HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2

HP’s ver­sa­tile con­vert­ible flexes its ag­ile form

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB -

WHEN IS A LAP­TOP not a lap­top? When it’s a con­vert­ible. It’s not a great joke, and it isn’t much of a dif­fer­en­tia­tor in real terms ei­ther, but it’s enough for HP to take on the road. While you can achieve some clev­er­ness thanks to the ex­tra flex­i­bil­ity of the screen hinge, you’ll ei­ther use it as a lap­top or as a tablet (on steroids). HP claims it ac­tu­ally has five modes, with “pre­sen­ta­tion,” “me­dia,” and “con­fer­ence” round­ing things out, but you’ll rarely (i.e. never) use these, even in an of­fice en­vi­ron­ment. Don’t com­pletely dis­miss its overly ath­letic flex­i­bil­ity, though, be­cause there’s a lot to love in this svelte and ver­sa­tile sys­tem.

Just to re­turn to the con­vert­ible con­cept a sec­ond, they’re pretty hard to sell, so we’ll for­give HP its hy­per­bole of the EliteBook’s five modes. Es­sen­tially, though: Take a stan­dard lap­top, pop a fully ro­tat­able hinge on it, and a touch­screen dis­play, add a smat­ter­ing of screen-ori­ent­ing tech, and you end up with a ma­chine that can work in mul­ti­ple ways. They’re quite fun to use, es­pe­cially when they’re as light as this, and as pleas­ing to hold. You can do far more than with a nor­mal tablet, with the op­tion of us­ing it in more ways than a typ­i­cal lap­top. There’s an­other cun­ning in­clu­sion here, that re­ally brought the ma­chine into its own: The HP Ac­tive Pen may set you back an­other $60, but we see it as a ne­ces­sity for any­one look­ing to make the most of the ma­chine. There’s noth­ing to stop you us­ing your fin­ger, but when it comes to tak­ing notes and draw­ing an­no­ta­tions, the pen makes for a much more nat­u­ral choice. Flip­ping the screen all the way around and turn­ing the ma­chine into a tablet gen­uinely makes sense when you reach for the pen. The fact it can be clipped to the side of the ma­chine for easy ac­cess makes it a trou­ble-free ac­ces­sory to keep with you. ALL WORK AND NO PLAY While we have been won over by the form fac­tor, the same can’t quite be said for the in­ter­nal com­po­nent se­lec­tion. We are unashamed per­for­mance junkies here on Max­i­mumPC, so any­thing less than a real Core i7 has us wary (es­pe­cially at this price). The fact that this uses a “Core i5-7300U”— which, it turns out, is more like a Core i3 (as in it has only two cores and four threads)— means it has a tough job of win­ning us over. We were mo­men­tar­ily hope­ful about the M.2 SSD, but our bench­marks proved that this wasn’t any­thing to get too ex­cited about ei­ther. Raw per­for­mance isn’t its forte. This is unashamedly a work ma­chine, so you’ll search in vain for any­thing ap­proach­ing de­cent gam­ing per­for­mance ( we’re not go­ing to mark down a work ma­chine for this, though).

There are a cou­ple of coun­ters that ex­plain this com­po­nent se­lec­tion. First, the svelte­ness of the ma­chine cer­tainly helps win us back on side—it’s a shade un­der 15mm and weighs un­der 3lb. The low­power na­ture of the com­po­nents means it doesn’t get too hot ei­ther, so even at full load, it doesn’t need ex­ces­sive cool­ing. You can tell when it’s work­ing that lit­tle bit harder, but it never makes a nui­sance of it­self due to overzeal­ous fans. It’s worth not­ing that you have a cou­ple of USB Type-A slots to plug things into, too, which means you don’t have to carry around a star­tling ar­ray of con­ver­tors.

Where the EliteBook x360 re­ally ex­cels, though, is in the stamina stakes. It will quite hap­pily stick with you through a whole day of work, and it’ll still be go­ing strong long into the evening. We clocked in at around 13 hours play­ing back HD movies. Not bad go­ing by any­one’s stan­dard. This, cou­pled with the thin and light na­ture of the ma­chine, makes for a great travel com­pan­ion, even if it doesn’t quite scream the kind of raw power that we’re used to see­ing here on Max­i­mumPC.

HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2

DAN­GER­OUS Awe­some bat­tery life; gen­uinely thin and light; qual­ity screen; good con­nec­tion op­tions.

HARMLESS Weak CPU; unin­spir­ing SSD per­for­mance; pricey.

$1,679, www.hp.com

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