Saturday, 30 March 2013

TECH HEAD REVIEW: Two into one HP Envy x2 switches functions in a matter of seconds

Touted as a hybrid notebook computer, the HP Envy x2 PC can easily transform into an 11.6-inch HD touch-screen tablet computer.

The Envy x2 has a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard via a seamless magnetic latch. It comes with a sleek aluminium finish and an innovative hinge with magnets that smoothly guide the tablet into place. 

The detaching and connecting to the docking section can be done on the fly without having to turn the computer off first. The docking section provides two USB ports, an HDMI port, a microphone/headphone jack and a memory card reader.

When connected to its keyboard docking section, the HP Envy x2 weighs 1.41 kilograms but loses weight when separated, with the tablet portion coming in at a skinny 0.71kg.

Although HP calls its newest release a hybrid notebook, I'd prefer to call it a tablet computer that comes with a docking that allows it to function as a notebook.

This is while the Envy x2's performance is okay for a tablet, it's not impressive for a notebook. Part of the reason for this is that the Envy x2 runs on an Intel Atom processor, not a 3rd generation Core I processor like most powerful notebook computers.

Powered by dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 processor running at 1.8 GHz, the tablet is equipped with 2 GB DDR2 Ram and 128 GB Solid State Drive. It runs on Windows 8 32-bit operating system.

Benchmarked with Windows 8's internal evaluation tool, the ENVY x2 did not receive high scores.

On the scale of 1.0 to 9.9, it got 3.5 points for the processor's performance of calculations per second.

It got 3.3 points for the 3D business and gaming graphics performance and 3.5 points for Desktop graphics performance.

It got 4.7 points for the performance of memory operations per second. The SSD drive helped the Envy x2 reach a high performance score of 6.1 for disk data transfer rate.

That aside, the Envy x2 performed general tasks as a tablet computer well. Email checking, web browsing, photo viewing and music playing were fine.

Its touch screen supports Windows 8's multi-touch interface and was responsive while the scrolling was fast. The screen has an HD resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It uses In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology for fast display. With its full brightness of 400 nits, the screen of the Envy x2 is readable even under direct sunlight.

And the ENVY x2 has an impressive start-up speed. It took just 11 seconds to bring up screen that requires you to log on and 15 seconds to show the Start screen of application tiles and ready for use. It shut down in less than two seconds during the test.

As a tablet, it also features an 8 megapixel main camera at the back, which captures good quality when light permits. 

It also has an HD webcam on the front for video chat.

And the tablet section also provides a microSD card slot for adding more storage.

It features Beats Audio technology, which enhanced the music quality when I used it with my Sony premium in-ear headphones. However, the built-in speakers are not particularly powerful.

The Envy x2 comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection and best of all it has Near Field Communication (NFC) connection technology that lets you share content, including photos, contacts and URLs, with a simple tap with a smart phone.

When you start using the Envy x2, you are required to log in with your Microsoft account, either a Hotmail or Live account, to link to online services from Microsoft, including Xbox Live game services.

From there, you will find easy access to content and contacts linked to your Microsoft account. 

For example, you can easily access photos store on your Microsoft SkyDrive or pictures from your Facebook albums if your Facebook account is linked to your MSN Live Messenger account. This makes online life very convenient.

HP ENVY x2 PC (11-g021TU) retails for Bt29,990 (VAT included).

Key specs

_ OS: Windows 8 32-bit

_ CPU: dual core Intel Atom Processor Z2760 1.8 GHz

_ Memory: 2 GB 533MHz LPDDr2 SDRAM

_ Storage: 128 eMMC SSD hard drive

_ Optical drive: none

_ Display: 11.6-BrightView LED-backlit multi-touch screen with 1366 x 768 pixel resolution

_ Graphics adapter: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator, sharing system memory

_ Camera: Front-facing HP TrueVision webcam with integrated digital microphone, 8 MP rear camera

_ Audio: BeatsAudio with dual speakers

_ Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 HDMI Connectivity, NFC, BlueTooth, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ WLAN multi-band Wi-Fi

_ Size (WxHxD): 303x19x206 mm

_ Weight: 1.41 g

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