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Hands-on review: HP Elite X2 1011 G1 Hybrid Tablet Laptop
Fri, 19th Jun 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

HP has come out with a two piece laptop, providing both tablet and laptop features in a small form factor. It's built like it should be bulletproof, with its military grade rigidity ensuring its business proof. It's secret weapon is SkunkWorks worthy...

The Elite X2 has two batteries, one in the screen/tablet component and one in the keyboard base. This creates both size and weight and means it has a decent battery life, but putting it up against the new Macbook (which has the same Core M processor).

However, there's a definite difference in weight and comfort, with the HP device feeling like a previous generation device. The Elite X2 is tough though, with it being built to military specifications for durability.

The tablet capability works well for the Elite, and it comes with a small stylus, enabling writing capabilities in OneNote and Office.

The stylus is very usable - it works well with the screen and feels natural to use. Unlike the Surface Pro 3, this stylus can be slotted into the body, meaning you're unlikely to lose it.

It definitely feels more rugged then the Surface Pro 3, and I'd be more confident lugging it around. Doing a search on eBay shows the fragility of Surface Pro 3's screen, as beautiful as it may be.

The Elite X11 is undoubtedly meant as a portable connected device. It comes with a micro-SD and a sim card slot, both of which are supported by the HP Global WiFi, giving you free access to iPass' global WiFi network for two years.

This means that the Elite X2 has a massive advantage over its competitors, especially in the Asia Pacific region, with iPass having presence in 120 countries and over 15 million WiFi hotspots.

There has been some feedback that the device is sluggish but I haven't experienced this. Although this is an ultra-portable, the Core M CPU is not designed for heavy-duty computing.

The same complaints came out about the Macbook, but it's more about having a different type of device for the customers. Try taxing a Surface Pro 3 with its i5 and watch the throttling. We will find that developers will adjust their software to get the best out of the Core M, as they adapt to the limitations of the chip.

The two batteries give the Elite X2 a run-life of about 8 hours when the power keyboard was attached, and about half that in just tablet mode. Again, similar life to the Surface Pro 3 (in real life).

HP offer their usual high security for this laptop hybrid, including fingerprint login, smartcard slot, and HP's Client Security setup. No-one seems to have got the fingerprint reader down like Apple, and this is no different. I did give up on using it after a few hours.

It may be due to us having an early model, but enabling drive encryption meant that the computer wouldn't boot, saying 'no bootable image found, notebook will be shut down'. Going through the BIOS allowed me to boot the operating system (press Esc, then press F10 and choose Operating System). It would be advisable to not enable drive encryption until HP  push out an update.

The test unit came with a travel keyboard - it was similar to that of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and equally as usable. So, if you don't want the added heft, the travel keyboard is ideal.

But the biggest and best add-on to the Elite X2 was tucked away anonymously at the bottom of the box.

It's a black anonymous cube with a bunch of ports, that's a glimpse of the future, and one I can't wait for.

HP have created a WiDi wireless dock. This is part of the features of the new Core M processor and motherboard combination, and one that'll find its way into the market very quickly. Essentially, you connect all of your cables, screens and devices to the dock, then when you bring the HP Elite X2 within a metre or so, it connects to the dock with full speed connectivity and display. I could not believe the lack of lag, and the simplicity of this system. To be able to put the laptop down on the desk, and just sit down and continue working is amazing. It's like Apple's Handover, just on the same device!

Everyone I showed it to was amazed and enthusiastic for it, we're all used to plugging our laptop into a docking station, or attaching the 101 plugs and bits, having to do the reverse when you wanted to leave.

The Elite X2 showed the wireless dock off amazingly, and with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB or 256GB SSD it has enough grunt to do the normal office work, and the wireless dock means you won't realise you're working on a laptop at your desk as your normal peripherals work.

The HP Elite X2 1011 G1 Hybrid Tablet laptop is an interesting computer, with a definite decision to sacrifice weight for durability, which will inspire confidence from business users.

They have made a very smart decision creating the market of actually useful peripherals for it, ensuring that it'll find a home in a number of offices.

Apart from the Drive encryption issue, which is a simple software fix, I can recommend the X2 for those who want that ability to go from desktop to laptop to tablet without using a multitude of devices.