

    I can't comment on the quality of the speakers because I never had the version with the speakers on the side. Also, I'm not sure what to expect out of laptop speakers. I think they're fine. I've watched some reviews and they seem to say that they're "still laptop speakers". So I guess it's nothing special. I personally don't use the speakers much when I'm out with it and rely on better speakers when I have it sync'ed up with my peripherals at home.

    The screen/display is a big deal for me. It's still pretty glossy for sure. I tried putting on a matty screen protector on the middle model (the one between yours and the new one) but it dampened the brightness so I ended up throwing it away. It's annoying when there's sun for sure. I'm on the same page with you when it comes to the quality of the display. The middle model's colors seemed washed out. I like the Dell XPS displays better. It just looks crisper, seems to have better contrast ratio, has a wider color gamut, and has less bleeding (although the edges look a little darker). I'm waiting for my replacement for my new model and the reason why I asked for an exchange is because of the display. As soon as I turned it on the blue Windows setup screen showed up and I noticed bleeding on the sides and darkened bottom corners. I'm hoping I just got a bad unit. I played some 4K video clips on youtube and it looked pretty good. I didn't notice the washed-out-ness that I noticed in the middle model, but wasn't too impressed either. I saw a review from July of the XPS 9570 that boasted the display: 98% adobe RGB, good color representation even though the Reds are still a little out of wack. I don't need 100% adobe RGB, but I'd like 100% sRGB. This site compares your monitor with the middle version (scroll down a little, left two columns). It says your version has 87% sRGB coverage, and the middle version has 90%. I'm hoping my new version has 100%, but I doubt it. The Delta's for the Spectre's are high, but calibration seems to help.
    [I calibrated the monitor and it says it covers 90% of sRGB. I don't think they changed the monitor from the previous version.]

    If you don't like the colors it my be worth investing in a colorimeter. It definitely helps with how things look when you calibrate your monitor imo. I think everyone should calibrate their monitors.

    One thing I did read for the new Spectres is that the max brightness went up and this seemed true. On my XPS 9550 and the middle Spectre model the max brightness was not enough for me for daytime use.

    Thanks for pointing out the non-plastic material. Definitely happy to hear that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  4. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  5. Aloysiusq

    Aloysiusq Notebook Guru

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  6. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    I'm not familiar with the 13 inches. I'm pretty sure the ones with the Vega graphics card are from the previous generation from earlier in the year. HP ditched the Radeon Vega for the Nvidia 1050Ti (Max-Q) for their more powerful lines. I checked all three Vega models in your link and there's no mention of the camera switch and lists a full SD slot in the specs. The new design replaced the SD slot with a micro SD slot which people don't seem to like.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  7. MarkR 123

    MarkR 123 Newbie

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    I'm looking at getting the 1050Ti flavor of this machine. My goal is to replace my aging laptop and my mid-range desktop for video editing, mid-range gaming and music production. It will mostly live tethered to two or three monitors in a desktop config but need to go on the road when I travel. Some questions I'd like your thoughts on:

    * When I'm just doing normal browsing / office work, will the fans come on or do they only come on when pushing the processor or GPU with gaming etc? Is this an option I can set in the power controls (to keep the fans off and throttle instead)?

    * Anything in particular I should look for in a dock? Does this dock look suitable? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CMKLNMN

    * Does it feel off-center with the keyboard not centered under the screen due to the 10 key? Do you have to shift it over to the side?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  8. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    My replacement unit came. I repasted the cpu/gpu, replaced the SSD and RAM, and did a clean install of Windows 10. I'm using my new, spiffy laptop right now.

    Oddly, the unit came without 6 of the screw under the rubber stoppers. I called Spectre support and they're mailing them to me (also offered to come to my house to install it). The mylar sheet that covers the cpu/gpu part was oriented wrong. HP needs to work on their attention to detail.

    I usually never buy warranties but the Spectre support guy talked me into buying a 3 year warranty that covers accidental damage. I bought it ($300) because if I don't end up using it, they'll give me my money back once the warranty ends in 2021. This would have been very useful with my old XPS (I could only find the motherboard on eBay and it was definitely more than $300). Plus, if I drop my laptop and the monitor cracks or I spill water, the warranty covers it.

    I'm not too impressed with the display. It looks like they didn't change the display from the previous model. I exchanged my first unit because I saw some bleeding on the sides which was most notable on the blue background when windows is restarting. The sides looked brighter (uneven) and the bottom tips looked darker. The second unit is better but they're not gone. The 4K clips I watch on YouTube look great but when I'm doing things in windows the colors look a little washed out. When I had the previous model I replaced my unit for the same reason so it seems like it is what it is with these Spectre's. I hope things will look better once I calibrate the monitor. In general I think the Dells (XPS line) come with better monitors. Maybe I'm being too picky. I'm happy with the model thus far and plan on keeping it. I'm happy about the max brightness. It's definitely more usuable vs my old laptop when there's a lot of sun. This is most likely because I'd been using my old laptop (XPS 9550, 360nits) for >2.5yrs. The previous version of this laptop was 330nits and I still thought it was brighter than my old laptop.

