HP Pavilion X2.
As technologies improve, people start forming new ideas of what works for them and what doesn’t. Notebooks burst onto the scene around turn of the Millennium and have evolved since then. With smartphones and tablets now capable of performing like mini-computers, there’s a need to re-think the notebook model to become competitive. Thus, we begin to see 11in devices or ultra-portables that are good for both work and play. Just like many others, HP has worked portable computers in the ultra-portable category. Say hello to the HP Pavilion X2.
Tablet or Notebook?
Similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro devices, this PC looks like a tablet that can be docked to a keyboard. At 10in, while considered large for a tablet these days, would still be called tiny as a notebook. It’s so small in dimensions and weighs just over 500g, you wouldn’t think that it’s a notebook at all. The ‘laplet’, a term I found amusing, is definitely what I’d call an ultra-portable. You could keep the whole device and the charger in a small messenger bag and not be able to feel its presence there. If convenience is a priority for you, then the Pavilion X2 can be an excellent choice.
Physically, the Pavilion X2 looks exactly like a notebook once it’s docked. It has a trackpad with clickable left and right mouse button as well as a compact QWERTY keyboard with no numpad (sigh!). On the main unit itself, there’s the LCD screen, two front-facing speakers, and a camera. You’ll note that the I/O ports are on the main unit too and there’s only a few of them compared to most notebooks. Still, there’s the microUSB port of the DC-in, one USB 2.0 port, micro-HDMI port, microSD card reader, Windows button and the volume rocker on the right. The audio jack is on the left side. That’s almost everything that people frequently use these days, especially those who are always on the go. A PC like this would be great for frequent flyers.
I have some misgivings for the keyboard as it bends slightly when you apply a bit of pressure. Since it’s made of plastic and shouldn’t be able to flex easily, I find that just a bit worrying. To be fair, it’s possible that HP has opted for that type of plastic to keep the device light. In practice, it shouldn’t be an issue, unless you happen to be one of those who’d leave things on a couch and accidentally sit on it later. However, I will say that the keyboard is, generally, good. Typing is a breeze as it has an excellent tactile feel and proper key travel. The stand that’s attached to the dock works well too, so I’ve really nothing else to say about that.
At the price it’s selling, the Pavilion X2 is great option for those on a low budget. Of course, being affordable would sometimes means reduced specs. The biggest difference this device has with other ultra-portables is the display. With only 1280 × 800 resolution, this isn’t going to be the sharpest screen you’d ever set your eyes on. It does have very good viewing angles and is touch-enabled, making it convenient and somewhat useful. What this simply means is that you could start a video, share it your friends and they’ll be able to see it clearly at most angles without any contrast or colour shifting. On the other hand, it suffers under sunlight as the screen is reflective and its maximum brightness is only average.
Looking to get a portable PC for work? This should definitely be in your shortlist. Not only does this device come with a free year of Microsoft Office 365, it lets you browse the Web or entertain yourself with videos and music. If there’s one bad thing about the Pavilion X2 that has to be shared, it’s the lack of storage. Thanks to its form factor, it’s not possible to cram even a 2.5in hard disk or SSD inside. For storage, HP equipped it with a 32GB internal flash storage, much like the ones you’d find on smartphones or tablet. Now with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365 installed, plus whatever apps you might need, that amount of space wouldn’t be enough for anything else. Fortunately, there’s a microSD slot that supports SDXC cards (up to 128GB) for additional storage.
Up to Atom
Some might be surprised that this is running on a full desktop Windows 8.1 system, since you’d normally expect an Intel Core i3 but the Pavilion X2 is using a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3745D from the Bay-Trail family. It may just be a 2GB RAM to complement the processor but it performs well for casual use and work. As long as you’re not trying to watch high-bitrate videos or play games on this, you won’t run into any stutters or slowdowns. This is probably the best value proposition for working adults who are always on the go or students on tight budgets. Indeed, it doesn’t get any more affordable than this.
Dimensions (W x H x D): 264 x 170 x 9.6 mm
Display: 10.1in LCD (LED backlit), 1280 X 800
CPU: Intel Atom Z3736F
GPU: Intel HD Graphics
Storage: 32GB flash
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
I/O: Micro HDMI, Mic/audio jack, microSD slot (SDXC compatible), 1 x USB 2.0
PCMark 8 Home 1227
PCMark 8 Creative 1041
PCMark 8 Work 124
Verdict: An affordable ultra-portable that’s great for productivity.