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HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) Review
The HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) is a slick-looking detachable tablet laptop with all-day battery life, but some may balk at price and the limitations of an Atom processor.
- Sleek-looking, comfortable design
- Portability and productivity in one device
- Windows 8
- All-day battery life
- Atom processor
- Pricey for an underpowered device
The HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) is a detachable tablet laptop with a screen that can be detached from the keyboard and used as a standalone tablet. Running Windows 8 (32-bit) rather than the hobbled Windows RT seen on the Asus Vivo Tab RT, the HP Envy X2 lets you take all of your Windows programs on the go, with a convenient design and all-day battery life.
The Envy X2 features a brushed aluminum lid/tablet back, as well as a brushed aluminum docking hinge and palmrest. The sleek aluminum finish is both strong and lightweight, with the tablet weighing 1.51 pounds on its own, and 3.11 pounds when docked. Even when docked, the Envy X2 is thin, measuring 0.76 by 11.93 by 8.12 inches (HWD) when closed.
There are a couple of unique details on the Envy X2. The first is the location of power and volume control buttons. Instead of placing the buttons on the edges of the tablet, they have been placed on the back, about an inch from the edge, placed just about where your fingertips would rest when gripping the tablet. Is this an improvement? Maybe—it is more intuitive, but only after you spend time hunting for which edge of the tablet the power button could possibly be located on. The buttons themselves are smooth, contoured to match the curves of the tablet chassis, and are quite comfortable.
The 11.6-inch display offers 1,366-by-768 resolution, but also features five-finger capacitive touch functionality. While it would have been nice to see a higher-resolution display on the tablet—like the 1080p ISP panel found on the 11-inch Sony VAIO Duo 11 (D11213CX) —the resolution is passable for watching YouTube and Netflix videos in 720p. The sound quality is pretty good, considering the Beats Audio speakers are crammed into the tiny confines of a tablet. Sometimes this results in tinny sound, especially in the high end, but overall they provide clear sound and fairly loud volume.
The tablet docks with the detachable keyboard for use as a laptop, which adds a lot of productive capability by giving you a better keyboard and a regular touchpad for use when you don’t want to use the touch screen, or need finer cursor control than fingertips can provide. The docking connection is also unique, with magnetic connectors designed to connect and disconnect more easily than other docking solutions, at the same time better securing the tablet while docked.
With an 11-inch system, it’s easy for a keyboard to feel cramped, but the dock’s keyboard and touchpad are on par with HP’s offerings on regular laptops. The overall typing experience is comfortable, with good key spacing and firm key action, despite the minimal key travel. The touchpad measures a mere 3.6 by 2.3 inches, with a radial spin finish that covers the touchpad surface in concentric circle grooves. The actual texturing is rather subtle, but may not be to everyone’s liking.
Detachable designs do introduce two new considerations, namely changes to the balance of the laptop—open it too far and it will tip over due to the top heavy distribution of components. It’s also now possible to misplace half of your laptop when using the tablet alone. If you’re the sort to leave behind a flash drive or a power cable, you’ll definitely need to figure out a way to avoid losing your keyboard dock.
The tablet itself is has few ports—only a headset jack and a micro SD card slot—but still carries the bulk of the hardware, including 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and front- and rear-facing cameras (front 2MP, rear 8MP). The docking keyboard expands the feature set a bit, providing two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, and an SD card slot, all full-size. It also adds a second battery, greatly increasing the tablet’s effective battery life when full charged, or charging the tablet’s battery when run down.
The Envy X2 has built-in sensors common to tablets, but not seen on traditional laptops, such as gyroscope, E-compass, and accelerometers, allowing for automatic screen rotation, location awareness, and some motion control in apps. HP has also added an NFC (Near-Field Communication) sensor, which lets you wirelessly pair NFC-enabled devices, like HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse, with just a tap.
The tablet has a 64GB solid-state drive (SSD), though you’ll have less than half of that (30GB) for actual use with just Windows 8 32-bit and a handful of programs installed. Programs already on the tablet include Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Skype, a guide to Windows 8, and Windows Live. Apps found on the start screen include Amazon Kindle Reader, Netflix, iHeart Radio, and a few extras from HP, like HP MyRoom, which includes functions for two-way IM, text and video chat as well as secure file sharing. Another app, sMedio TrueLink+, lets you stream photos, music, and videos to a TV or other device. HP covers the Envy X2 with a one-year limited warranty, including toll-free support.
The Envy X2 features the same 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and 2GB of memory found in the Acer Iconia Tab W510-1422, yet the Envy X2 squeezes slightly better performance out of the CPU, with higher scores in both PCMark 7 (1,429 points) and Cinebench (0.55 points). As a result, some aspects of performance will be a bit faster, though the overall performance still can’t compare to a full-fledged laptop CPU, like the Core i5 found in the Sony VAIO Duo 11. Indeed, the smaller processor resulted in fairly slow performance in Handbrake (6 minutes 25 seconds); it couldn’t complete our Photoshop test at all due to insufficient RAM. The integrated graphics also couldn’t support any of our regular graphics tests or games. This was all consistent with other Atom-powered systems, like the Kupa X11 Pro Tablet or the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 (Intel Atom Z690)
The Envy X2 does, however, offer all-day battery life. When tested with our video rundown test, the tablet alone (with an internal 25Wh battery) lasted 7 hours 8 minutes, while testing the tablet and dock together lasted 12 hours 34 minutes, thanks to the addition of the 21Wh battery found in the keyboard. For this reason, plenty of people may opt for the low-powered but energy efficient Atom processors. By comparison, the Sony Duo 11, even with an ultra-low-voltage Core i5 processor, lasted only 3:09. The Acer W510, on the other hand, lasted an astonishing 17 hours 50 minutes with the additional dock battery.
The HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) is faster than the Acer Iconia W510, has better all-aluminum construction, a more comfortable keyboard and mouse, and a sleeker design. But while the Envy X2 does offer enough battery life to carry you through the workday and then some, it still falls a few hours short of the similarly equipped Acer W510 while being priced $100 more.
Compare the HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) with several other laptops side by side.
By Brian Westover, PCMag
- Type: Ultraportable, Tablet, Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage
- Processor Name: Intel Atom Z2760
- Processor Speed: 1.8 GHz
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8
- RAM: 2 GB
- Weight: 3.11 lb
- Screen Size: 11.6 inches
- Screen Type: Widescreen
- Graphics Card: Intel GMA HD
- Storage Capacity (as Tested): 64 GB
- Networking Options: 802.11n
- Primary Optical Drive: External