    The fingerprint reader (chip based security) is far superior vs the previous model. The previous model's was on the side of the computer and was unusuable -- had to make multiple attempts and denied me a lot. They moved it to the bottom of the numpad and I've been using it without trouble to login to windows.

    I think I'll get about 5.5 hrs of battery life on normal use (office, web browsing, maybe some youtube clips, best performance setting on windows, 60% brightness) which is a little disappointing. [EDIT: I got >7.5 hr just browsing the web and writing e-mails I think it's because it's cold today and the fans were off the entire time, 60% brightness, best performance setting] I'm not sure how much under-volting will help (it didn't really do much for my old laptop). Oddly, the battery came uncharged which is not good. Batteries should be about half charged when its not in use. I had to plug in the computer to turn it on. It's supposed to come with at 84Wh battery but battery report shows 82,790 mWh which I'm unhappy about. I'll probably call them again. I'm assuming it'll count as warranty use which means I won't get my money back? That sucks. [EDIT: Yes, if they ship me a new battery I won't get the rebate. The Spectre support guy has been working with me (called me back) and after using the laptop for a few days the new battery report reads 83,160 mWh. So it went up. The guy told me that it's because it's a new battery and needs to adjust a little bit. I hope it continues to go up a little until it meets the specs (84Wh).]

    Love how the vents are on the sides so it doesn't blow against my lap. Although i read somewhere that this isn't as efficient when it comes to cooling.

    [EDIT: I called Spectre support. The guy had to check with his supervisor and told me that part of the battery is reserved for the bios? Does that make sense to you guys? My battery report says the "design capacity" is 82,790mWh and the "full charge capacity" as the same. And the "capacity remaining" measurements hits the max, so it seems like there's no wear. It's weird because my Dell XPS 9550 which also has a 84Wh battery reads 83,995mWh and charged to this level when I first got it.]
    - Okay, the guy called me back on his own volition and made me run an HP UEFI test for the battery. He made me e-mail pictures a picture of it to him as well as my battery report. He's going to call me back in 3 days and told me to use the battery and charge it when it falls to around 25% a few times until then.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  9. nosauce

    nosauce Notebook Consultant

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    The Windows Central review claims that your version of the laptop can support "up to two 5K monitors".
    The short answer is probably, especially in the summer or when you're at a warm place. With my version of the laptop, the fans kick in at the low, 3000 rpm level when my CPU core temperatures hit about 43 degrees Celsius. There's a quiet, flowing sound and then it turns back off (0 rpm) when the temps go back to around 36 degrees. I'm pretty sensitive to noise and it doesn't bother me. < 43 C is a fairly low temperature to maintain in my opinion. I think we have to assume that the more powerful version will run hotter (even at low stress?). I repasted my cpu/gpu so that may help keep the temperatures down a bit. I've been using the laptop for a few hours today and the fans were off almost the entire time. It kicked in a couple times but then turned off after a little bit. I don't have Office installed yet. I've been doing some web browsing and writing on this forum and textpad (not using Office) (so essentially the minimum use). I haven't watched any videos and windows was running at "best performance". I was on battery most of the time but plugging in the laptop didn't seem to affect anything. Importantly, today was a relatively cold day 19 C (66 F) and I had no heating on at home. Yesterday, it was warmer and I was watching some YouTube clips and the fans were on more for sure (3000 rpm). My temperatures were above 45 degrees for sure (high 40's - low 50's). I'm not sure what the thresholds are for the GPU since I haven't done anything graphics intensive yet (e.g. watching videos offline). So if you're just browsing the web in a cooler environment, the fans may not be on, but like I said the 8750H will run hotter so maybe not. I'll obviously doing more than just browsing the web so I'm pretty sure the fans will be on at 3000rpm most of the time. When you're playing your graphics intensive games the fans will eventually kick in on hi mode for sure and the noise will be more noticeable for sure. Not sure what that's like on this computer yet.
    I don't have too much experience with fan/performance control. I think people may use third party software for this??? I just tried SpeedFan but it's got very inaccurate temperature readings (like off by -15 C). I'm not sure if people use ThrottleStop to do what you want to do (keep the fan on and throttle instead). I use it to undervolt my CPU. I did a clean install of Windows to get rid of all the bloatware but windows installed some HP programs whilst installing the 41 driver updates as soon as I ran Windows Update. One of the programs it installed was HP Command Center:

    [​IMG]
    I have no idea if the program works well or not, or if people out there use it as intended. It seems like the options are for making sure the fans are on, not off. There's no option for quiet mode. For some reason I see far fewer options for Windows 10's advanced power options. There used to be options for passive vs active cooling, dedicated vs integrated GPU use... Any idea why they're all gone? One of major windows updates? Is this specific to Dell vs HP?

