Tech Review: HP Envy x2

WHAT: The HP Envy x2 tablet, as its name suggests, is a 2-in-1 tablet convertible running on Windows 8 with a desktop, apps and a full-sized keyboard. Simply fit the slate piece into keyboard to use as a laptop and detach to use as a tablet on the go.

The silver aluminium finish and black bezel keys bear a striking resemblance to the Macbook Air and the thin clamshell design makes for an attractive device. It may look heavy but it adds up to 1.41kg as a laptop and 710g as a tablet, only slightly heavier than the 652g 4th-generation iPad. Its lightweight makes it a suitable handbag tablet and I held it comfortably with one hand on a long train ride. Like all other tablets, there is a front camera (2.1 megapixels) and a much better rear camera (8 megapixels).

USING IT: This device offers the full version of Windows 8. The complete Microsoft Office package makes it a very competent laptop for typing up a document or tweaking a Powerpoint presentation. I could fit two windows on the screen and still type and view comfortably. The narrow-spaced keys on the keyboard are great for typing, but have no backlight. Simply put, the perk of running on Windows 8 is that you can have your PC with you on a tablet.

The 1.8gHz processor is adequate for streaming full-length movies and its battery life of 11 hours on light use will keep you connected for a long while. The screen size and resolution is good for viewing most videos on Youtube and Vimeo in full-screen. However, this is not a tablet intended for gaming. For one, the arrow keys mashed up at the bottom right-hand corner are not ideal for game navigation. PC applications also require more processing power and battery juice to run, so keep to the tablet’s applications and light entertainment.

WHAT I LIKED: I definitely liked the light weight. I carried the HP Envy around in a large bag for an entire day and it hardly put a strain on my shoulder. It was a pleasure to use: the aluminium finish was sleek and
the touchpad is intuitive with double-finger scrolling and right-click functions; and the screen could still be viewed clearly when tilted at a wide angle.

The long battery life is another big plus point for this tablet-laptop. HP’s dual battery – one in the tablet and the other in the keyboard dock – comes up to 11 hours and twice as long when in sleep mode.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: The front camera at 2.1 megapixels tested on Skype was not comparable to a laptop’s webcam, although the rear camera is more than sufficient for your Instagram endeavours.

Beats audio delivers quality sound with complementing headphones but that is about where it ends. The speakers leave much to be desired, despite the attractive brand association. Located at the bottom of the tablet, the speakers become partially blocked when docked, resulting in slightly muffled audio quality and a tinny sharpness.

Speaking of docking, it’s easy to slide the tablet onto the dock via HP’s two strategically-placed magnets. However, undocking took me more than two hands on my first try. I had to hold a small switch at the centre of the dock to the left, while using the other hand to wriggle the tablet up and off its hinges.

CONCLUSION: Will this tablet-convertible be the envy of others? With its appearance, highly likely. The feel and look of light, yet solid silver aluminium trumps the plasticky textures of most tablets in the market. The new, intuitive Windows 8 app interface on touchscreen and the Windows desktop enables you to go from work to play in a snap. Keep your games and heavy Windows programs on your PC and the HP Envy x2 will be perfect for light-use, carrying around daily and entertainment on widescreen.

Tech Review: HP Envy x2

The HP Envy x2 is priced at $1,099 with GST. Go to the HP Singapore store for more details and to purchase it.