HP is coming out with the HP Envy X2, a 11.6″ (1366×768) touch-screen slate PC that can be converted into a clamshell laptop with a simple “snap” into a keyboard dock. This is a concept that has been popularized by the ASUS Transformer Pad which combines the elegance of a tablet to the productivity of an ultra-light laptop.
We’ve played with it, and the first thing that we noticed was the rather amazing build quality and solid feel of this product. The Envy X2 is mostly made of aluminum, and both the tablet and the keyboard feel extremely rigid – almost like a solid bloc of aluminum. The connector is pretty easy to snap in place (one-handed operation), and feels very robust as well. Users can grab the screen and lift the dock+tablet combo without any problems.
The tablet has a minimalistic design: besides the cameras (1080p front and 8 Megapixel back), 3.5mm connector, and volume controls, there is not much on it. We actually didn’t see a USB connector on the tablet, itself, so you may need the dock to sync/copy data.
Unlike the Transformer Prime and the recently released Archos 101 XS, the HP Envy X2 is a full-size keyboard, which means that the keys are as big as regular laptops. There is also a classic trackpad for mouse operations and Windows 8 gestures.
The tablet and keyboard dock combo weigh 3.11lbs, so this is comparable to many thin and light, but ultra-portables are larger than 11.6″ for the same 3.11 lbs weight (we’ve seen 15″, 3lbs laptops). Obviously, they don’t turn into a tablet either…
On the inside, the HP Envy X2 is powered by an Intel processor and integrated GPU. HP didn’t want to go into the details, but given the 533MHz memory (2GB), it’s probably an Atom CPU. Connectivity-wise, there is WiFi A/B/G/N and NFC, in case you find an application for it.
The HP Envy X2 seems like a great Windows 8 Pro tablet, and everything was running very smoothly when we tried it. There was no time to run benchmarks, but you can bet that this is not a horse race. This computer has been designed for light productivity tasks and ultra mobility. That, along with its excellent build quality should make it a prime target for PC users who want/like the tablet format, but not to the point of sacrificing text input productivity.
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