back to article Review: HP ENVY x2 Windows 8 convertible

The flourishing market for tablet computers has left people wanting more. Those using tablets at work invariably end up buying a keyboard and regularly curse the limitations of a mobile operating system. Those using a Windows laptop at work often wish they could occasionally dispense with the keyboard for convenient touchscreen …


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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

    ... it's got a 16:9 screen. Again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

      and it's got Windows 8...

      Surely a reason not to buy one....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

        because Win7 on a touchscreen is SO FREAKIN AWESOME.

        troll detected

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

        and it's got Windows 8...

        Surely a reason not to buy one...

        Oh shut up, have you even used it on a touchscreen device? No. Then crawl back under the bridge

        1. Danny 5
          Thumb Up

          Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

          I've been using my Lumia 900 for a while now and love it. I also worked with the 920 for a little while and that too is a great device. so far windows 8 has been quite impressive to me as a portable OS, so i don't really get all the hate. I do have trouble with it when i use windows 8 on a conventional desktop, but i'm pretty sure i'll get used to that soon enough as well.

          Having said that, i bash Apple just as religiously as others are bashing Microsoft, so i'm probably not the best person to comment.

        2. Alan Edwards

          Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

          > Oh shut up, have you even used it on a touchscreen device?

          No, but I reckon it would be good. But that's the only place it is any good.

          I needed to reinstall Windows on my (non-touch) desktop, so I thought I might as well give Win 8 a try. It lasted 2 days before I put Win 7 on again.

          The tile start screen is pointless - unless you're using a built-in app it just throws you back to the desktop, you end up wanging the mouse from corner to corner, you can't get to the 'minimise all' button in the bottom right without displaying the charms whatsit, Shutdown is buried in the menus, they've ripped the Aero Glass stuff out, and you have to buy a $5 piece of software (Stardock Start8) to put the menu back where it should never have been taken out.

          Oh, and the Bluetooth doesn't work on a Dell XPS-8100, the driver install crashes.

          It's probably slightly quicker because of the lack of Aero Glass, but I like a little bit of prettiness. I might turn the fade transitions off though.

          As an iPad-on-steroids, just using the built-in IE, mail, messaging etc., it would be brilliant. As a machine to do work on, even with touch, I'm not sure it would work unless you ignore the Start screen Without touch it's a dead loss, IMO.

          Roll on Windows 9...

    2. Dave 126

      Re: Tempting for those of us who also want to get work done, but...

      >... it's got a 16:9 screen. Again.

      I'm normally first to knock the 16:9 ratio, but at least with a tablet you can rotate it through 90º so that reading websites etc is less of a hassle. (Though obviously you can't do that with this device when it is in 'laptop' mode.)

  2. jason 7

    Not bad...but.....

    ...the price for the performance is a bit high. £100 cheaper might be better.

    Plus not being able to charge the tablet part on its own? So you still have to lug around the base if you are going anywhere for a while.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Not bad...but.....

      a bit high?

      This is a netbook (think £300) with an extra battery and detachable keyboard. It has woeful amount of RAM and storage

      The price is absurd.

      1. Shagbag

        Priced to Fail


        "From a pure Ultrabook perspective, this seems very limited indeed. But viewed as a tablet computer... the ENVY x2 is extraordinary."

        If only for its price.

  3. Himalayaman

    Wow I like this.

    BTW 16:9 screen are great for tablets. I love the aspect ratio.

  4. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    I entered the competition.

    But if I won it, though, I'd sell it. I mean, seriously - it's an overpriced tablet with a docking station. Sell it, buy a nice tablet (if that's what you want), spend the rest on a real laptop, get on with life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Waste of money and a fart-knocker processor. Yep you can get a nice speedy W7 (W8 crap) laptop with a decent size screen and a very good Android or IOS tablet.

  5. Nick Roberts

    An £800 tablet? Really?

    Or an £800 Atom-powered Ultrabook? Really?

    The problem with this seems to be the £800...

    1. qwarty

      Yeah, seems pricy for a low performance model, especially with Microsofts Surface Pro with Core i5 etc. coming soon. A detailed spec. comparison with MBA etc. would be helpful, not a very useful review.

