There’s some good news for those interested in bagging an ARM-powered Windows 10 laptop, as HP has announced that its Envy x2 convertible is now up for pre-order in the US and will ship on March 9. But, the not-so-great news is that it will set you back a rather eye-watering $1,000 (around £715, AU$1,280).
For that outlay, you get a 2-in-1 laptop (with bundled stylus) built around a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip – bringing with it LTE connectivity for getting online when out and about – with 4GB of system memory and 128GB of storage.
Aside from LTE, you also get battery life in spades – with a promised 20-hour longevity – but this seems like a lot of money to pay for a convertible when you consider some of the limitations the use of the Qualcomm processor entails. And perhaps more to the point, the price of the rival Windows 10 on ARM hybrid from Asus.
The Asus NovaGo starts at $599 (around £430, AU$770) – also with 4GB of RAM, although half the storage at 64GB – a far more attractive price point.
Now admittedly, as we noted in our first look at the HP Envy x2, it is incredibly svelte – the tablet portion is 6.9mm thin, in fact – and benefits from an impressively premium design, but it seems like you really pay for that privilege.
The other potential bugbear for some folks, as mentioned, is the limitations of running Windows 10 on ARM.
The Envy x2 comes with Windows 10 S, which obviously has restrictions of its own – in terms of only supporting apps from the Microsoft Store – although it can be upgraded to full-fat Windows 10 Pro.
However, even making that upgrade won’t get you around some of the limitations of having Windows 10 on an ARM chip, like the inability to run 64-bit apps (at least initially – although that may change in the future).
Microsoft clarified some further restrictions in an online document published last weekend, which it later rather unceremoniously yanked down. Those include the fact that it’s not possible to run virtual machines using Hyper-V on an ARM device, and perhaps more worryingly the potential for some apps to behave wonkily.
Of course, we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve had a chance to properly review HP’s new ARM-powered convertible, but our gut reaction is that the price is a big ask.
Yes, this may be a premium Windows 10 on ARM convertible notebook, but then Microsoft’s Surface Pro is a premium 2-in-1 as well, and it starts at $799 or £799/AU$1,199.
That said, you don’t get the keyboard or bundled stylus with Microsoft’s hybrid, as you do with the Envy, and of course neither is LTE provided with the vanilla Surface Pro.
But then it’s arguable that the users who really need high-quality mobile broadband are a limited target audience, at least right now, and perhaps therein lies the problem. HP is carving itself into an increasingly small niche with this machine when you also consider this, plus the aforementioned ARM limitations, on top of the price.
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