I wish I knew the current ‘Gen Next’ vernacular because this is the one that could result in tablet envy (sorry that is another HP brand) in the schoolyard or at Uni. Everyone I have shown it to want’s one.
WHY? It is a 10.1” WXGA, tablet, it has a real, reversible, detachable keyboard that can act as a tent style display; it has B&O stereo speakers; it uses the new USB-C charger/data; has the latest Intel Atom; and has 2GB RAM and 32/64GB eMMC storage. Above all, it has style.
More than that, it is a very close competitor with Microsoft’s Surface 3 – in fact; it is ahead in many respects.
First, let’s not get confused with HP’s reuse of the x2 Pavilion name. This model 10-N003tu, N4F18PA bears no resemblance to the Pavilion x2 tablet reviewed in October 2014. It is important when reading reviews to differentiate – the old x2 tablet was OK – the new x2 Notebook is great.
The keyboard is innovative. Click it on normally and you have a clamshell, mini-note style of device. Click it on the other way and you have a front facing display device. Or flip the keyboard over for a thickish tablet or tent style. It is very flexible.
From a tech perspective:
- OS: Windows 8.1, 32-bit but by the time you read this it will be Windows 10
- Processor: Intel, quad core, Atom Z3736F, 1.33GHz
- Screen: 10.1”, 1280x800, WXGA, backlit touch screen
- Memory/Storage: 2GB DDR3 (not upgradeable), 32 or 64GB eMMC, microSD slot
- Ports: USB-C for data and charge, full-size USB 2.0 (can charge a smartphone), Micro HDMI, 3.5mm headphone/mic
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: front facing HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated digital microphone
- Speakers: B&O PLAY with 2 speakers
- Battery: 33Wh, Li-Po and USB-C charger
- Size/weight: 26.4 x 17.3 x 0.96 cm and 620g (tablet) and 1.98cm and 1.17kg with keyboard.
No these are not powerhouse specs but it is not supposed to be. It runs full-fat Windows 10, it excels at Excel (Office), it runs all but the most power hungry x86 programs, and supports all USB devices. Such is the beauty of Windows 10 on a tablet - you cannot do that with an iPad.
I particularly like that it runs Windows instead of another tablet OS because it simply works well with the ecosystem. It found all my media, storage and other Windows devices and seamlessly joined the home group where every resource can be shared.
Some specific observations:
The Atom and the WXGA screen give it a full day’s use – the claim is 12 hours of mixed use. I regularly got seven hours so yes – it is a working day.
The only issue I have is that once depleted it takes about 3 or more hours to recharge. The charger is a 5V, 3A, 15W so it should be no slouch but I expected a faster charge.
Note that being USB-C you cannot use this charger on your smartphone – yet. Advantage Surface 3.
The quad core Atom is competent. In normal use – Office, playing movies etc., it is more than adequate. It is not a games machine.
The 1280x800 WXGA is to save battery. It does what it does well – the Surface is full HD. Touch is responsive.
One the best you will find on a hybrid. Precise, good throw and tactile feel. Not backlit. The touchpad is accurate – a little clunky when pressing left and right keys but fine. The magnetic, reversible keyboard is a good piece of industrial design.
The stereo speaker are along each edge in a nice perforated bezel. Speakers are clear and fine for personal music or movies.
It includes a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal. It has the usual compliment of bloatware – Wild Tangent Games, 7-Zip and others – simply uninstall them.
It is a travel companion and rugged enough for school/uni use. It is a basic machine essentially in a well-designed body.
Would I buy it over the Surface 3? That is a harder question. At $549 for the 64GB Blizzard White model it is good value and includes the keyboard so yes – I would buy it for a lightweight travel companion.
Being very subjective it is a 7 out of 10 – the Surface 3 perhaps an 8 but it is a lot more expensive.