Evaluation: HP’s Chromebook x2 may persuade me to go all-in on Chrome OS

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Valentina Palladino

As the general public embraces Chrome OS, OEMs have begun to embrace Google’s working system in new methods. Quickly, Chromebooks will not be simply a budget laptops you purchase to your youngsters as a substitute for a dearer macOS or Home windows machine—or for your self as a secondary system. HP’s $599 Chromebook x2 is among the first higher-end Chrome OS units to come back out, to not point out one of many first Chrome OS tablets out there, too.

HP designed the Chromebook x2 to raise the Chrome OS expertise, equally to how Google’s personal Pixelbook handles the OS. The x2 is constructed with premium supplies and full of higher internals than most Chromebooks, making it a great possibility for Chrome OS diehards and lovers. At $599 for the pill plus its keyboard and stylus, the Chromebook x2 is not attempting to be probably the most reasonably priced Chromebook—fairly, it is attempting to attraction to those that need a premium Chromebook that balances model, versatility, and energy.

Feel and appear

Other than Google’s Pixelbook, the Chromebook x2 is probably the most luxurious Chrome OS system I’ve held. The pill’s weightiness struck me as quickly as I took it out of the field, and its metallic edges mixed with ceramic white again end make it a really good-looking system. HP achieved the white shade utilizing the identical anodized electrodeposition methodology utilized in earlier Spectre laptops, displaying that the corporate did not minimize any corners, as an alternative breaking the plastic-clamshell shackles that after restrained Google’s working system.

Specs at a look: HP Chromebook x2 (as reviewed)
12.Three-inch QHD IPS show (235 ppi)
Chrome OS, Android 7.1.1
Intel Core m3-7Y30
Intel HD Graphics 615
802.11b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth four.2
2 USB-C ports, 1 microSD card slot, 1 headphone/mic combo
11.5 x eight.32 x zero.33 inches
1.6 kilos (pill solely), about Three kilos (with keyboard hooked up)
1 12 months
Beginning value
Worth as reviewed
Different perks
Included keyboard and stylus

Not solely is the white end engaging, however it’s supposed so as to add power, sturdiness, and a scratch-resistant layer to the Chromebook x2. I used to be instinctively extra protecting over the Chromebook x2 than different units as a result of I did not wish to sully its pristine end, however it simply withstood minor dings and scratches from unintentional mishandling. The slab feels sturdy in hand, and I appreciated the thick bezels surrounding the 12.Three-inch QHD touchscreen as they make it simpler to grip the system in nearly each means.

Weighing 1.6 kilos, it isn’t the lightest pill, however it’s nonetheless comfortably transportable with and with out its keyboard attachment. It measures eight.2mm thick alone, and simply 15mm thick when hooked up to the keyboard. Its heft comes from each the keyboard and the pill’s internals—we’ll get into the included keyboard within the subsequent part, however the Chromebook x2’s specs mix the requirements for cellular units and PCs alike: an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and ambient gentle sensor, plus a 13MP rear digicam, 5MP front-facing digicam, a Core m3 processor, and a 48Whr battery. The final of the checklist is meant to assist the system final at the least 10 hours on a single cost, so you’ll be able to work for a whole day with out charging up—one thing you’ll be able to’t even try and do with most tablets.

HP employed Bang and Olufsen’s Play audio know-how within the pill’s two front-facing audio system. The tiny slits are barely noticeable on the left and proper bezels, however they pump out loud sound. The pill will not change your most popular residence speaker system (you probably have one), however it’s able to filling a room with respectable audio.

Like most tablets, the Chromebook x2 would not excel within the port division. It has two USB-C ports, one on both aspect of the system (when linked to the keyboard, each ports sit near the hinge), one microSD card slot that may develop the system’s inner storage, and one headphone/mic jack. Chrome OS would not demand many connectivity choices, however some Chromebooks have USB-A ports, DisplayPorts, and HDMI ports. The pill kind calls for sacrifices on this space, so these in search of connectivity versatility should look elsewhere or purchase the suitable adaptors.