      I like the convertible concept but looks like its a wait and see unless HP and others can do better than this price/performance compromise.

  6. JustNiz


    Not interested until it runs something other than Windows 8.

  7. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    "Despite its size, the display presents a conventional Ultrabook resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels"

    Or translated: Yet another shit resolution laptop / notebook / ultrabook.

    Aside from that, as most of the processing gubbins and a good chunk of the battery if not all of it must be mounted behind the display, how does effect the thing's centre of gravity when in use as a laptop?

    I'd hope that the keyboard base would have batteries in it as well, as that's a good opportunity to add them rather than running the keyboard as a glorified docking station, but even with that there should be a lot of weight in the screen compared to the base of a more traditional device and when used on a lap or perched in other more precarious locations, they're not likely to be held perfectly flat.

    1. Lamont Cranston


      When the battery began running low, I simply re-attached it to the keyboard base - which contains its own battery - and continued working.

    2. Nick Roberts

      Can't speak for this one, but my wife uses an original Asus Transformer which is a tablet with a keyboard which also has a second battery - the engineering is excellent and the thing stays where it's put, so there's no reason why this shouldn't. And has to be better than the Dell laptop I'm typing this on, which has today replaced a similar model whose screen cracked just by me opening it up for use...

  8. M. B.

    Decent idea but lean on spec...

    That screen is garbage and that CPU is no monster. More RAM and storage needed to be a real all-in-one. Hopefully this is just their first kick at the can, it's on the right track but not what I was really hoping for, certainly not at that price.

    1. qwarty

      Re: Decent idea but lean on spec...

      Can't believe I'm defending a 768 display but IPS at 11" is not garbage as it would be on a 14/15" notebook. CPU is definitely underpowered although its a trade for people unlike you or me who won't sacrifice that much to bump the battery life. Agreed on the right track just not there yet for many of us.

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Decent idea but lean on spec...

        Given the Nexus 10 has a 2560x1600 in a 10.1" unit at less than half the price of this thing, there is no defence,

        1. hazydave

          Re: Decent idea but lean on spec...

          The Nexus 10 CPU cores are also faster. Not sure about the graphics.

          The only reason for the Z2760 is Windows -- it's sold at an ARM price, performs a little better than a dual core A9, but runs real Windows.

          The chip in here is meant to deliver Intel tablets at ARM prices, with ARM battery life and ARM performance. It's not supposed to be in $800 devices. This is meant to match a Microsoft Surface RT type system on price and battery life, but also run real Windows (and yeah, about as well as any other netbook). HP's overpriced it, but the basic idea is a smart move for Intel, and only applicable to the Windows mobile market.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh no, Apple Envy

    The fruity lads that just bought our offices say you don't need no Ethernet connector, so we'd better not include one of them.

    Can't wait till they do this concept with a proper spec laptop. My EliteBook8740w done like this might work out heavy, but would be a good working spec (*)

    (* no point going for the replacement 8760, they only come in lores spec)

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Oh no, Apple Envy

      Yes, I don't understand it. If you happen to have a wireless g network, HD streaming can feel a bit laggy.

      Even 100mb/s would have been nice.

      This is designed for connectivity, consumption and data-entry, not data processing. My question is, if it runs Win8 x86, what happens to the atom cpu when the AV software kicks in?

  10. Troy Peterson


    I've been looking for something like this... I agree the price is a little high... but I want a tablet / laptop combo (I've been considering the Asus Tranformer Prime). The CPU is a little weak, but enough for my purposes.... But, for me it has to run a proper distro of Linux (Mint). I use only Linux on my PC's and haven't touched Windows at all since about 2008. I want to use it for on-the-go Linux C++ and Java development and I need to run my Linux apps...

    So the question is... Will this thing work with Linux? Touchscreen support in Linux is iffy at the moment.... but that aside would I be able to install Mint on this? With these new Windows 8 machines I'm mostly concerned about the boot loader being locked down somehow. I don't know anything about how Windows 8 machines operate, but I remember reading something about the new machines encrypting the bios and only running signed software. Is this the case?



    1. Dave 126

      Re: Linux?

