HP Chromebook x2 in the test: A price advantage that is not great
Enlarge / HP Chromebook x2 11-inch two-in-one.
For tech enthusiasts, Chromebooks can be an acquired taste. Advanced users don’t need a stripped-down operating system, and the low processing power generally disqualifies Chromebooks as serious, primary PCs. But Chromebooks can often find a welcome spot as a second or (after the phone) tertiary device in an enthusiast’s home. And when this Chromebook comes in a detachable form factor with a screen slightly larger than that of most of its competitors, it fits that role well.
The HP Chromebook x2 Two-in-One makes this place with an 11-inch display that offers more screen space than competitors like the 10.1-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet, the 10.5-inch Microsoft Surface Go 3 or even similarly expensive iPads. The portable, pliable (and do we have the blue?) HP Chromebook is ripe for travel and less intense tasks.
|Technical data at a glance: HP Chromebook x2|
|screen||11-inch 2160 × 1440 IPS touch screen|
|SHE||Chrome operating system|
|Central processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Computing Platform|
|R.A.M.||4GB LPDDR4x-2133||8GB LPDDR4x-2133|
|storage||64GB eMMC||128 GB eMMC||64GB eMMC|
|GPU||Qualcomm Adreno 618 (integrated)|
|Networking||Qualcomm Atheros 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2×2) WLAN, Bluetooth 5|
|Ports||2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C), 1x microSD card reader|
|size||9.9 x 7 x 0.3 inches (252.5 x 176.8 x 7.6 mm)|
|weight||With keyboard and stand: 1.2 lb; Tablet only: 1 lb|
|Price (RRP)||$ 570||$ 680||$ 600|
|Other perks||HP rechargeable USI pen||4G LTE||HP rechargeable USI pen|
Despite an MSRP of $ 600 to $ 680, depending on the configuration, I’ve seen the HP Chromebook x2 at more reasonable retail prices of $ 370, $ 400, or $ 480. Given the performance, the touchpad that requires a hard surface, and the keyboard cover that feels like a temporary fix, you should wait for this discount.
A little color has never harmed anyone
I appreciate a piece of technology that is not afraid to show color. If you like a typical looking computer, you can get the Chromebook x2 in Shade Gray. But for those who crave more flavor, there is Night Teal.
The computer itself is still silver (with thick black borders); HP is not that brave. What Night Teal gives you is a detachable keyboard and back cover / stand in an exciting, oceanic shade of blue. That blue makes the white font pop on the keyboard and is just dark enough not to look childish – a fine line for any Chromebook.
Powerful magnets secure the back cover on the tablet and help hold the keyboard in place with five-point pogo pins. Attachments required minimal work; The magnets just pull everything right into place.
The back alone is thin, but hard. It didn’t give in when I tried to bend it, except with forceful movements on the designated metal hinge. I still felt safe with the Chromebook tilted back a maximum of 170 degrees so that I could type in my most aggressive manner or mark on the screen with the stylus.
Enlarge / The blue variant is a lot more fun than the gray one.
Thin, detachable keyboards like this are not a long-term solution for hardcore typists, but I was happy with the ease with which the system connected to the keyboard. It reliably awoke from sleep when it was opened and closed, just like a real clam. However, every now and then the on-screen keyboard would not show up when I needed it (however, logging out or restarting always fixed this problem). This could be a bug with Chrome OS, but opting for a detachable device is still a potential downside.
The two accessories are coated with polyurethane, with a beautiful, mildly structured finish. The system itself has the reflective HP logo on the back, which is accompanied by a Chromebook logo and a camera bump. Enlarge / The detachable one weighs a pound without its attachments.
When the stand is installed, the only visible branding comes from the Bang & Olufsen stamp on the left side panel. There are also two USB-C ports with 5 Gbit / s and a microSD card reader, separated by a volume rocker. At first I found it strange that a volume control would interrupt the flow of connections. However, this turned out to be a smart layout as I ended up using the USB-C ports and volume rocker the most. The USB-C ports are as good as it gets for Chromebooks, with USB Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.2 so you can plug in a supporting monitor. Enlarge / All ports are on the right.
There is a WWAN LTE slot on the right side of the screen. Opting for 4G LTE requires both payments to your service provider and the most expensive configuration of the Chromebook x2, which for some reason doesn’t come with a pen (you can buy the pen separately from HP for $ 49). I wish you didn’t have to choose between 4G or a pen.
The computer weighs one pound without the stand and keyboard and 1.2 pounds with the keyboard attached. Keep the stand and keyboard turned on while you drive, as even these parts will expose three sides of the computer’s edges. The machine is made from a piece of CNC machined aluminum and uses Gorilla Glass on the screen to combat scratches so it’s not cheap to make, but it is possible that the power button could be accidentally pressed or the stylus pulled off the side Of the screen.
An 11-inch screen offers a larger playing field than the 10.1-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet or the 10.5-inch Surface Go 3. However, it is not a heavier system. If you’re using the keyboard, the x2 is lighter than the Chromebook Duet (2 pounds). If not, HP’s device weighs as much as the Lenovo and a hair lighter than the Surface Go 3 (1.2 pounds).
The bigger screen means a bigger system, but not much. HP’s Chromebook is 9.9 × 7 × 0.3 inches, Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is 9.6 × 6.3 × 0.3 inches, and Microsoft’s Surface Go 3 is 9.7 × 6.9 × 0 , 3 inches tall.