Friday, 01 August 2014 18:22

Review - HP Pro x2 410

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HP's Pro x2 410 detachable has its good points, but suffers from a fundamental problem for my style of use.

In theory, the HP Pro x2 410's detachable design gives the best of both worlds: a compact notebook for everyday work, plus a tablet for situations such as keeping up with social media while watching your favourite TV show or sports coverage.

I'm basically a 'desktop guy', but I'd be happy using the x2 when I'm out of the office apart from one problem, which for me is a dealbreaker. The x2 isn't a rocketship - why would you expect it to be? - but it is certainly powerful enough for the usual mix of word processing, email, web browsing and so on.

So what is the problem? The Pro x2 has a sleek design, but it's top heavy. That's OK as long as it's sitting on a desk, but most of my notebook use involves balancing the device on my lap at conferences, media events and airport departure lounges.

The detachable configuration moves a fair amount of weight from the base to the lid (the tablet section), and as a result the x2 was prone to tipping over unless I made a special effort to keep my lap horizontal, but then the screen wasn't at the best angle. This issue is magnified if you use the touch screen.

On the other hand, the hinge cleverly includes a foot to slightly raise the back of the computer when the screen is open. When closed, it extends to the rear to help maintain the slim profile.

The tablet can be undocked by simply releasing the latch and lifting it away - there's no need for the software-based eject function that I've seen on at least one other detachable.

But when I used the tablet, I found typing to be a bigger problem than usual. In landscape orientation, the soft keyboard took up a large portion of the screen and it wasn't always possible to scroll the active part of the content into view.

Page 2: More pros and cons of the Pro x2


Portrait view is a partial solution, but the weight of the unit combined with the leverage that comes from the tall and thin aspect ratio (compared with an iPad, for example) made it uncomfortable very quickly.

On the subject of typing, I liked the way the soft keyboard automatically disappeared when the tablet was docked, and while I accept that I'm fighting a hopeless rearguard action over the adoption of short-travel keyboards, the one on the x2 was OK as they go.

Finger smudges can be a problem with touchscreens. While I left my usual quota on the x2, they didn't seem as noticeable as usual and the only time I cleaned the screen was before returning the computer at the end of the test period.

The x2 seems to be a fanless design - at least I didn't hear any fan noise - but the centre of the tablet unit (around the HP logo) did get quite hot during use.

I didn't do a formal battery life test, but the x2 did seem to need to be connected to the mains more frequently than I expected.

Those ergonomic issues are my main concerns about the x2, but they reflect my working life. If you rarely use a notebook on your lap and you do very little typing on a tablet, you'd probably come to a different conclusion.

Prices start at $1299. Specifications and other information about the Pro x2 410 can be found here.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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