      Though this fellow didn't try Linux, he did try to USB-boot some recovery environments- unsuccessfully:

      Even if you can get past that hurdle, Intel don't want you to run Linux on this CPU:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux?

        The blog is interesting and puts me completely off one of these, not just the crap Linux support & boot loader issues, but the generally crap Windows aspect as well. Are they really 32-bit CPUs? Might explain the minimal RAM it comes with for a non-trivial price tag.

        1. Alan Edwards

          Re: Linux?

          > Are they really 32-bit CPUs?

          Yes! How odd. Explains the rubbish 2Gb RAM though, the most you could ever have is 3Gb. No VT-x virtualisation tech either.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, no we aren't

    "Mobile music lovers will be pleased to hear that the ENVY x2 utilises Beats Audio™ technology to boost audio performance."


    Mobile music lovers will be horrified to hear that the ENVY x2 utilises vastly overpriced, poor quality Beats Audio™ technology to deliver poor audio performance whilst accounting for probably around a quarter of the price.


    No wonder the thing is so damn expensive.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Oh, no we aren't

      Here's the problem for laptop makers: It is hard to express the audio volume/quality of a device with numbers, as you would a screen, CPU or HDD. Either you build a reputation over a few years ("Blogs Brand Laptops always have better than average audio quality") or you buy in a badge, such as Apple used to do with Harmon Kardon on their iMac, or Asus did with B&O (who, though having an Applesque reputation for their Hi-Fi, are actually Class-D amplification pioneers). HP's use of the Beats brand is just the same. The other strategies would include the Bose model ("No-risk home trial!"), and persuading retailers to demonstrate your product in-store.

      (Beats Audio is overpriced, and I heard on the radio the other day that Dr Dre has half of the world's multi-billion dollar headphone market -presumably by profit, not volume of sales.)

  12. Pat 4


    "oh, and it runs Windows 8"

    And that is a positive how? Exactly?

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    For £800 I can get a good quality laptop AND a good quality 10" tablet (Galaxy Note, iPad).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Asus Transformer

    I'll stick with the Asus Transformer, which

    - was / is half the price (probably more now)

    - has a similar tablet-to-keyboard lock mechanism, with extra batteries in the keyboard

    - can be charged independently of the keyboard

    - runs Android

    - isn't HP. My Touchpad was a nice piece of kit, but unfortunately it failed to boot or charge just after the warranty. Same with my HP Printer. Decided that it didn't like it's ink cartridges anymore. Despite only colour affected, wouldn't print in B+W and wouldn't even allow me to scan anything. Will never buy HP kit again.

  15. Jason Hindle

    Well, it's a long time since I last looked at a Windows laptop

    And thought "I want one of those". Pity the storage is a bit on the low side. And I see no Thunderbolt? Thunderbolt would have been useful, especially now Belkin are threatening to actually produce some Thunderbolt Docks at their new Rocking Horse Shit plant.

  16. Justin Stringfellow

    it's called ENVY because

    I ENVY the FOOL who has £800 quid for this thing.

    ....Hang on that's wrong.....

    I PITY the FOOL who has £800 to waste on this thing.

    1366 x 768? Seriously?

  17. Sampler

    I was hoping for something to replace my aging TX2050 - this looks the part but the CPU & Storage aren't worth the price tag. Plus I'm still not keen on Windows 8 (and for all those who say "have you used it on a touch device", yes, I used it on the TX2050), can always roll back to 7 I guess (driver dependent).

    1. Dave 126

      You might want to double-check that you can roll back to Win 7 before laying down any money. Intel say its CPU "is a Windows 8 chip".

  18. Prof Denzil Dexter

    in what way is this ultra?

    Shitty cpu (atom, serious!?)

    Shitty memory

    shitty screen res

    shitty price

    shitty port availability

    must do better

    ultra seems to just mean SSD now. i'm gonna fish out my Pentium2, whack in a £40 SSD and sell it as an ultra.

  19. calumg

    Atom for £800? Seriously?!

    Perhaps the latest generations of Atoms are fast, who knows, but all I remember is Steve Balmer holding up an Atom netbook and lying about how well Win7 ran on it. I have personally experienced the hell which is trying to use Win7 on an N270 with 2GB of RAM, and would need a lot of convincing to try it again.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Atom for £800? Seriously?!

