Price: $999 | Website: hp.com/au
HP has appropriately named its latest tablet, as the ENVY x2 will have friends and family twice as jealous of this tablet as any other. This is one sexy tablet, with the beautiful aluminium case borrowing from Apple’s school of design to deliver a solid yet attractive package. The depth is incredibly skinny at just 8mm, but HP has made it look even skinnier by tapering three of the edges. It’s dominated by a huge 11.6-inch screen and the gloss finish makes the device sparkle and shine like the designer-priced gadget that it is. HP has delivered an ultra-sexy Windows 8 tablet, but the question is whether its features and performance can match up to its good looks.
Firing up the display reveals the first of several disappointments: resolution. At just 1,366 x 768, it’s not quite up to the 1080p standards we’d expect of such a large and expensive tablet. Having said that, during the lagom.nl image quality tests, the ENVY x2 exceeded most of the other tablets. Still, when you’re paying high dollars it’s normal to expect a high-definition screen. Touch controls were accurate and responsive, as were all the tablets we tested.
Moving onto the chassis, there are several inputs and outputs. A large power input on the bottom sits next to twin holes, where the included keyboard snaps into place, converting the tablet into an ultrabook. The keyboard is also built from brushed aluminium and it’s very thick, eschewing the paper-thin design of the tablet, not to mention rival tablet keyboards. That’s because there’s a second battery tucked away inside the keyboard, which can double the battery life. The island design uses large keys to deliver a very comfortable typing experience, which is a huge difference to many of the unusable tablet keyboards on the market.
The usual headphone jack is included and it’s backed up by Beats Audio speakers — the same manufacturer behind the Beats by Dr Dre overpriced pieces of junk that all the kids think are cool. As expected, the sound quality rivals that of the AM radio your mum used to listen to, but we can’t single out the HP ENVY x2 for this — every tablet suffers the same problem, thanks to their tiny dimensions. There’s simply no room in a sub-1cm case for good speakers.
Strangely, there’s not a single USB port on the tablet — you’ll need to plug it into the keyboard base to unlock twin USB ports and an HDMI output. This is rather bad news if you just want to take the tablet portion of the device out and about.
At this price we expected some seriously good hardware inside, so were shocked to see the same Intel Atom Z2760 processor powering the much cheaper tablets. A petite 64GB SSD is the sum total of the storage on offer, although it can be upgraded to 128GB if you don’t mind spending even more. A mere 2GB of memory is paired up with the CPU, again disappointing for the price. It’s no surprise that the ENVY x2 didn’t blow away our benchmark results, posting in the bottom leagues of all our tests.
It might look the goods, but sadly the ENVY x2 is all talk and no walk. That won’t stop those who value good looks over all else from shelling out for such a pretty product, but for those who demand value for money there are much, much better options.
Pros : Designer good-looks, very slim in tablet mode, big screen.
Cons : Low performance for the price, low-res screen, no USB ports on tablet.
Rating : 6 out of 10.