HP Envy x2 Hands-on: Our early verdict on the Snapdragon 835-powered laptop

Key Features

  • 20-hour battery life
  • Windows 10 S
  • 12.3-inch 1080p display
  • Detachable keyboard
  • 6.9mm thin
  • Snapdragon 835 platform
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Optimised version of Office 365
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HP Envy x2 (2017) hands-on: is the future of laptops the Snapdragon 835?

At its annual Tech Summit, Qualcomm unveiled the first few laptops that will ditch traditional PC internals for the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform – the same CPU you’ll find in the best Android smartphones. The most interesting of this new wave of mobile computers was the HP Envy x2 (2017): a Microsoft Surface-baiting hybrid that boasts cellular connectivity, a detachable keyboard and impressive battery life.

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Earlier in 2017, Qualcomm also announced that it would begin offering a version of the 835 mobile platform that would work with Windows 10 laptops, and it’s great to see it finally come to fruition. Qualcomm and Microsoft are really positioning this is a complete mobile device that will not only work as your laptop, but will do away with the need for a tablet too.

The most obvious benefit of switching to the Snapdragon 835 is battery life. During the announcement, Qualcomm said the HP Envy x2 (2017) should last for 20 hours between charges. That’s a huge number, and it will be interesting to see how whether it holds up in use. That number appears to relate to video playback, so we don’t yet know how the device will fair with everyday web-browsing or general work tasks.

I didn’t have very long with the HP Envy x2 (2017), but in my time with the device I didn’t notice any performance issues. The decision to use the locked-down Windows 10 S will likely help performance, but it will mean you’re restricted to apps from the Microsoft Store. As with the Surface Laptop, if you want that fully featured version of Windows then you can upgrade for free during the first year.

The other big benefit is support for Gigabit LTE, thanks to the X16 modem inside. Obviously, you’ll need to be in a supported area to fully utilise these speeds, but for everyone else it should mean a reliable data connection even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

Finally, switching to the 835 enables these devices to be ridiculously thin. The screen portion of the HP Envy x2 is just 6.9mm thick, making it feel more like a tablet in the hand than a laptop.

Visually, however, there isn’t much else that sets it apart from the crowd of other hybrid devices. It looks a lot like the Microsoft Surface, except that the hinge is part of the included keyboard cover rather than part of the device. This makes altering its angle slightly finicky.

Nevertheless, it remains a good-looking device, sporting plenty of metal and sharp lines. The keyboard has clicky keys with decent travel and, although small, the trackpad feels responsive. A stylus is included in the package, too.

The 12.3-inch 1080p display is nice and bright, while the 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD offers up sufficient memory and storage for the average buyer.

First impressions

Since the HP Envy x2’s price is yet to be revealed, it’s difficult to determine how much of a competitor to the Surface it will actually be. However, the inclusion of the Snapdragon 835 and – if the claims are borne out – the 20-hour battery life mean it could be a very tempting proposition.