The netbook is back. That was my initial impression of the HP SlateBook x2, a 10.1-inch convertible tablet with a removable keyboard dock.
With its 1,920 x 1,200-pixel screen and Nvidia's latest Tegra 4 chip, the SlateBook x2 is obviously a more sophisticated animal than the inexpensive netbook, which has been pushed out of the market by tablets in recent years. The mere fact that you can detach the touchscreen and use it as a tablet should dispel any lingering doubts.
But the SlateBook x2 does not look that different from a netbook. It is fairly chunky, an impression probably exacerbated by its small size. There are 13.3-inch ultrabooks that weigh less than the SlateBook x2, which weighs 1.27kg.
The good news is that the keys did not feel shallow at all. I also found the top row of short cuts very useful to access Android settings, toggle the Wi-Fi and adjust the volume and screen brightness. The small touchpad could be larger, although I like that it supports two-finger scrolling and other multi-touch gestures.
The high-resolution screen boasts good viewing angles but it appears dim. Consequently, I found myself using it at 80 per cent brightness or more.
The base model comes with just 16GB of internal storage but there is a microSD card reader on the tablet and an SD card reader on the keyboard dock. The dock also has a USB 2.0 port and an HDMI connector.
Despite its quad-core processor, the SlateBook x2 can be sluggish at times. Screen rotation was slower than on my dual-core Galaxy Nexus smartphone but swiping from one screen to another was fluid.
While HP has done little customisation to the Android 4.2 operating system on the SlateBook x2, the company has preloaded some apps on the device, such as a file manager and Kingsoft Office, a productivity app. There are also a couple of printing apps that work only with HP's products.
These fairly basic apps are useful for new users. However, they may not be good enough for those who require more advanced features.