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HP Envy X2 review

Mahananda Bohidar January 9 | Updated on January 07, 2013

HP Envy X2   -  Business Line

We had been hearing about the HP Envy X2 since early last year. HP took its own sweet time to bring it here and by the time the Envy X2 was launched, there were already a bunch of hybrids that had their stylus’ combat ready. What exactly does the HP Envy X2 have in its DNA that’ll help take on its competitors head on?

Design

As far as aesthetics are concerned, the HP Envy X2 fares much better than the likes of the Samsung ATIV PC Pro. The matte brushed aluminium body lends the device more than just a hint of class.

The Envy X2 weighs in at around 1.6 kgs but thankfully much of the bulk can be attributed to the dock. The tablet in itself is pretty light so it is quite convenient to carry around while travelling.

Unlike most other tablets, the main controls are located not on the upper rim of the unit but on the back panel. This actually makes for a very natural grip when I hold the tablet form its side. My fingers automatically wrap around the volume button on the left and the Power/Lock button on the right.

Apart from these, the only other control on the body of the tablet is the touch-sensitive Windows logo displayed at the bottom. Apart from taking you directly to the home screen and switching between that and an open app on the Windows 8 platform, this control also doubles up as a unlock button.

Whenever I used the tablet alone, I could plug in speakers or headphone to the 3.5 mm jack at the bottom, which was a bit of a problem if I was using it in the landscape mode.

Of all the hybrids that we tested the HP Envy X2 was the only one which was slotted in its place by a magnetic dock. So you don’t really have to struggle to affix the tab onto the keyboard dock.

Display

The 11.6-inch HD display on the HP Envy X2 belongs to a category of displays which aim at the sweet spot between ‘barely legible’ and ‘too big to handle’. The standalone tablet made for perfect reading on the Web and even through apps. While docked in, the screen space was ample enough for us to enjoy back to back episodes of Family Guy.

The screen is LED-backlit and has about the some brightness levels as the Samsung ATIV Pro – about 400 nits. However, the glossy display on the Envy X2 was a bit of a pain while watching videos. If it’s a couple of people hanging out and watching media, there won’t be any issues with the viewing angles owing to the IPS panel in the screen.

Like most other portable computing devices from the company, the HP Envy X2 also features Beats Audio by Dr. Dre. The Beats Audio experience remains largely unchanged in this device – basically, it manages to deliver pretty good volume levels and clarity with any kind of audio played on the X2.

The physical keyboard on the dock is very typically HP – with its neatly spaced chiclet keyboard.

Connectivity

The HP Envy X2 is one of the very few tablets to support NFC technology. I could connect up to two USB drives and an HDMI cable to stream content on to a bigger HD display.

The tablet on the HP Envy X2 comes with the usual front camera for video conferencing but has an 8-megger at the rear for you to snap away to glory. But even with the 8-megger there’s almost nothing that you can tweak before you take a picture. The most you can do is probably adjust the brightness or exposure and that pretty much exhausts all editing options that the camera has to offer.

The Windows 8 experience on the HP Envy X2 remains quite fluid. The usual gestures – swipe left for recent app, to the right to tweak a bunch of settings. The screen sometimes however feels a bit unresponsive. For example, when I was putting my limited artistic abilities to use on Fresh Paint swiping down from above would fail to bring up the brush and colour palette. Multiple swipes would result in you painting the frame by mistake and I just had to keep on trying to pull the menu down till it finally worked.

Another downside to the HP Envy X2 is that it’s powered by an Intel Atom processor – mostly found in netbooks - whereas most of its competitors are based on Intel iCore processors. So, while we didn’t run into nagging problems during the test, if you are planning to get a hybrid to put it to heavy-duty usage, then you’ll be better off considering one which runs on an i3 or i5 processor.

Rs 59,990

Love – Good design, decent audio, battery life

Hate – Older processor, unresponsive at times

mahanda.bohidar@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 07, 2013

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