Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip vs. HP Spectre x360 13.5: which wins?

When it comes to 360-degree convertible 2-in-1s, you have plenty of options. Some of them are some of the best laptops you can buy. HP’s Specter x360 13.5 has been making our best 2-in-1 and best laptop lists for quite some time and is a prime example of the best it has to offer in its class.

However, Asus has been a serious player in this form factor as well, putting out several machines that come close to making both lists. The latest ZenBook S 13 Flip is a prime example, and it has a trump card. It is a very lightweight laptop that can easily be used as a tablet. Is that enough to drive out the Specter x360 13.5?

Specifications and configuration

HP Specter x360 13.5 Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
size 11.73 inches x 8.68 inches x 0.67 inches 11.67 inches x 8.26 inches x 0.59 inches
weight 3.01 pounds 2.43 pounds
processor Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i7-1255U
Intel Core i7-1240P
Intel Core i7-1260P
graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe
lamb 8GB LPDDR4
16GB LPDDR4
32GB LPDDR4
8GB LPDDR5
16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
Denote 13.5 inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touch
13.5-inch 3:2 WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS touch privacy screen
13.5 inch 3:2 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED touch
13.3-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED
Save 512GB PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive (SSD)
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512 GB PICe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
touch Yes Yes
port 2 x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 microSD card reader
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 microSD card reader
wireless telephone Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
webcam 5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
operating system windows 11 windows 11
battery 66 watt hours 67 watt hours
price $1,250+ $1,500
evaluation 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars
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The ZenBook S 13 Flip UP5302 isn’t for sale yet, but when it does, there will be only one configuration available in the US. For $1,500 you get a Core i7-1260P, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 2.8K OLED display.

The Specter x360 13.5 offers a number of options starting at $1,250 for a Core i5-1535U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 13.5-inch WUXGA+ display. You can pay up to $1,825 for the Core i7-1255U, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, and 3K2K OLED display. 32GB RAM is also configurable if you opt for an IPS panel.

design

The Specter x360 13.5 has perhaps the most refined aesthetic of all 2-in-1s. It has a calming gem-cut design that is round and comfortable to hold in all the right places. It has color accents that add a bit of majesty without going overboard, and it comes in three color schemes: Natural Silver, Nightfall Black, and Nocturne Blue. The ZenBook S 13 Flip, on the other hand, is very minimalistic, with either Ponder Blue (the only color available in the US) or Refined White and simpler lines. Both are attractive laptops, but the HP stands out.

In terms of construction, the Specter x360 13.5 is all-aluminum and enjoys a sturdy design with no bends, bends or twists. The ZenBook S 13 Flip uses magnesium, which tends to cause some flex and flex in other machines, but it’s fairly sturdy. Where the ZenBook impresses most is its weight, at just 2.43 pounds versus the Specter’s 3.01 pounds, and it’s fairly thin at 0.59 inches versus 0.67 inches. It’s about the same width and depth, but the HP is slightly deeper thanks to its longer 3:2 display compared to the ZenBook’s 16:10.

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The Specter x360 13.5’s keyboard is quicker and more accurate than the ZenBook S 13 Flip’s, but both are great for long typing sessions. Both have large touchpads that respond with silent button clicks, but Asus has added a NumberPad 2.0 LED numeric keypad for those who type a lot of numbers.

Connectivity is the same, offering both a Thunderbolt 4 port and a legacy USB-A port for modern device support. Even the wireless connections are all up to date.

HP has a 5MP webcam that theoretically has a higher resolution than Asus’ 1080p version, but both deliver great video quality. HP builds in a few more tools to optimize video, but there’s no major benefit here. Both support Windows 11 Hello password-free login via facial recognition using an infrared camera, and the Specter offers a fingerprint reader if you prefer that method of logging in.

Performance

Cover of HP Specter x360 13.5.

The Specter x360 13.5 uses an Intel 12th Gen U-series CPU, a 15-watt chip with 10 cores (2 performance and 8 efficient) and 12 threads. The ZenBook S 13 Flip uses a P-series processor with the same number of cores and threads but running at 28 watts. In benchmarks, both laptops delivered great productivity performance, with Asus slightly ahead in several benchmarks. You wouldn’t want to choose between these laptops based solely on performance.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Feet: 1,566 / 7,314
Performance: 1,593 / 7,921
Balance: 1,602 / 8,559
Performance: 1,639 / 8,923
handbrake
(candle)
Feet: 169
Performance: 120
Feet: 132
Performance: 117
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
Feet: 1,623 / 5,823
Performance: 1,691 / 7,832
Balance: 1,583 / 7,595
Performance: 1,614 / 9,220

Denote

HP Specter x360 13.5.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Specter x360 13.5 has several 13.5-inch 3:2 display options, including a WXUGA+ (1920 x 1280) IPS panel with or without a privacy screen, and the 3K2K (3,000 x 2,000) OLED panel we reviewed. ZenBook S 13 Flip comes with a 13.3-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED display. Both are great. The HP is slightly brighter, has slightly deeper contrast, and better color accuracy. But again, you probably don’t want to choose a laptop based on its display.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(OLED)
Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
(OLED)
brightness
(neat)
380 337
AdobeRGB area 97% 97%
sRGB area 100% 100%
accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.61 1.02
contrast ratio 28,230:1 23,590:1

portability

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We’ve already reported that the Zenbook S 13 Flip is lighter and thinner than the Specter x360 13.5 and that’s enough to make a difference, especially in tablet mode. Both laptops are portable, but if you want to hold a tablet for inking you’ll be more comfortable with the ZenBook.

Thanks to the underpowered CPU, the Specter x360 13.5 improved battery life in all tests except for the PCMark 10 application test, and the results were about the same. Under most usage conditions, you can expect about an hour longer lifespan from the HP, and even that isn’t enough to set these laptops apart.

HP Specter x360 13.5
(Core i7-1255U)
Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
web browsing 9 hours 58 minutes 8 hours 38 minutes
videos 13 hours 59 minutes 13 hours 16 minutes
PCMark 10 application 10 hours 52 minutes 11 hours 18 minutes

The Specter is more refined, but the ZenBook has the edge when it comes to size.

Set the price aside as you’ll spend about the same amount for a similarly configured machine. You get similar performance, battery life, and display quality, so those aren’t a significant differentiator either.

The strengths of the ZenBook S 13 Flip are its lightness and thinness. If you want a laptop that looks great and stands out, the Specter is for you. But for the average person, the ZenBook S 13 Flip is the winner.

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