HP Elite x2 1012 G1
ANOTHER HP 2-IN-1 THAT HEWS VERY-CLOSELY TO THE SURFACE BLUEPRINT.
IF IMITATION IS the sincerest form of flattery, then HP must really love Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets. The Elite x2 is its second stab at putting together a Surface Pro clone, and it looks a lot like a premium version of that forebear — the Spectre x2. HP has a fairly wide selection of 2-in-1s in its portable lineup, and both this Elite x2 and the aforementioned Spectre veer more towards the ‘tablet’ end of the 2-in-1 spectrum — and even with just a glance at either, it’s clear that HP has been working very closely from Microsoft’s Surface playbook.
These are both 12-inch metallic unibody slates that include a fold-out kickstand in the back, stylus for writing and drawing and a detachable keyboard-cover that helps protect the screen when closed or turns it into a near-full laptop when unfolded.
But while the Spectre x2 was looking to undercut the Surface Pro 4, the Elite actually looks like it’s trying to match it — and it’s certainly well-crafted. The general buildquality and sturdiness of this 2-in-1 are hard to deny, both on the tablet itself and the keyboard-cover.
If the Elite does have one main drawback, it’s the size. It has a slightly bigger footprint — an extra centimetre to the Surface Pro 4’s sides, coming in at 300 x 214mm (which is mostly just extra bezel) — but more critically, it’s an extra 60% thicker, at 13.4mm vs the Surface’s sleek 8mm.
The Elite’s also heavier, at 840g versus 785g of the Surface. That all adds up to make a device that’s, frankly, just a tiny but too big and unwieldy to use as a one-handed tablet, unless you’re cradling it like a baby.
That bigger size does have some payoffs, however. It manages to squeeze in a lot of ports, including a full-size USB 3.0 port, a Type-C USB 3.1 socket (which also doubles as the charging port) and a microSD slot for expanding storage.
The keyboard in the cover is nice and large, too: it’s almost as wide as you’ll get on a 13-inch laptop (just a centimetre short of our MacBook Air’s keyboard) and the trackpad is big enough that it doesn’t feel cramped — although in testing, our review unit was a bit oversensitive to taps and we often found that we’d accidentally brush against it and send the cursor flying.
The display is mostly faultless, too — a bright and clear 12-inch IPS LCD using a 16:10 aspect ratio and coming in at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,280. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 4 — the same as what’s used on modern flagship smartphones.
Having a fairly frugal Core M processor (our review unit had the midrange m5-6Y57), the Elite’s general performance is more than adequate for basic computing and a little multimedia work, but push it too hard (like trying 4K video editing) and it will choke.
We were also a little disappointed with battery life: despite that Core M chip, it only managed around four hours for productivity tasks. While that’s about on par with the Surface Pro 4, it’s a full hour shy of the Spectre x2.
It’s a bit of a mixed result, overall, then. The bigger keyboard, handy variety of ports and solid build quality are all pros, but when you can have a higher-end Core i5 Surface Pro 4 for less than $100 more, HP needs to do better on price... or at least up the specs to match.
HAVING A FAIRLY FRUGAL CORE M PROCESSOR (OUR REVIEW UNIT HAD THE MIDRANGE M5-6Y57), THE ELITE’S GENERAL PERFORMANCE IS MORE THAN ADEQUATE FOR BASIC COMPUTING AND A LITTLE MULTIMEDIA WORK, BUT PUSH IT TOO HARD (LIKE TRYING 4K VIDEO EDITING) AND IT WILL CHOKE.
HP ELITE X2 1012 G1 $2,100 www.hp.com/au CRITICAL SPECS Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 12-inch IPS LCD @ 1,920 x 1,280-pixels; Intel Core m5-6Y57 CPU; Intel HD Graphics 515; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD; detachable keyboard cover; 840g sans cover; 1.22kg with cover.