HP Envy X2: A Windows 8 tablet to covet

Smart in design and stingy on power, HP's Envy convertible works well as a laptop or a tablet

The HP Envy X2

The HP Envy X2

The HP Envy is aptly named. One glance and you'll be coveting it. Its brushed-aluminum exterior and elegant curves make it one of the sleekest -- and slickest -- convertible Ultrabooks now on the market. Its feature set and preloaded software aim it squarely at consumers, but if performance isn't paramount, there's little reason it can't be used in a small-office fleet as well.

Like the Acer Iconia, the Envy X2 is a dockable convertible, with its keyboard also serving as the dock. When attached, the keyboard provides extra battery life, full-sized USB and HDMI ports, an audio jack, and a full-sized SD card slot. Apart from the keyboard/dock, the tablet offers audio, front and back cameras, an independent charging port (it's the same style charging port as on the keyboard), and a microSD card slot. It's a little hard to pop cards out of the last slot without a tool, but it's a handy way to add storage to the Envy without a factory upgrade.

The whole unit is only 3.1 pounds when docked (1.5 pounds undocked), and the magnetically guided docking latch itself is quite sturdy. When the unit clicks into position, you can literally feel it. Dual speakers on the bottom of the tablet, powered by Beats Audio, provide good sound even when the unit's docked.

One detail you're not likely to complain about with the Envy is battery life. Both the main unit and the keyboard have separate batteries, which together gives 10 or more hours of use by HP's estimates. (HP claims up to 19 hours depending on the workload.) I got a whopping 11 hours, 15 minutes in my Netflix rundown test when using both batteries.

Test Center Scorecard

Usability

Performance

Security and management

Build quality

Value

Overall score

30%

20%

20%

20%

10%

HP Envy X2

9

7

7

9

9

8.2: Very good

Furthermore, the Envy uses battery power intelligently. Power is drained first from the dock, then the main unit, so the main unit remains as fresh as possible when undocked. As an Atom-powered system, it doesn't get very hot, so there are neither vents nor fans. On the other hand, as an Atom-powered system, it isn't suited for more than casual office work.

How well does the dock work as a keyboard? Pretty well, despite the lack of backlighting for the keys, a feature I've come to appreciate whenever it appears in notebooks. I had little trouble typing comfortably for extended periods of time, and the touchpad is generously sized, with a double-tap-to-disable hot corner in the upper left. Unfortunately, it's a little too sensitive to edge swipes, so I kept accidentally flicking between applications when trying to do other things. Worse, the touchpad control software doesn't let you adjust the sensitivity of edge swipes -- I ended up disabling that feature entirely.

The Envy X2 is a consumer-oriented machine. There's no management-oriented hardware: no TPM, card module, or fingerprint reader, for example. I braced for the usual gamut of preloaded consumer-oriented software, such as the HP-branded photo and music apps, and the CyberLink YouCam app. Fortunately, most of those items come in the form of Windows 8 apps that don't clutter up the desktop. The only branded apps included are links to the eBay and Snapfish sites, as well as HP's own support and recovery manager app.

Truly usable as either a laptop or a tablet, the Envy X2 may be the most smartly designed hybrid I've tested. The hardware is solid, the battery life is long, and the price is right. If you crave versatility and portability, but don't require desktop-class performance, the Envy could be just ticket.

HP Envy X2 at a glance

Price

Starts at US$649 MSRP

Processor

Intel Atom Z2760 plus Intel Graphics

Memory

2GB 533MHz LPDDR2 SDRAM

Storage

64GB or 128GB SSD

Weight

3.1 pounds docked; 1.5 pounds undocked

Dimensions

Height: 11.93 inches. Width: 8.12 inches. Depth: 0.76 inches.

Display

11.6 inches @ 1,366-by-768 LED IPS display

Battery

2-cell lithium-ion (in unit)

Ports

2 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 NFC, 1 SD card, 1 microSD card, 1 audio jack

Radios

802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0

Touch UI

5-point multitouch

Management features

None

Sandra 2013 score

0.83kPt

This article, "HP Envy X2 review: A Windows 8 tablet to covet," was originally published at InfoWorld.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Laptop PCsWindowshardware systemstabletssoftwareoperating systemsHewlett-Packardmobile technologycomputer hardwareMicrosoft WindowsWindows 8

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Serdar Yegulalp

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?