Smart in design and stingy on power, HP's Envy convertible works well as a laptop or a tablet
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 $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|
|Sandra 2013 score||0.83kPt|
This article, "HP Envy X2 review: A Windows 8 tablet to covet," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in computer hardware and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
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