HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2
HP’s versatile convertible flexes its agile form
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.