The march of Chrome OS continues, with a detachable Chromebook from HP
Just days after we saw the first Chrome OS tablet arrive, there's another new form factor for Google's desktop operating system. Enter the HP Chromebook x2, a detachable Chromebook that follows the template laid down by Microsoft's Surface Book and gives Chrome OS fans another option to pick from.
As with the Surface Book, the benefit of a device like this is that you can switch between tablet and desktop modes easily – something that Chrome OS is now proving itself adept at, especially now it supports Android apps (the full desktop version of Google Chrome is slowly becoming more touchscreen-friendly).
In tablet mode, the device weighs 1.62 lb (735 g) and is 8.2 mm (0.32 inches) thick, which rises to 3.14 lb (1,424 g) and 15.3 mm (0.6 inches) when the Chromebook x2 keyboard is attached. HP is promising up to 10 hours of battery life.
The touchscreen measures 12.3 inches diagonally – iPad Pro territory – and offers a 2400 x 1600 pixel resolution. You even get a stylus with "select models," HP says, so check the retail listings in your part of the world.
Under the hood you can get the Chromebook x2 kitted out with mobile Intel processors and up to 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (expandable via memory card). Those kind of specs are really overkill for a Chromebook, but like the Pixelbook before it, HP is positioning the Chromebook x2 as a premium machine capable of switching between multiple browser tabs and Android apps without a beat.
As you would expect from a company with HP's heritage, it looks the part too, and you get two USB-C ports, a memory card slot, and a 3.5-mm audio jack for your connectivity needs. There are dual speakers tuned with help from Bang & Olufsen plus cameras front and rear to round out the package.
The HP Chromebook x2 can be yours from June 10 for US$599.99, which is a lot for your average Chromebook but very reasonable against the similarly specced Pixelbook, which will set you back $999 direct from Google (and which doesn't have a detachable screen).
As we mentioned when the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 arrived, Chrome OS has leapfrogged Android as the preferred Google OS for tablets – though that's mainly because it now supports Android apps. Users get the best of both worlds with the huge Android app ecosystem, plus a full, desktop web browser, and all the usual benefits of Chrome OS (tight security, no need for antivirus or backups, regular updates).
Now that Chrome OS is arriving on tablets, detachables, and 2-in-1s as well, it's giving Microsoft and Apple even more to think about. The good news for us consumers is that we've got a lot more options when it comes to picking our next computing device.