HP's new Pavilion x2 hybrid computer does not look too different from older hybrids. What stands this 10.1-inch device apart from them, however, is how it transforms.
Simply pull the screen and keyboard apart with two hands and the display detaches to become a tablet.
This is much easier to do than with older hybrids, which often required users to press a key or switch while pulling the two halves apart. The Pavilion does not need such a mechanism because of the strong magnetic hinge holding the tablet and the keyboard together.
You can also flip the screen around before reattaching it to the keyboard. This is usually called stand mode, which is ideal for tasks where the keyboard is not necessary, such as watching videos.
The placement of the front camera and the HP logo suggests that HP probably expects you to use the Pavilion x2 in landscape orientation. While you can still use it in portrait mode, it feels slightly awkward at first because the power, volume controls and headphone jack are located differently from a typical tablet or smartphone.
Sandwiching the screen is a pair of speaker grilles. The Pavilion is one of the first HP devices to use Bang & Olufsen speakers. Previously, HP used Beats Audio speakers, but the deal was not renewed after Apple bought the audio firm. However, I was not too impressed by the B&O speakers, which sounded tinny even at maximum volume.
With a device that costs only $549, I was not expecting a sharp, high-resolution display. Indeed, the Pavilion has a 1,200 x 800-pixel screen with fewer pixels than even a typical mid-range smartphone.
But at least its viewing angles are wide as the screen uses in-plane switching technology, which also ensures images are not washed out when seen from the sides.
The keyboard is smaller than a standard keyboard. It feels shallow to type on. But it is usable and feels sturdy. On the other hand, the touchpad is wide but short, making it more difficult to execute gestures such as two-finger scrolling.
Like the new Apple MacBook, the Pavilion x2 uses a USB Type-C port for charging. This port can be used for data transfer, though it is rated at USB 2.0 speeds. Currently, there are few peripherals that support the Type-C interfaces.
The Pavilion runs Windows 10 Home. Its Intel Atom chip is adequate for basic computing tasks, like e-mail and Web browsing. Internal storage is limited at 64GB, but you can add more with a microSD card.
Battery life (7hr 38min playing a video continuously) is good if you consider the Pavilion a laptop.
But as a tablet, it is not as good as Android or Apple slates that can last between eight and 10 hours on battery power.
Verdict: An affordably-priced hybrid computer for those with basic computing needs.
PROCESSOR: Intel Atom Z3736F (1.33GHz)
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics
SCREEN SIZE: 10.1 inches, 1,200 x 800 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: micro-HDMI, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 2.0 Type C, microSD card reader, audio jack
BATTERY: 33 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
This article was first published on Oct 7, 2015.
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