Hands-on with the HP Envy x2
HP has been a leader in the Windows laptop market of late and it’s done it again, beating much of the competition to be one of the first manufacturers to show off a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 laptop.
Along with the Asus NovaGo, the HP Envy x2 is the first of its kind – an ‘Always On PC’ that promises to deliver gigabit-class 4G connectivity but also battery life far in excess of that offered by current-generation Intel machines.
Battery life and design
The first thing to catch your eye about the HP Envy x2, apart from its Snapdragon processor, is that claimed battery life. It’s a little less than the Asus NovaGo claims to be able to produce, but is still nonetheless impressive at a 20-hours of video playback.
To put this in perspective, that’s two to four times better than most Intel-based Windows 10 laptops we’ve tested recently and, while we haven’t tested those claims, we have no reason to expect battery life would be significantly less than the claim.
Otherwise, this looks every bit the regular Windows 10 2-in-1 detachable. It’s designed, like the Microsoft Surface Pro, for the keyboard to detach and be usable as a tablet. It has a 12.3in touchscreen display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,280 pixels and stylus support.
There’s no kickstand built into the 6.9mm-thin, 0.7kg tablet part, though. Instead, the stand comes as part of the leatherette keyboard case and hinges down on a piano-hinge to prop up the tablet for use as a laptop.
Performance and features
The HP Envy x2 isn’t quite as well endowed with ports as the Asus NovaGo. It has a single USB Type-C port on the left edge, while the other edge hosts a 3.5mm headphone jack. Internally, of course, there’s that Snapdragon 835 processor with gigabit-class 4G connectivity, along with Bluetooth and dual-band 802.11ac, and up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Again, we weren’t able to run our benchmarks, so we don’t know how the Envy x2 compares with Intel-based laptops and how it handles heavy-duty multitasking and applications, particularly non-natively coded apps.
But in the short time we had with the device, it felt pretty nippy. In terms of usability, the keys on the keyboard had good feedback and the ultra-wide touchpad was responsive, too. That stand means it won’t work for everyone as a device you can prop on your thighs, but as a super-light tablet-cum laptop device, the Snapdragon HP Envy x2 looks very promising indeed.
However, one word of warning: as with the Asus NovaGo and the Microsoft Surface Laptop, the Envy x2 is a Windows 10 S device, with a one-time upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. And don’t forget that, while Windows and its core apps may run smoothly, applications that require emulation to run, may not.
HP has yet to announce pricing for the US, let alone here in Australia. But if the price is right and the performance is acceptable, we may have a winner on our hands.
One thing is certain, though: the new wave of Qualcomm-powered laptops is here and they’re going to be highly competitive.
Key specifications: 12.3in, 1,920 x 1,280-pixel screen; 2.45GHz/1.9 GHz octo-core Snapdragon 835 processor; up to 8GB of RAM; up to 256GB of storage; 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Gigabit LTE connectivity; 1 x USB 3.1 C port, 0.7kg (without keyboard); Windows 10 S.