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HP Elite x2 1012 review - takes aim at the Surface Pro 4, just misses

Richard Easton
6 Jun 2016
HP Elite x2 angle
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,229
inc VAT as of 3rd June

Page 1 of 2HP Elite x2 1012 review - takes aim at the Surface Pro 4, just misses

The Elite x2 is an excellent 2-in-1 with business-friendly features, but its display lets it down

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Every other week it seems there's another 2-in-1 device gunning for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4's crown, but so far none of them have made much of a lasting impression. HP's Elite x2, however, might just be the device we've been waiting for. 

It's actually very similar to HP's slightly more budget-orientated Spectre x2, but the Elite x2 is very much geared toward business users and office workers. In fact, unscrew the six rear torque screws underneath the kickstand and you'll have access to the tablet's battery, memory and storage, allowing business to manage basic upgrades and servicing in-house. 

The Elite x2 also has a more ergonomic kickstand than its Spectre-based sibling. Whereas the Spectre x2 required you to press a button to release the kickstand, there’s no such requirement on the Elite. It doesn't have any angle restrictions either, so you're free to position the display however you see fit, and the hinge provides plenty of support to help keep the whole thing stable. 

It's still a bit awkward to use, though. There are small grooves along the edge to make prising it open a little easier when it's flush against the back, but its rather thin construction means it will also flex and bend a bit if you only pull it out by one corner. It doesn't feel particularly robust as a result, but at least it's been designed to be easily replaced, as you'll find another pair of torque screws on the hinges to help whip it out if you happen to sit on it or it ends up snapping accidentally. 

HP Elite x2 rear

Design and ports

That small niggle aside, the Elite x2 looks stunning. Made from aluminium, the rest of the tablet component feels extremely robust and its matt finish looks very elegant. There’s also a fingerprint sensor tucked away on the back, which is compatible with Windows Hello, Microsoft's built-in security feature on Windows 10. There’s a front-facing webcam, too, but sadly this can't be used to unlock the device with Windows Hello's face recognition software.

As with most 2-in-1 tablet devices, ports are rather on the slim slide. All you get is a USB3 and USB-C port, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. However, the USB-C port does give the Elite x2 a degree of flexibility, as it can be used for power, outputting to an external display via an adaptor or for connecting external storage. There's also a slot for a micro-SIM card, allowing you to add a data SIM to the Elite x2 so you get always get online.


HP Elite x2 ports

Display

It certainly looks the part of a high-end business hybrid, then, but its 12in display left something to be desired. Its 1,920x1,280 resolution isn’t a patch on the Surface Pro 4’s 2,736x1,824 display, so can’t rival it for pixels-per-inch and general sharpness, and its colour accuracy was also lagging behind, too. With its lacklustre 76.6% sRGB colour gamut coverage, images had a noticeable blue and green tint, so it's not particularly suited to colour-sensitive work. 

However, its contrast ratio of 908:1 was still reasonably decent, and its high brightness of 351cd/m2 makes it a practical choice for using outdoors, so it should still serve you well if you're mainly using it to browse the web and edit word documents. 

Keyboard and Touchpad

To get some real work done, you'll need to dock the tablet into its detachable keyboard. This attaches to the tablet via magnets, and separating them is as easy as simply pulling them apart. There's also a second magnet at the top of the keyboard that attaches to the bottom of the display, allowing you to raise the keyboard to a more comfortable angle.

With its metal base and soft, felt rear, typing on the Elite x2 was very pleasant indeed. There's not a huge amount of travel to each key, but they're well-spaced and it's very easy to get used to. After a few rounds of Type Racer, I managed 100WPM on more than one occasion, which is pretty respectable for a laptop keyboard. The keys are backlit, too, and they automatically turn off after a period of inactivity so they don't put a strain on the battery. 

The Precision-certified touchpad is larger than the one on the Spectre x2, which is welcome news indeed. With more height available, vertical scrolling feels less constrained, and it also means more room for multi-touch gestures. The touchpad has a nice and slick coating ensuring your finger glides across without any problems.

HP Elite x2 keyboard

However, while the felt cover on the bottom of the keyboard provides a good degree of friction, I wish the kickstand provided a bit more grip as well, as trying to use the Elite x2 on anything other than a table wasn't very easy. This will only be a problem if you ever need to type on your lap, though.

Page 1 of 2HP Elite x2 1012 review - takes aim at the Surface Pro 4, just misses

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