Now Google gives Microsoft with Chrome OS contenders for the Surface slabs. We’ve tested one of the first, luxury Chromebook X2 from HP.
The Chromebook has long been an interesting alternative to a Windows laptop, especially for those who appreciate good battery life and a low price. But in recent times the range has expanded, and we have seen one and the other more lavish model.
When Chrome OS this year got support for Android apps, we’ve also seen a new page of Chromebook, many of this year’s best new Chromebooks have been touch screened for the first time.
It has now taken HP to the next level with the HP Chromebook X2, a twelve-inch tablet with high resolution touch screen, pen support, Intel Core processor, included keyboard dock, and stylus. It feels like a direct challenger to Microsoft Surface, both to the format and the specifications.
Surface Challenger with Ultrabook Performance
The plate is a semi-slim case with black glass face, silver colored frame and matt, white backing. It’s a little too straight angles and a bit too high for it to be completely comfortable to carry around for longer moments, just like most Windows tiles. But for a while surfing on the sofa lid or a movie with the plate in the knee it works great.
On the short sides we find two usb-c ports and power input. You can plug in the charging adapter in any of the ports. On one short side we also find a micro-sd card slot. It may be good to have, since the only thing that is not really in the ordinary notebook class of the Chromebook X2 is its storage.
We get 64 GB of emmc memory, some of which are occupied by the operating system. Otherwise, it has good performance for being an Intel-based tablet. It runs a low-energy Core processor out of the last generation, dual-core Core m3-7Y30 at 1 GHz, and 8 GB of frame memory.
It provides the really solid performance for all types of regular surf and office jobs, and also manages some games in the Chrome store and most Android games in the Google Play store.
Razor Sharp and Bright
However, the graphics performance only suffers from the plate’s high screen resolution of 2,400 x 1,600 pixels. We don’t really get as good game performance as, for example, in the Asus Chromebook Flip, a Chromebook with similar processor fixed 1 080p screen. The screen resolution cannot be set to increase performance or to save battery power.
But of course extra pixels are mostly a plus. The screen is wonderfully sharp to look at and to work with, especially for photo viewing and drawing applications. It has a brightness of a bit over 400 cd / m2, and a color range that with good margin exceeds srgb standard.
It makes it really nice to watch movies on. At high brightness, the backlight shines through the ips panel a little well and black areas become slightly gray, but if we slightly dim the brightness, that problem disappears.
Good Sound of HP Chromebook x2
The plate has two forward-facing speakers alongside the screen that give us clear and clean sound. It has a rich midrange and distinctive treble, but the real depth of the base we get with a couple of competing tiles like Ipad Pro and Huawei Mediapad M5 is missing here.
We also get unusually good set of cameras. 13 megapixels at the back and five megapixels at the wide angle front. If it is not for a shortage of your own camera app and the lack of flash is the smartphone class on the pictures, we take. But no, good resolution in spite of that, they are still probably mainly intended for easier documentation and video calls.
Good as a Notebook
The plate also works great as a notebook with traditional Chrome OS interface, when we put it in the included keyboard dock. The plate snaps with a magnetic lock and then sits firmly. Unlike a Surface plate, we were really get hinge in the keyboard with angled and collapsible clamshell design.
We always prefer it to the Surface plates’ hanging keyboard and fold-out support, as this gives us both more stable construction and more flexible use. The keyboard is also really well built with solid feel in the buttons.
Chrome OS has never been better and more versatile than now, and fortunately, it looks as if the manufacturers have taken the hint and are now investing in better hardware to run it. The HP Chromebook X2 is a great example of that. But one that you also have to pay a hefty money for.
Around SEK 10,000, it will cost according to HP. This is far from the usual budget models that we are used to. And even though it’s a lot of quality, we wonder how many are willing to pay for a Chromebook.
Specifications of HP Chromebook x2
Processor: Intel Core m3-7Y30, 1 GHz dual core
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
Memory: 8 GB ddr3
Storage: 64 GB emmc, place for micro sd
Display: 12.3 inch ips, 2400×1600 pixels, multitouch
Cameras: 13 megapixels rear, 5 megapixel wide angle front
Connections: 2 usb 3.0 type c, 3.5 mm headset
Wireless: 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (wifi 1-5) 2×2 mimo, bluetooth 4.2
Operating system: Chrome OS
Other: Keyboard dock, stylus
Battery life: 9h movie (high brightness), 12h 30min mixed use (muted brightness)
Size, plate: 736 grams
Weight, plate: 29.1 x 21 x 0.7 cm
Size, docked: 29.1 x 21.9 x 1.5 cm
Weight, docked: 1.45 kg
Price: SEK 10,500 (HP’s recommended retail price)
A Sober and Elegant Design
From the first glance, HP leaves no doubt, we are on the high-end Chromebook. The finishes are excellent, all give an impression of great strength and the materials are premium. The hood is white ceramic, the hinge and the edges are square and aluminum.
They are reminiscent of the contours that can be found on the iPhone 4, which I personally find very classy. The base is matte black. Unlike an iPad Pro or a Google Pixel Slate that have a flexible keyboard uncertain in certain positions, this Chromebook is very comfortable in use on the knees or lying on a sofa thanks to the rigidity of the keyboard.
HP Chromebook x2 A Powerful and Versatile Machine
As you can see, this Chromebook knows just about anything, it fits most situations and needs, which is why I think it’s a very good purchase to make as the first Chromebook. Also, with an Intel processor m3-7Y30 of 7th generation (equivalent of an Intel Core i5-5200U) and 8GB of RAM, as much to tell you that you will have NO problem of fluidity while surfing on Chrome, even with tens of tabs open simultaneously.
Like most Chromebooks, Chrome OS is installed on an SSD so the system starts up a quarter turn. In terms of autonomy, it easily holds 8 hours in conventional office use, so a priori no need to put it to charge during the day. I tested the performance with Gameloft’s Asphalt 9 game. Not surprisingly, the game runs very fluidly with the high graphics. Only one or two addicts have occurred without spoiling my gaming experience.
In summary, the HP Chromebook x2 is halfway between the classic PC and the smartphone, making it a partner that will make them almost obsolete at home. It is also a powerful device that promises a very good life, if you are ready to put the price. It is as effective at writing and document writing as at home for viewing multimedia content and surfing the Internet.
Be careful, however, depending on the use you have, it may not replace a conventional PC. Personally, I always use Windows for games and some software like the Adobe suite which is not yet fully available on Chrome OS (even if we find a simplified version of Photoshop for example, free and really effective). But that’s pretty much the only use I have from my old PC now!