Our friends at HP sent over an HP Elite x2 1012 2-n-1 recently so I took it for a spin for the past week to see what it was all about.
Before I start — and for comparison purposes — I should mention that my current laptop is an HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1. It has a 12″ 2560 x 1440 touch display, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD drive and an Intel Core M (M-5Y71) proc. Very thin, very light and battery life in the 10 – 14 hour range. I like it quite a bit.
(I also recently checked out a Microsoft Surface Book if you are curious about that.)
First impression? Well, you can’t deny this unit was heavily inspired by the Microsoft Surface. Light and easily detached keyboard and the ability to run in pure tablet mode — oh, and even a stylus (a Wacom unit for HP’s entry). And I am OK with that as the Surface has obviously found and filled a niche and I think this HP Elite x2 fits right in there as well.
If you are going to make a comparison like this, you can’t help but start with a look at that keyboard. I found the HP’s version much more usable and friendly. Granted, that could be because it is almost identical to the keyboard I use on my current EliteBook. Check out the picture on the left — the Elite x2 is on the left and my current EliteBook is on the right.
For obvious reasons, I was immediately comfortable with the keyboard! Bonus points for all the same keys in all the same places.
The test unit I used was equipped with 8 GB of RAM, a 256 SSD drive and the Intel Core m7 (m76Y75) processor. Again, similar to my current EliteBook except for that CPU. While I didn’t run any formal benchmarks, I am comfortable in saying that the Core M7 proc runs circles around my older Core M. I found it pretty noticeable. This caused me to spend a lot more time using this loaner than my own machine…
The display is a touch (obviously) enabled 12″ LED at 1920 x 1280. Initially, I was very disappointed at the resolution. However, after a day (took me a while!) I noticed that it was scaled at 200%. Once I cranked that back down to 125% I found it much more enjoyable to use.
The test unit was equipped with a fingerprint reader which works nicely with Windows Hello. Not as great as the face recognition, but it was generally accurate and easy to use. Sometimes a bit recalcitrant after coming out of sleep mode, but I may have had a patience issue there.
Placement of that fingerprint reader took a bit of getting used to though. When looking at the tablet, the reader is on the back, upper left corner. But you adapt. And once you adapt it becomes pretty easy to find blind.
Speaking of the back, the kickstand is back there too. Again, similar in concept to the Surface, but quite different in implementation. It is pretty thin and pretty flexible and gives a claimed 150 degrees of rotation. It stayed where I put it every time, even with me tapping / stylusing on the screen.
As for desktop use, I had the optional USB C dock as part of the package. One connection to the tablet and it adds a handful of DisplayPort ports, USB ports, audio and power. I connected a DisplayPort to my desktop’s daisy-chained 27″ 2560 x 1440 monitors and it had no problem driving them for a couple days. I would periodically feel the back of the tablet and never noticed it getting warm either. Since it is passively cooled (no fans!) that is a good thing.
Battery life? Once again, no formal testing. But no complaints. I used it several times for 4+ hours and had 65% or more left so I am confident that it would hold up nicely for all day use.
I think that sums up most of the key points. My take? I love it. I am going to make myself give it back on Monday so that I don’t fall too much further in love with it. That makes giving it back so much more painful!