The HP Elite x2 is a business ultrabook that splits into a tablet and a keyboard dock.
Like the Toshiba Portege Z20t that I tried earlier this year, the Elite x2 is intended for enterprise customers. These users want features such as long battery life, a fingerprint reader, hardware encryption and 4G connectivity.
Read on if these are the features that appeal to you. If not, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 probably works just as well and looks less boring.
The tablet half of the Elite x2 has an 11.6-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. This glossy display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. A built-in capacitive digitiser works with a Wacom stylus concealed in the bottom left corner of the tablet.
Viewing angles are excellent because there is no air gap - the touch panel is bonded directly to the display.
At 760g, the tablet is not the easiest to hold with one hand. Hidden behind a flap are micro-SIM (4G support) and microSD slots. It has a rear camera (5MP), though most users will probably find the front camera (2MP) more useful.
The keyboard dock is called a Power Keyboard, probably because it has an integrated battery that extends the uptime of the device.
It feels rigid and weighs almost as much as the tablet portion. Hence, it acts as a counterweight for the tablet and keeps the device stable while it is resting on your lap.
Key travel is good. The keyboard is backlit and is spill-resistant, too.
An interesting feature is the pressure-sensitive trackpad. Like the Force Touch trackpad on the new Apple MacBook, the ForcePad on the Elite x2 detects how much pressure you exert on it.
Unlike Apple's version, the one on the Elite x2, made by Synaptics, uses audio rather than haptic feedback.
But the pressure-sensitive gestures can sometimes miss the mark. For instance, I found it useful to drag and drop a file with one finger instead of two. What was less useful was increasing the zoom speed while zooming by exerting more downward force on the ForcePad.
The Elite x2 uses a low-power Intel Core M chip that is slower than a typical Core chip. However, business users should find it good enough for office apps, especially when it can be configured with up to 8GB of RAM and a speedy 512GB solid-state drive.
Battery life is excellent at around 12 hours. The Toshiba Portege lasted more than 13 hours. The Elite x2 will use up the battery in the keyboard dock before tapping the one in the tablet. Note that the charging port is located on the keyboard dock.
HP sells a cube-like expansion dock ($339) that connects wirelessly (using WiGig) to the Elite x2 and adds DisplayPort, VGA, Ethernet and USB ports. A lighter Travel Keyboard is also available for the princely sum of $349.
A sturdy device with outstanding battery life. A good choice for business users.
Processor: Intel Core M-5Y71 (1.2GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300
Screen: 11.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, DisplayPort, micro-SIM, microSD card reader, SmartCard reader, audio jack
Battery: 33 watt-hour (tablet), 21 watt-hour (keyboard dock)
Value for money 3/5
Battery life 5/5
This article was first published on June 10, 2015.
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