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HP Envy x2 review

Ardjuna Seghers



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HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2
  • HP Envy x2 Performance
  • HP Envy x2 Performance
  • HP Envy x2 rear camera pic
  • HP Envy x2 rear camera pic


Our Score:



  • Well-built
  • Attractive design
  • Good screen and speakers
  • Good battery life
  • Full-size SD card slot


  • Overpriced
  • Atom performance still disappoints
  • Less battery life than some rivals
  • No bundled stylus, optional stylus not Wacom

Key Features

  • Convertible Win 8 tablet/laptop with removable keyboard dock
  • 11.6-inch IPS touch screen, 1366 x 768
  • 1.8GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, up to 64GB storage
  • Up to 14hrs battery life
  • Manufacturer: HP
  • Review Price: £799.00


The age of the convertible Windows 8 tablet/laptop is well and truly upon us. All the major brands have thrown their metaphorical gloves into the arena with a whole bunch of form factors, including sliders like the Toshiba Satellite U920t, twisters such as the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist, and even flip-screen models such as the Dell XPS Duo 12.

However, the most interesting convertible solution is the detachable slate with keyboard dock. This not only gives you a tablet without the weight of the keyboard when you don’t want it, but also means you get far longer battery life thanks to the second battery that’s usually integrated into the dock. The disadvantage is that – with a few exceptions such as the Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro and Lenovo ThinkPad Helix - most of these convertibles aren’t as powerful as a regular laptop, and usually rely on Intel’s Atom processor for their power. That’s exactly what the HP Envy x2 does, so is it a jack of all trades or master of none?

Let’s just quickly sum up the basics before getting into the nitty-gritty. Like its main rivals, the Asus Vivo Tab and Samsung Ativ Smart PC, HP’s Windows 8 hybrid is an 11.6-inch affair that consists of a tablet plus detachable keyboard base with extra connectivity and a secondary battery. One of the biggest selling points over Android and iOS offerings is that this tablet/laptop will run many of your legacy Windows 7/Vista/XP apps.

Check out our Windows 8 Laptops Tablets Convertibles and PCs roundup

With a Clover Trail processor backed by 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and a ‘common’ 1,366 x 768 resolution for its IPS screen, HP’s effort is hardly the most powerful Windows 8 machine around, but again these specs match the competition and ensure that the Envy x2 lasts long on a charge too, with claimed battery life of up to 14hrs.

HP Envy x2 - Design and Build

As its name suggests, the Envy x2 is aiming for the premium market within its category, and this is reflected both in its £800 price (where direct rivals can be had for closer to £700), and in its design. While the Samsung Ativ Tab uses mostly plastic and the Asus Vivo Tab uses various shades in its brushed metal finish with plastic sections, the x2 sports an all-metal outer shell and offers a more ‘unibody’ look.

In fact, several people who saw this machine around the office asked if it was an Apple laptop. Mind you, with the Envy x2 closed you can’t miss the giant, shiny HP logo that dominates the lid’s centre. The webcam’s slight ‘hump’ is also something you’d never see in coming from the house that Steve Jobs built.

Another design feature we’re not too convinced about is how HP has decided to integrate the power button and volume rocker into its convertible; rather than putting them at the sides, it has made them part of the lid. This could have been very attractive, if only they had kept the same brushed finish as their surroundings. As is, they just break things up too much, and are just a bit harder to find. On the good side, they never catch the finger either, leaving the sides of the Envy x2 ‘tablet’ nice and smooth.

Having said all that, there’s no denying that the HP Envy x2 is a good-looking, stylish and well-built laptop/tablet overall, and its aggressive tapering makes it look like one of the slimmest Windows 8 hybrids on the market. While quite cold in the hand, that all-metal outer finish also gives an undeniable feeling of quality and avoids unsightly fingerprints.

Unfortunately, its lack of anodising or a tactile pattern makes the HP Envy x2’s tablet part slightly slippery. Also, HP putting the tablet’s headphone jack on the x2’s bottom (presumably for aesthetic reasons) is just a compromise too far – though you can still plug in some headphones with the tablet docked, as its keyboard base replicates the 3.5mm jack.

The protruding hinge that joins the tablet and dock raises the device’s rear up when in laptop mode. The dock’s hinge holds the tablet very securely and offers strong, nicely graded open/close action. The tablet part is easily released with a front-facing switch on the dock; though this mechanism was a tad stiff when first we played with it, it only required a little wearing in.

The 19mm-thick tablet part of the HP Envy x2 weighs in at 690g - heavier than the iPad 4 and Asus Vivo Tab - while adding the keyboard dock takes this to 1.39kg (the Asus is 1.35kg with dock). However, both the tab on its own and dock combo are lighter than the Samsung Ativ Smart PC by a few grams.

Mike B

November 27, 2012, 10:10 pm

I would rather have the Toshiba U920t for £50 more and have a faster machine in a better form factor.

I expect these will be discounted heavily within 6 months when they fail to move the stock.


November 28, 2012, 6:22 pm

Definitely a faster machine, though generally £100 more and personally I prefer the detachable laptop/tablet form factor. Also keep in mind you get far inferior battery life and no stylus option.


