HP Pavillion 11 x360 review
11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.4kg, 2.13GHz Intel Celeron N2820, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 8.1
The HP Pavilion 11 x360 is a lightweight laptop with an 11.1in touchscreen, a colourful, simple chassis and a low-powered processor that's nonetheless a cut above that you'd find in a typical netbook. Its bright red exterior looks fantastic, and you can fold the keyboard back to turn the x360 into a slightly bulky tablet or twist the keyboard into a stand to support the screen, to make the laptop perfect for watching videos.
Despite its small size, the laptop is fairly well equipped with ports and connection options. There's an SDXC card reader, two USB ports and a USB3 port. Rather than a Gigabit Ethernet port, there's a slower 10/100 Ethernet port, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The built-in speakers have Beats Audio branding slapped on them and sound surprisingly rich given their size. You'll want to plug in proper speakers for a full-on listening session, but the built in models are good enough for YouTube. There's also a headset port with dedicated volume control buttons next to it. These buttons are particularly handy when the laptop is folded into tablet mode. By default, this hybrid laptop's screen rotates automatically depending on which way round you’re holding the screen; you can disable this behaviour in Windows if you wish.
The laptop's wrist rest and keyboard bezel are rather nicely finished in brushed metal. The touchpad is set slightly towards the right of the wrist rest. It's a little small, but accurate and sensitive. The buttons are built into the touchpad's surface rather than separate, so you just press the lower right or left of the touchpad surface to click them. We don’t always get on with this kind of arrangement, but didn’t have a problem with the x360's buttons.
The keyboard is also well positioned relative to the touchpad, and we never found ourselves accidentally brushing the pad's surface and causing the cursor to jump all around our document. Unfortunately, while the keyboard's layout is well designed for accurate typing, its keys hardly travel at all. This means that you don't get much tactile feedback while you're typing and, if you tend to strike the keys heavily, you can end up with the uncomfortable sensation of bottoming out on every single key, which can lead to sore fingertips.
The 1,366x768 touchscreen display is sensitive and accurate to use as a control surface, and makes the x360 easy to use in its tablet configuration. However, the hybrid laptop's thick body, 1.4kg weight and relatively large size mean that it's difficult to use held in one hand. It's comfortable to use in its tablet form if you rest it on your lap or a table, but with the exception of a handful of applications, such as Windows 8's great News app, there's little advantage to using the x360 in tablet mode rather than as a laptop.
The screen's quality is, if not outstanding, at least good enough to make it comfortable to use. However, despite the display's glossy finish, which can throw up unwanted reflections in direct light, the whole panel looks a little dull. Viewing angles are surprisingly poor, so you'll need to angle the laptop carefully to avoid colour shift. Our tests using a colour calibrator weren't terribly encouraging, either. The display was rated as having a contrast ratio of just 234:1, with terrible black levels of 0.82cd/m2. Colour accuracy wasn't too bad for a cheap laptop, though: our measurement device reported that the screen could cover 60.6% of the sRGB colour gamut.
There's an HDMI port, which means you can connect an external display to give you more desktop resolution, or hook up a TV or projector when you want to watch films at higher resolutions. The x360's Celeron processor is only equipped with the most basic on-chip Intel HD Graphics. After taking a long time to load the program, the laptop failed our standard Dirt Showdown test, which we run at High quality with 4x anti-aliasing and a resolution of 1,280x720. Dropping the quality to Ultra Low produced an average frame rate of 20.3fps - smoother, but still too jerky to play. The 360 can't play modern 3D games, but it's well suited to popular 2D titles such as FTL: Faster Than Light.
The laptop's Intel Celeron N2820 processor isn't much to write home about, producing an overall score of just 13, with a particularly poor result in the multitasking part of our test. If you want to run lots of applications at once, or even if you tend to have dozens of browser tabs open, then you'll feel this low-power processor's lack of grunt. Unfortunately, although the processor isn't very powerful, it's not massively efficient, either: the laptop's battery lasted five hours and 24 minutes. Not bad for a low-cost laptop, but not enough to keep you working all day.
When it comes to browsing just a couple of websites at a time, writing email, producing documents and playing casual games, the x360 provides a smooth user experience. The laptop has 4GB of RAM and a generous 500GB hard disk, which gives you loads of space for all the media you'll want to take around with you. At £349, the x360 is much cheaper than most lightweight laptops and looks great. However, although it looks dull by comparison, the Budget Buy-winning Acer Travelmate B113-M is £50 cheaper and much more powerful; if you're not fussed about a touchscreen, the B113 is a better choice for a low-cost laptop.
|Processor||Intel Celeron N2820|
|Processor clock speed||2.13GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Pointing device||touchpad and touchscreen|
|Viewable size||11.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel HD Graphics|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Optical drive type||none|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDXC|
|Other ports||3.5mm headset port|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||one year HP connected music|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|