Friday, 08 March 2013 12:01

HP ENVY x2 hampered by Windows 8: REVIEW RELOADED Featured


Yesterday, I published a scathing review of the hybrid notebook PC and tablet from Hewlett-Packard, the HP ENVY x2. I stand by the conclusions of that review - underpowered,  overpriced and neither a good tablet nor PC. However, I believe the hardware is actually very nice and the story would have been quite different had HP not used Windows 8 or upped its hardware specs.

Recapping on my previous review, the HP ENVY x2 is a very well put together device. The hardware is solid, the keyboard is very usable, as is the high-res display, which neatly unhooks from the keyboard dock and transforms into an oversized tablet.

As a tablet, the HP ENVY x2 has quite respectable specs, with an Intel Atom Z2760 (dual core, 1.80GHz) processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB SSD. As a PC, these specs don't make the grade. As either device pre-loaded with Windows 8 standard edition, forget about it and HP should have known better.

Here's why (from Microsoft's own website):

If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here's what it takes:

    Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)

    RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)

    Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

    Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Anyone who has had any experience running Microsoft Windows of any variety in any era knows that when Microsoft releases the MINIMUM hardware specs (specifically RAM) to run its software, then unless you at least double them your machine will run like an overweight dog with short legs if it runs at all. If you double the specs your machine may give you barely acceptable performance but let's face it, you probably need to triple or quadruple the amount of RAM to get your machine humming nicely.

The HP ENVY x2 has a 32-bit Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, which cannot be increased. Therefore, Windows 8 standard edition runs but it barely jogs.

It really isn't hard to understand what HP is trying to achieve when it released the HP ENVY x2 to the market. It wants to give Windows PC users access to all their familiar applications while also enabling them to have the benefits of the tablet experience.

The problem is that when users pay top dollar they expect performance and for that HP will need to up their specs somehow. At least 4GB of RAM and a faster processor are needed, with the probable sacrifice of some battery life.

On the other hand, I must admit that I'm not a fan of Windows 8 but the HP ENVY x2 hardware concept is quite nice. Why not keep the shell and re-release it as an Android hybrid tablet device?

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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