The Chromebook x2 is the primary Chrome OS removable to hit the market, and one of many first Chrome OS tablets to come back out. Acer led the best way with its Chromebook Tab 10, an reasonably priced Chrome OS pill meant for college students and faculties. HP’s system is a wholly completely different animal than Acer’s, and that is a great factor.

The marketplace for family-friendly, reasonably priced Chrome OS units—laptops and tablets alike—will proceed to develop, however many firms are carving out an area for premium Chrome OS units. This sector is in its infancy, however it banks on the concept that college students and younger individuals who have grown comfy with Chrome OS will need a extra engaging system once they begin shopping for their very own units.

As the primary consumer-focused Chrome OS pill, the Chromebook x2 units the bar excessive. HP did not comply with the handbook that many OEMs use when crafting a Chromebook, which typically results in the usage of cheaper supplies and uninspired designs. As an alternative, the corporate made a premium pill that simply so occurs to have the specs essential to run Chrome OS fairly effectively. HP may have made this slab a Home windows system and it could have nonetheless been a thoughtfully designed removable.

That being stated, I miss the biometric login choices out there on HP’s Home windows units. I caught myself staring into the webcam’s tiny eye just a few instances upon waking the Chromebook x2, anticipating it to detect my face and instantly log me in. However that is not a function that HP can management, as Chrome OS would not straight assist biometric logins. The work-around for that is out there solely to Android smartphone customers, who can arrange their Chrome OS system to unlock once they use their fingerprint to unlock their smartphones.

Anodized electrodeposition was used to make the ceramic white end on the again of the Chromebook x2.

Valentina Palladino

One of many two USB-C ports on the system sits subsequent to a microSD card slot.

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The second USB-C port sits on the alternative aspect, near the metallic hinge on the included keyboard.

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The 12.Three-inch QHD show helps pen and contact enter.

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Inside is a Core m processor and a 48Whr battery.

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It has a 13MP rear digicam and a 5MP front-facing digicam.

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The Chromebook x2 features a keyboard and stylus for $599.

Valentina Palladino

Keyboard and stylus

The Chromebook x2’s included keyboard is among the heaviest I’ve ever held. That is on account of its metallic again and beefy metallic hinge, which incorporates magnetic nodes and two raised items that slip into holes on the aspect of the pill once you join the system to its accent. The collective weight of the system and its keyboard did not trouble me, as a result of the general design makes it the most effective removable I’ve used when it comes to stability.

The pill would not have a kickstand like many different removable do, so it depends solely on the keyboard to maintain it upright when in laptop computer mode. The keyboard holds the load after which some, conserving the Chromebook x2 regular each on flat surfaces and on my lap. I may even regulate the angle of the display screen when in laptop computer mode with out the whole system collapsing on itself. The metallic contained in the keyboard makes it really feel stable, not like another keyboards that really feel like they’re made out of low cost plastic or cardboard.

Dimension represents the one problem for the Chromebook x2 as an on-the-go laptop computer: the keyboard nearly matches the system’s dimensions, measuring 11.5 x eight inches, so it occupies a small space when sitting in your lap. I needed to maintain my knees shut collectively to make sure the system had simply sufficient room to sit down, however not an excessive amount of room to trigger it to topple over to at least one aspect or the opposite. Nevertheless, that did not cease me from utilizing the Chromebook x2 on my lap—I could not cease doing so as a result of I used to be thrilled to discover a removable that is truly steady sufficient in laptop computer mode.

They keyboard is full-sized and completely wonderful to make use of, as is the trackpad. The latter is, fortunately, not as small as some I’ve seen on keyboard equipment, giving your fingers simply sufficient area to maneuver freely. A pen loop sits on the proper fringe of the keyboard, offering the included stylus with a spot to stay.

