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Hands-on HP Envy X2 Review: Snapdragon smarts and a super slim design

We go hands-on with the HP Envy X2, a Snapdragon-powered 2-in-1 Windows tablet that boasts premium specs and a surprisingly slender chassis.

HP took advantage of Qualcomm’s global tech summit to launch a new 2-in-1 Windows device, the Envy X2. This impressively thin tablet converts to a makeshift laptop with a nifty keyboard dock, similar to Microsoft’s Surface Tablet. However, by packing inside a Snapdragon 835 platform, you can expect future-proof connectivity, excellent battery life and no compromise on performance.

So far we’re certainly impressed. The tablet itself really is skinny considering this is a 12.3-inch device, and even with the keyboard dock attached it’s still pleasingly slender. Light as well; you’ll barely feel the 700g chassis when the Envy is stuffed inside your backpack, certainly compared with laptops this size. Yet despite this attractive design, the aluminium frame and Gorilla Glass 4 screen both feel tough enough to withstand some proper punishment.

Along the edges of the Envy X2 you’ll find separate slots for your memory card and SIM card (if you want to get connected wherever you roam). There’s also a Type C USB port for charging and transferring data quickly. And if you still rock wired headphones, good news. There’s a 3.5mm jack for enjoying media on the move.

That screen is a WUXGA+ panel that’s sharp enough for enjoying movies, with solid detail levels. Photos and videos look good when viewed back, with quite vibrant colour reproduction. As for audio, the speakers have been designed in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen and are powerful enough to cut through a lot of noise in a busy demo room. We’re not sure they’re quite iPad Pro quality, although they’ll do the job for watching shows in a noisy kitchen while preparing dinner.

Snap the Envy X2 into its bundled magnetic keyboard dock and it holds firm, even with a good bit of jiggling. That keyboard is raised ever so slightly and provides a comfortable typing experience, with proper isolated keys that can be pushed into the board. It’s even backlit, for working in the dark. Definitely an advantage over the iPad Pro and similar one-piece boards.

You also get a stylus pen, which again should be bundled with the tablet, for sketching and scribbling on the screen. This can be hooked onto a handy loop at the edge of the board, so you don’t lose it when not in use.

Around the back, there’s an adjustable stand. This can be used to get a comfortable angle for typing and viewing, between 110 and 150 degrees. A well-designed hinge keeps the Envy X2 locked firmly in place, even when ruthlessly stabbing the display with your fingers.

Windows 10 certainly seems to run well on that Snapdragon 835 platform, as far as our brief test session revealed. We did see a couple of little stammers here and there, when attempting to open and switch between lots of apps. However, you should be able to comfortably play basic Windows games, just as you can with Intel powered devices. And the best part is that the Envy X2 should offer seriously impressive battery life to boot, which we’ll confirm in our full review. HP reckons 20 hours of solid use per charge, which certainly sounds impressive; that’s almost double what the iPad Pro can manage.

We don’t know the UK pricing of the Envy X2 just yet, although we do know that it will hit stores in Spring 2018.

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