HP's new Spectre x360 PCs have 4G LTE and a stunning redesign

Today, HP added some new entries to its premium laptop portfolio, including 13- and 15-inch variants of the Spectre x360, and the new EliteBook 1040 x360 G5. Most notable, the new Spectre convertibles feature an all-new design.

HP took last year's angular design and made it more angular, flattening the corners and placing the Thunderbolt 3 port there. The fun thing about this is that when you fold the display back, it goes right over the power cable if you've got one plugged in.

Both the Spectre 13 x360 and the EliteBook 1040 x360 G5 offer an option for 4G LTE, with Intel modems for gigabit speeds. Sadly, the 15-inch Spectre x360 won't be offering that, but it makes up for it in power.

Processors have been upgraded across the board. The Spectre 13 x360 is now using Intel's Whiskey Lake eighth-generation processors, which are 15W U-series chips. It's sort of like a second-generation eighth-generation CPU. The Spectre 15 x360 is moving from Intel's Kaby Lake G - which has a dedicated GPU on the die - to Intel's 45W Coffee Lake processors, along with dedicated graphics from Nvidia in the form of a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. HP will continue to sell the model with a U-series processor and a 2GB Nvidia GPU.

The EliteBook 1040 x360 G5 uses the older Kaby Lake R processors, likely because as a commercial PC, it needs to have a vPro variant. Even though it's called G5, this one doesn't really have a direct predecessor, as the previous EliteBook 1040 was a clamshell laptop, allowing for a beefier 45W processor.

HP is also offering a new take on the idea of a privacy guard for the camera in its new devices. While Huawei is hiding the camera in the keyboard and Lenovo is putting a physical switch on the camera, HP is hiding the camera driver. You can flip a switch and open Device Manager, and you'll find that the cameras have disappeared.

This solves a problem that Lenovo is having, which is that it's hard to put a physical camera guard over a webcam when you're using an IR camera for facial recognition. Now, HP is just blocking the software.

While EliteBooks continue to be offered in the standard silver, Spectre is getting a new color: Poseidon Blue. Of course, it comes in its usual Dark Ash Silver as well. The new Spectre x360 models will be available from Best Buy in December, with pricing to be announced later. The EliteBook 1040 x360 G5 is available this month, starting at $1,499.

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