With Windows 8 launching on October 26, many companies are releasing devices that directly compete with Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, either by adding features or attacking the tablet with a keyboard solution from a different perspective entirely.
HP’s first step into the tablet/laptop hybrid or convertible universe is with the Envy X2.
The HP Envy X2 is a tablet with a dock that offers a secondary battery, keyboard, trackpad, USB ports, a headphone jack, and HDMI ports. None of the actual computing happens in the dock (the keyboard section), but it’s hinge allows you to close the two pieces together as though it were a laptop.
When the dock and the tablet are connected, it would be pretty hard for anyone to look and tell you aren’t using a laptop. The dock connects to the tablet with a physical plug in connection, guided in by two magnetic tabs. Once the magnets get a hold of the tablet, everything slides right into place in one fluid motion. Removing the tablet from the dock takes a little bit of force, but the two pieces don’t seem likely to separate accidentally.
HP’s approach to the laptop/tablet hybrid is only really effective if you know you are going to leave the dock at home sometimes. When together, the 3.1lb machine is thicker than an ultrabook. When separated, the 1.5lb is much more manageable and fits in messenger bags or tablet sleeves with ease.
HP’s solution is very much a no compromise kind of machine, especially if what you want is the ability to be flexible in how you use your computer.
The 400 nit IPS display on the 11.6-inch tablet is great on the eyes, making everything in the Windows 8 UI pop. NFC on board makes sure the device will play nicely with the upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as HP’s new Bluetooth mouse which uses NFC to quickly pair.
The 8MP rear camera and HD front facing camera makes sure you can use the device like you would any other mobile tablet, while the full version of Windows 8 makes sure you are able to do anything a full PC can do.
HP has yet to announce pricing for the Envy X2, but the dock section is sure to increase the price of the machine dramatically.