Our Early Verdict

The new Envy x2 runs smoothly and quietly thanks to Intel's Core M processor. Unfortunately everything above the hood left much to be desired. When my favorite aspect of your hybrid is its alternative detachable keyboard, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

For

  • Speed
  • Quiet
  • Gorgeous detachable leather keyboard

Against

  • Size and weight
  • Poor display
  • No back camera
  • Awful speakers

When we reviewed the original HP Envy x2 more than a year and a half ago we were awed by the hybrid laptop/tablet's industrial design and incredible power. We felt it was a bit awkward to hold and manipulate, and we thought a smaller form factor might benefit the user. Our reviewer at the time said the product would "improve over time" and move the hybrid computing industry forward.

Since that review posted, Intel launched its slim, speedy and self-cooling Core M Broadwell processor, which is currently revolutionizing the laptop, tablet and hybrid markets by enabling manufacturers to run fast machines fanless and relatively noiseless. Most of the elite devices hitting the market, such as the Dell Venue 11 Pro 1740 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, feature Core M processors.

HP's updated Envy x2 ($1049.99, £670, AU$1200), which is generally available, combines the same computing power of the previous iteration with Core M technology. Unfortunately, the same flaws we noticed in the previous Envy x2 have found their way onto the new Windows 8.1-powered device as well.

Design

The first thing you'll notice about the Envy x2 reboot is its overhauled design. Whereas last year's iteration featured a plastic chassis with a black front and a silver back that was eerily similar to the original iPad, the new Envy x2 aims for a more unique, albeit less-pleasing design.

The tablet's chassis is metallic silver with dual, front-facing Beats-powered speakers that line both sides of the 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch full HD LED backlit 1920 x 1080 touchscreen displays (I conducted this review with the standard 13.3-inch model).

A full HD widescreen webcam sits at the top of the display. The chassis is supported by a horizontal kickstand that was sturdy, but stiff. Your device won't topple over when you set it up to watch old West Wing episodes on Netflix, but you'll have to grapple with the device to get the kickstand open.

HP Envy x2 review

(Photo credit: Kevin Lee)

HP decided to get rid of the rear-facing 8.0MP flash-capable camera. We thought the back camera on the previous Envy x2 took good quality stills and video. Now it's gone. I suppose HP felt the pin-hole for the additional camera ruined the ruggedized aesthetic of the full metal bottom. This is a huge loss.

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