    If you're looking to power the laptop via TB3, then no (it only provides 60W). I had a 1 cord solution for docking my old computer and it was pretty awesome only having to plug in 1 little TB3 cord into my laptop when I came home -- for all my peripherals, for my 4K monitor, and to power the laptop. I was able to keep my power adapter in my bag the whole time for when I took my laptop outside. If you're going to rely solely on the TB3 dock for power and not use the power adapter at home, you want a TB3 dock that supplies at least the amount of power that the power adapter does. For you, this means 135 W (8570H / 1080Ti). For me, 90 W (8656U / MX150). This is important for 2 reasons: if it's <135W... 1) It's not going to charge the laptop as fast (I'm pretty sure this laptop supports "fast charging"; whatever that means. The previous version does.) and 2) More importantly, your laptop is not going to perform to its fullest capabilities. I'm pretty sure you won't get max performance using the battery either. My XPS 9550 requires 130W. Initially I got a <100W TB3 dock and I verified that I wasn't getting the performance I was getting when I had the power cord plugged in (at least the GPU, for sure). I also didn't get max performance off of battery. In May 2018, when I was looking into this, the only TB3 dock that provided enough power (130W+) was the Dell TB16 Dock. It provides up to 130W of power (so, still a little less than 135W that'd be ideal for you). [EDIT: the TB16 is designed for Dell laptops, it's only supposed to supply 130W of power to Dell devices, and only 100W to non-Dell devices]. Everything worked fine -- powered and charged well, 4K monitor worked well, all my peripherals worked well, and the GPU performed as well as when I had the power cord plugged in. It gets mediocre reviews but I was very happy with it and didn't have any of the issues brought up in the reviews.
    But as I type this, come to think of it, my laptop broke a month later. Hmmm... I was planning on using the same dock but now I'm not so sure. Maybe a 1 cord solution is asking for too much at this point. There's a lot going on there in such a small port. TB3 has been out for years now, yet there aren't very many devices for it. I feel like it's still in its infancy.
    If I were you, I'd be most concerned about whether dock will support all your monitors without any trouble. I feel like the most common complaints I saw for TB3 docks was about how the dock didn't support their monitor setup properly (e.g. something along the lines of... the person was trying to have 2 external monitors working, 2 x 4K @ 60Hz, using the 2 display ports on the dock but one of the monitors was only 30Hz, but someone else with a different computer got it to work at 60Hz by using 1 dp and 1 TB3 (on the dock not the computer). So I'd look at the reviews or whatever forums out there to see if people were able to achieve your setup using the dock, using the same ports available to you. For example, looking at the product you linked me it's got a HDMI 1.4 port, which is no good for a 4K display. 30Hz sucks! If you have 2x4K 60Hz displays and 1xFHD display than looks like it'll work, but I'd want to see a few people say that they got this exact configuration to work in the reviews. But if you have 3x4K 60Hz displays I'm not sure how that'd work. You'll use the two display ports on the dock and either the HDMI 2.0 port or the other usb-c (or TB port) not connected to the dock. I have no idea whether that'll work. BTW, that second usb-c-looking port closest to the right corner port of this laptop is either a USB-C port for some versions of this laptop OR another TB(3?) port for other versions (in which case is the 40gigabit bandwidth split between the two TB ports? In which case will it support what you're trying to do with the dock given less bandwidth?). If that second port is a USB-C port, is it connected with the GPU to support displays? Which GPU? You may want to call Spectre support. And if you have 5K monitors or 120Hz monitors, I have no idea about anything.

    Because they have the numpad to the right the letters aren't centered. The G and H keys aren't aligned with the middle of the monitor. The left part of the K key is at the middle. So the the letters are about two keys to the left of what you're used to if you're coming from a laptop without a numpad. Normally, when I'm at home using my external keyboard (with a numpad), I move the keyboard to the right of center a little so that my hands are centered, the alphabet parts are centered, and I'm centered with the monitor. When I'm on the laptop keyboard, I'm centered with the monitor but my arms and hands are a little to the left of center. But my eyes are centered which is more important. You have to get used to reaching to the left a little. It takes a little getting used to but I think I'm already used to it after typing this short response. But initially you're going to type gibberish sometimes, like the key one to the right (e.g "s" instead of "a"). I use the numpad a lot so I like having it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  10. Aloysiusq

    Aloysiusq Notebook Guru

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    Hello Nosauce, you said...

    "I usually never buy warranties but the Spectre support guy talked me into buying a 3 year warranty that covers accidental damage. I bought it ($300) because
    if I don't end up using it, they'll give me my money back once the warranty ends in 2021."

    Very interesting... Did you purchase your Spectre and the warranty from HP?
    Regards
     
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