HP Pavilion x360 review

Is this the flexible, low-cost hybrid we've been waiting for?

HP X360

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Hybrid laptop/tablets like the HP Pavilion x360 are starting to hit a groove. You've got higher-end features in the Dell XPS 11, business-like value in the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11, the purely budget-focused Acer Aspire Switch 10 and, in the Pavilion x360 itself, a very cheap and cheerful home device.

Despite the range starting to thrive, though, the word "compromises" seems to come up a lot in our reviews of these machines, and it has its place here, too. The Pavilion x360 has a lovely design, a tantalising price and great usability, but there's a lot that frustrates.

We liked

The red, silver and black design is great, and the build quality appears to be very high, too – much better than most similarly priced laptops.

The usability is also really impressive – between the comfortable keyboard, slick trackpad and responsive touchscreen, the frustration won't come from not being able to control the x360 properly.

And the price is good – if you do end up deciding to buy the Pavilion x360, we're sure that will be a big factor, and it is rare to get a laptop as smart and as usable for well under £400.

We disliked

The lack of power for applications is severe, and a bit disappointing on its own, but with the slow hard drive too, it can simply be frustrating to use for long periods of time. For very light use, it is generally capable enough – but never better than that.

The screen is fine for resolution, but slightly disappointing in terms of viewing angles and overall quality – and this is an area you can't skimp on if you really want people to use it as a tablet. The same goes for battery life – Lenovo got it right, but HP has fallen short of what we'd hope for.

The fact of the matter is that it simply isn't that great a tablet – ergonomically, it's far from ideal, and it's so much heftier and thicker than an iPad Air or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Final verdict

Somewhat inevitably, the hybrid nature of the Pavilion x360 leads to its undoing. It's underpowered compared to similarly priced laptops, and lacks the responsiveness and lightness of dedicated tablets. It doesn't do a great job of being a truly compelling example of either of these things.

But its usability, attractive and sturdy design, along with the impressive price tag mean that it shouldn't be completely dismissed – especially if you really want a machine that offers both laptop and tablet use modes. We'd still point you in the direction of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11, though.