Hands-on: HP’s Envy x2 is a Surface-like Windows hybrid

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HP's new Envy x2 hybrids offer a range of form-factors in one package (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

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HP’s new 2-in-1 system takes significant cues from the Surface line, offering a detachable keyboard and adjustable kick stand. That said, the machine is far from a direct clone of Microsoft’s device, packing a few interesting design features of its own, including the ability to mimic All-in-One functionality.

The Envy x2 comes in two sizes – a 13.3-inch model and a slightly less manageable 15.6-inch version. We got some hands-on time with the larger of the two systems, and while it’s certainly a little on the bulky side, it occupies an interesting space, straddling laptop and tablet form-factors, and even tipping its hat to the All-in-One.

There's Beats audio on board, and the system features stereo speakers on either side of its display, making it an inch or two wider than most 15.6-inch machines. This isn’t such as issue in laptop mode, but it makes the device feel a little bulky once you switch to the tablet form-factor.

The displays of both models have 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. While that pixel density is significantly lower than most high-end tablets, this is pretty standard for even a high-end Windows laptop.

The 2-in-1 features a kickstand similar to the those found on Microsoft’s Surface hybrids, meaning you can angle the screen just like you would a conventional laptop. It takes a fair bit of force to adjust the angle of the stand, meaning that once it’s in place, it shouldn’t move unless you want it to.

The machine’s magnetic detachable keyboard is perhaps its most interesting feature. The keyboard is backlit, thin and feels similar to the Surface Type Cover. However, the Envy x2’s cover features a large clickable trackpad that, at least in the case of the larger model, is much bigger than the Surface's trackpad. On the larger Envy model, this is located to the right of the keyboard, while the smaller version places it below the keyboard.

The trackpad placement on the larger model may be less conventional, but it actually allows the palm rest to be folded under the keyboard, making the device feel more like an All-in-One than a laptop. The keyboard sections of both versions of the device connect to the system via Bluetooth, meaning that they can be used when not physically clicked in.

Full internal specifications are yet to be made available, but we do know that both systems will be powered by Intel Core M processors, and feature 802.11ac wireless. The 15.6-inch model can be fitted with up to a 500 GB hybrid hard drive, while the 13-inch version will make use of solid state storage.

While the 15.6-inch version might offer more screen real estate, it's actually slightly cheaper than the 13.3-inch model: retailing at US$900 and up, compared to the smaller system’s $950 starting price. The 13.3-inch model is expected to land on October 29, while the 15.6-inch model won’t hit until November 5.

Until then, you can check out the gallery for a closer look at the two hybrids.

Source: HP

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