December 19, 2012, 9:17 pm

When you're paying £800 surely you'd expect a bigger hard drive than just 64GB!!!

Mick Fischer

December 20, 2012, 1:06 am


Donald King

December 27, 2012, 5:55 pm

Got mine today. Shame they weren't available before XMAS. Contrary to Mich Fischer's mine has an OS Windows 8 and is the dogs bollox. Much better than my old ASUS (Andriod). I can now use real applications again and have a touchscreen to boot & it's not Korean! :)

Dave Lulham

January 5, 2013, 10:05 pm

I have a 13.3inch HP DM3 laptop which is now over 2 years old. Compared to this it has a faster processor, twice as much RAM, more disk space (320gb), the screen resolution is the same and it's a very good, portable little machine. You can still buy them new for £300 now, so why would anyone pay £800 for this? I don't see how a detachable keyboard, touchscreen and being slightly smaller and lighter justifies the vastly inflated price, or am I wrong?


January 6, 2013, 7:00 pm

Well, at least the caps lock key worked.


January 10, 2013, 4:33 pm

It would be helpful if you could clarify what HP did/did not do to rectify the situation - surely (as Endgadget suggests) you could just return it for a replacement?

Also, coming without an OS hardly makes the product JUNK...


January 10, 2013, 4:45 pm



January 10, 2013, 4:47 pm

No-one is suggesting you couldn't enlarge text and icons, and Windows 8's Modern UI scales automatically. Retina is marketing, but it (or rather high-res screens in general) is also a genuine enhancement to your viewing experience making everything sharper and potentially more detailed.


January 10, 2013, 4:49 pm

Indeed, Win 8 offers far more flexibility than rival operating systems for tablets/laptops.

Out of interest, what's wrong with a product being Korean?


January 10, 2013, 4:51 pm

Yes and also better specs. Mind you, the IPS screen, second battery and premium build do account for a lot of the x2's price compared to a better-specced laptop, but it's still overpriced.


January 10, 2013, 4:54 pm

Not wrong, though you are missing out on a few bits - the DM3 doesn't offer an SSD, which the x2 does. The screen is also far superior IPS rather than TN on the DM3. And last but not least, the DM3 doesn't last 14hrs on a charge...


January 10, 2013, 4:59 pm

Doesn't seem competitive at all at that price, esp compared to Surface Pro which is likely to be £799 and comes with core i5, a superior screen and is bundled with a pen.

William Dunlap

January 14, 2013, 3:38 pm

I have had mine since it shipped in December. This review is pretty much spot on. I will say that the extra money is worth it. The samsung ATIV and the Asus feel like cheap plastic junk when compared to this. The Samsung ATIV is so cheaply made the back of the tablet actually squeezes into the screen while you are holding it.

The HP functions very well as a tablet and in Windows 8 applications from the Windows store. It works okay as a laptop, but it will not replace an i5 or do any type of serious gaming. I have not had any problems running photoshop, Office, and doing basic video editing. The new atom chip is a 100% improvement over the old one, although it is still not quite a substitute for a real core processor. Since I don't use the HP to run serious games or run multiple comprehensive programs at once, it serves my functions perfectly. It will multitask and run multiple programs at once, so long as they are not memory intensive programs. In other words, it will run your email, news, and word all at the same time without any problem.

The screen may not be as beautiful as the iPad, but overall, the machine is a lot more functional than an iPad. The HP actually allows me to use the full versions of word, excel, outlook, etc, and it allows you to run most legacy or older Windows software. Having owned every iPad to date, I always felt something was lacking, a true laptop replacement. What the iPad lacked, HP has made up for with this machine. Kudos to HP for producing a truly great machine in the midst of the rest of their less than ideal products. This product gives me hope for HP. HP, keep innovating with this and hopefully Intel will improve its mobile chips, and you will have a perfect machine in the future.


January 16, 2013, 3:18 pm

its ssd not hard drive it is faster to load but is more expensive, however i agree £800 is 2 much..

Adam Christoffer Duus-Boolsen

March 14, 2013, 9:46 am

Odd... The Samsung Ativ Smart PC is a few percent more expensive than the Envy x2 where I live. The Asus Vivo Tab is slightly more expensive WITHOUT a keyboard dock; if you want the keyboard dock, it ends up at least 25% more expensive.


March 19, 2013, 7:43 pm

Question for you all, would you find it beneficial if HP released a functional case for the HP Envy x2? All is can find is a case for transport to get the laptop from A to B. I am looking for something similar to what I had on my Macbook, a case that protects both the tablet and the base while in use. Would you all find that beneficial?

Martin Vaillancourt

April 19, 2013, 12:33 pm

I have had mine since December as well and I must say that I have no disappointments at all. The speed of Win8 on this combo unit is excellent, the battery life is amazing and the overall feel is spectacular. The only thing is that I wish there was a smart cover available because in tablet mode it's a little naked.


May 14, 2013, 1:58 pm

Absolute pants...very disappointing, was looking forward to this device, its cheap plasticky and is very slow to start and perform any task, its old technology, move on...


May 26, 2013, 1:15 pm

Does the raised circle patten on the key boards pad sting your finger tips or is it just annoying?

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