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If you want the functionality of a tablet and the productivity of laptop, and can do with essential apps, the HP Pavilion x2 is worth a shot. It's inexpensive, and does the job for most light users.
Apple may be claiming that the newly launched iPad Pro can replace a laptop, but that isn't true. But then, neither can Android powered tablet. It's not that simple, and to be very honest, currently no device which works on a rehashed version of mobile software can replace a laptop. Your best bet is a Windows-powered hybrid that will work as a proper laptop and can be used as a tablet if required, albeit with some compromises. The components which go into making one, and the amount of performance that is required to handle laptop like tasks, adds to the price of the device. However, there are cheaper alternatives available with mobile Intel processors and a netbook like form factor. The HP Pavilion x2 is one of them. It is small, lightweight, offers a touchscreen and is a hybrid. We used it extensively over a period of a month and here is our review.
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Starting with the obvious:
Display: 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800p
Processor: Intel Atom x5-Z8300
GPU: Intel HD
Storage: 64GB (Tablet) / 500GB (Keyboard dock)
Keyboard: Island - style
OS: Windows 10
Price: Rs. 31,190
Design and Build
The HP Pavilion x2 has always been a small and light hybrid laptop, but this latest generation version is brings an all new design. The older, rounded, clunkier design has been replaced and in its place, the edges have been flattened, giving it a sharper look. The tablet portion is thicker at the bottom and tapers towards the top, giving it a more laptop like look when attached to a dock. The docking mechanism has also been made simpler, with the addition of magnets, instead of a latch. All you have to do now is hold the keyboard dock with one hand and pull the tablet out. There are two small anchors on the keyboard base, to give it extra support to the magnetic mechanism.
Once you detach the tablet, Windows 10 asks you to switch to tablet mode, which brings up the full screen start menu. Now, Windows 10 is not very tablet friendly, since there aren't that many apps available that can be enjoyed on Windows’ tablet mode. That said, if you just want to read a book, watch a movie or YouTube, you can do that in the tablet mode.
Like every other hybrid, the tablet is the main component of the package as it has most of the hardware. All the ports are located on the tablet as well and there aren't a lot to count. There is a standard USB 3.0 port, a USB 3.0 Type-C port for data transfer and charging, a microSD card slot and a micro HDMI port on the right. On the left, there is only one port, the microphone headphone jack combo.
The keyboard also holds the 500GB HDD and HP does sell a non-HDD keyboard dock overseas. The tablet itself has 64GB storage.
The display is one of the prominent components, which can make or break a hybrid, and the HP Pavilion x2 has a good enough display for the price. The 10.1 inch display has decent colour saturation. The touch screen is very responsive and easily comparable to the one we saw on the HP Pavilion x360. There is a rather large black bezel around the display, which may look a little odd in the laptop mode. The touchscreen works in laptop mode as well, and is quite precise when it comes to closing or selecting applications. However, since most of the weight of the machine is because of the tablet, it may get little off balance if you try to use the touchscreen vigorously. Also, since the display is glossy, it's tough to use in bright lighting conditions.
Attaching the tablet to the keyboard dock makes it a good netbook, with reasonable storage on board, as the keyboard dock stows away a 500GB HDD. To start with, we did like the keyboard of the Pavilion x2. Even in a smaller form factor, it is able to facilitate all the required keys and a workable touchpad. The keys are small but not that shallow. This also means, HP has chosen a nice chunky keyboard, instead of the flimsy keyboards that hybrids generally come with. This does add a little weight to the overall package, but at the end of the day, you do get a better keyboard. We wish HP could have added a backlight to the mix. Although, that may have increased the price. While the keyboard is likeable with its precise typing experience, the touchpad on the other hand is not as functional. There is little give when clicking, and while it works for the most part, we have seen better touchpads at this price. Moreover, while all the Windows 10 gestures work just fine, we did find the gesture animations a little jerky, but that is more to do with performance than the touchpad itself.
Performance & Battery
A budget laptop always has some compromises and in case of the Pavilion x2, we end up with an Intel mobile processor. However, the Intel chip onboard the Pavilion x2 is capable enough. The Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor, can perform all the daily chores satisfactorily. We used the device extensively, both as a tablet and as a laptop, and we would say it's a good choice for media consumption. We used the laptop as a daily driver, which meant it was handling half a dozen open tabs, streaming music, as well as typing on Google Docs. You can't really push it for gaming though, and you will see lags if you do so. If you're gaming in tablet mode, use oven mitts, because it gets quite toasty.
The Pavilion x2 comes with a dual speaker setup aligned on either side of the display. They provide decent stereo audio output and are loud enough. The sound quality is certainly good, considering the price, but it could have done with a bit more volume. We believe, the performance and functionality combined are enough to make students and people on the move, happy.
On the other hand, HP has done a good job with the battery of the device. The Pavilion x2 can last 6-7 hours on a single charge, on regular usage. This means, you can easily watch a bunch of movies, back to back. Gaming and other apps that put extra load the machine do take the battery life down but just by an hour or so. The battery performance is good, but if you want to replace laptops, you need to do more.
The HP Pavilion x2 is a small, light and functional netbook that doubles up as a hybrid. It has ample power to drive all your entertainment requirements and has good enough battery life. We would have loved to see a backlit keyboard and better performance from the machine but maybe at this sub-30k price, it is too much to ask for. Still, if you want the functionality of a tablet and the productivity of a laptop, and can do with just the essential apps, the HP Pavilion x2 is worth a shot.