Sunday, 19 October 2014 13:29

HP Pavilion x2 tablet – review


HP has released the Pavilion x2 – a 10.1”, Intel Atom based tablet complete with a detachable keyboard cover at $499. It is good for what it is but is competing in a crowded market that is only getting more so.

So let us start with the good stuff. HP quality is tops. Its warranty and after sales service - should you need it - is good. The Pavilion x10, Model number K2N50PA#ABG is a touch tablet with a competent detachable keyboard that also acts as a cover.

Now the bad stuff. It is hard to get excited by another Windows 8.1 tablet with Bing – just as it is hard to ogle over a me-too Google Android tablet. With respect Windows 8.1 based, Intel Atom powered tablets all do pretty much the same whether it is one of the many made by Acer, Asus, Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, and then bring on the clones.

You see Microsoft was tired of getting its ass kicked by Google’s low cost Android tablets so it decided to give Windows 8.1 away free as long as it defaulted to Bing Search. It also gives away one year’s Office 365 Personal subscription. Frankly, this is the death knell of Chrome and Android tablets in the workplace.

At $499 you can’t expect miracles. It uses an Intel Atom Z3745D, 1.33GHz (1.86GHz turbo mode), quad core, Bay Trail-T, system on a chip (SoC). It only supports 2GB of single channel DDR3 RAM– so it comes with 32 bit Windows installed. On the plus side, it does not require a fan and should deliver the claimed battery life of 11.75 hours.

The test version has 32GB of Hynix HBG4e eMMC storage. It is pretty much ‘flash memory’ and is slow in comparison to SSD but one of the more commonly used components in lower cost tablets. Read speeds to 100MB/s and write is about 40MB/s. Even though it was a 32GB unit, the total available capacity was 21.6GB and there was about 18GB free. It has a micro SD slot (capacity unknown but at least 32GB). Some markets can also buy the 64GB version at a higher price – perhaps a better option.

The SoC has Intel HD Graphics – the 1280x800, WLED, IPS screen is not a gamers device. I found it crisp and bright enough – again its price driven. It has mini HDMI output and will run a full HD, 1080p monitor or TV screen.

The detachable keyboard cover provides two viewing angles – and connects magnetically to the back cover of the tablet. It uses weak magnets to attach the keyboard connector to the tablet – there is no ‘reassuring snap’ like on a Surface Pro. The keyboard is as competent as any chiclet (island keys) can be. It is not for writing ‘War and Peace’ but it is fine for email and reports.

It has 802.11 N Wi-FI, Bluetooth 4.0, a full size USB 3.0 port, and a front facing web camera. An active stylus (battery operated) is sold as an option.

It has front facing stereo DTS speakers – reasonable sound levels but its more a personal device. It has a 3.5mm audio jack.

It weights 610g and the keyboard adds 325g.

There are the usual free offers for McAfee Internet Security (one year) and Office 365 Personal (1 year) as well as a range of HP apps.

Would I buy one?

I am now an inveterate Surface Pro 3 user and I find the 12” display more useful than a 10”. I also find its backlit keyboard and infinitely adjustable back stand more useful. But that is an unfair comparison – a nearly $2000 device against a $499 one. I also have an Asus T100 that is more a direct comparison and I think the HP has the edge.

So yes, it gets the tick but remember the 10” tablet is a very crowded, highly substitutable, market and shopping around may reveal a bargain.



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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!


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