      I think Tomshardware recently tested some speedier Atoms, and expressed surprise that Intel would continue to use a the 'Atom' brand, since it had such poor connotations. I think this is a 32bit chip, though.

      If you do find yourself interested in a device with an Atom CPU, it might be worth spending 5 minutes tracking down some benchmarks for the specific chip. Who knows.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Atom for £800? Seriously?!

        Atom in a tablet is forgivable, atom in an £800 tablet+keyboard is not.

        Someone needs to step up and give details of exactly why these things are so expensive, or the public are just going to shun them.

        At the moment, it feels like the answer is "the market has nose-dived so we want to charge more for stuff to make up the numbers." That doesn't cut it.

    2. Alan Edwards

      Re: Atom for £800? Seriously?!

      They're better now. I have an Atom D2700 in a Lenovo Q180 I use as a media player - never struggles for CPU. I suspect the Radeon graphics is doing the heavy lifting, but the CPU never gets over 5% playing 720p in Plex.

      I've used Windows 7 on a VIA C7 (HP 2133), it's OK once it gets going, but that takes a while and it's never what you'd call snappy. Win 7 on a VIA Nano (Samsung NC-20) was surprisingly good though. On the Z2760 it should be OK, but an entry-level i3 would kick it's arse.

      2Gb RAM is barely enough for XP these days...

  20. hazydave

    Nope, not an Ultrabook

    Intel's "Ultrabook" concept is, more or less, the Apple MacBook Air. Basically, you start with a mid-range laptop. Toss out a bunch of stuff (optical drive, HDD, most of the ports), make it thin, then double the price.

    If you apply that formula to a Netbook, and make the keyboard module detachable, ala Asus Transformer, the HP Envy x2 is exactly what you get. And given that the Atom in this bad-boy is priced aggressively against the various ARM chips, this would actually make a fair Windows RT killer. But HP doesn't seem to believe that people can actually read spec sheets or something, because there's no way anyone would accept such as system as a "convertible" Ultrabook.

    For some context, the Atom CPU in here, the Z2760, is fairly close in performance to most other Atoms, and as well, to ARM Cortex A9 systems. Ok, the CPU itself is slightly faster than an A9, less than 10% difference on most benchmarks. It does the hyperthreading thing (which older Atoms didn't), which sometimes boosts performance, and sometimes doesn't -- but you can find either faster ARMs (A15, Krait) in dual core or something close (A9) in quad core for much less. Only, on Windows, x86 has a big advantage... so this still makes sense against the Windows RT machines. Asus and some others are selling Z2760 systems at or below the prices going for RT systems. The one big win here, particularly against the Surface RT and some of the others, is memory speed. Many of the ARM chips out support dual 32-bit bus DDR2 memory systems. The Tegra 3 supports DDR3, but only on a single 32-bit bus. The Z2760 supports dual 64-bit DDR3 memory buses. So when memory is your limiting factor, this doesn't suck.

    Bottom line is that these will run Windows Metro as well as the Surface machines will, and when that's the same price, you don't want the RT machine. But they're going to handle full Windows about as well as any other Netbook... some applications will be fine, and some will not run at even close to useful speeds.

    1. slightly-pedantic

      First hand experience of the Z2760

      FWIW I have one of the samsung convertibles using this processor and can relate how it actually performs.

      For normal office-type stuff including multiple chrome tabs, skype, MS Office etc. it runs fine, it also copes OK with basic photo stuff (GIMP) and even seems OK with very basic video editing with MS Live Essentials.

      It sucks at any type of 3d game: for instance World of Tanks runs at 3-5 fps even in lowest graphics settings. The only playable 3d game I've found so far is the original counterstrike.

      However, battery life is brilliant- 10 hours of real-world usage on mixed office activities.

      I remember a former Intel exec bragging about how successful ATOM had been in allowing netbooks to exist without ever being sufficiently successful to impact much on the main processor lines- I think the added RAM, wider bus, hyperthreading means that now this processor is "good-enough" for most everyday PC use.

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