The pen and picture modifying

HP’s pen requires a AAAA battery, not like different lively pens that work with no need a cost or battery substitute. In any other case, although, it is a stable lively pen that is simple to make use of due to a design that mimics a daily pen or pencil. It produces little latency throughout Chrome OS, however latency inside apps usually is dependent upon the app itself. I observed little (if any) latency when taking notes within the Squib app, however there was a delay of a few half-second when sketching and coloring within the Painter app.

I loved utilizing the pen when modifying pictures as nicely. I exploit Photoshop to edit product pictures on my MacBook Professional, however due to the advances made in Chrome OS and Android apps, I may edit pictures pretty simply on the Chromebook x2. Plugging my SD card into an adaptor, and the adaptor into one of many system’s USB-C ports, I discovered all of my pictures in Chrome OS’ Recordsdata app. Photoshop Categorical and Pixlr are simply two of the various apps you can use to edit pictures on a Chromebook, and each are fairly competent on the activity even when they can not change Photoshop totally.

The expertise of utilizing Pixlr is that of a cellular app, not a desktop program, which shall be inadequate for photographers. As somebody who takes and edits pictures that complement written work frequently, nonetheless, I may get by utilizing both Pixlr or Photoshop Categorical (As an Adobe consumer, I choose the latter). Utilizing the Chromebook x2’s stylus gave me extra precision when modifying finer particulars in my pictures and I appreciated having the ability to set the system down, flat on my desk, to edit photographs nearly as if I used to be making modifications to a sketch.

Chrome OS’ Recordsdata app is not made for managing a bigger variety of information—you are anticipated to depend on cloud storage when utilizing a Chromebook—so it was irritating to make use of when choosing and organizing the pictures I needed to edit. The interface was clunky to navigate, significantly when sorting by equally named JPEG and NEF/RAW information. If I had been to make use of a Chromebook as my major system, I would wish to use the Recordsdata app as little as doable, doubtless just for selecting the pictures I needed to maintain earlier than transferring them to a cloud storage service or an exterior exhausting drive.

The complete-size keyboard that comes with the Chromebook x2.

Valentina Palladino

The metallic hinge provides bulk, however it additionally stabilizes the pill when it is linked and in laptop computer mode.

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The pill attaches magnetically to the keyboard, and the mechanism is stable and dependable to make use of in lots of conditions.

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The included stylus takes one AAAA battery.

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Our Chromebook x2 assessment unit runs on an Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. HP defined that it selected an Intel chip for this system (fairly than a Qualcomm chip) to get the most effective mixture of efficiency and battery life doable. A tool just like the Chromebook x2 is meant to be a workhorse—as a lot of a workhorse as a Chrome OS may be—permitting the consumer to browse the online with many tabs, stream music and video, and run a number of Android apps with few (if any) hiccups.

I had a wonderful expertise utilizing the Chromebook x2 as my major work system for just a few days: it dealt with my in-browser work (which accounts for many of my workday) nicely, it allowed me to edit a handful of pictures with out an excessive amount of compromise, and I hardly ever skilled any efficiency lag. The Chromebook x2 carried out nicely on our benchmark checks as nicely. It outshined the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 on most checks, and it was even on-par with the Galaxy Tab S4 usually.

Battery life

HP’s Chromebook x2 lasted a median of 736 minutes, or about 12 hours, on our Wi-Fi battery take a look at. It managed to outlive a median of 414 minutes, or about seven hours, on our webGL take a look at. These numbers are spectacular contemplating HP estimated the system will final about 10.5 hours on a single cost. It is price noting that the whole thing of the Chromebook x2’s battery is contained in the pill itself, not shared between it and the keyboard accent. In response to HP, utilizing the keyboard with the Chromebook x2 shouldn’t have an effect on battery life (we ran all of our checks with the keyboard hooked up).

Transfer over, Pixelbook

HP’s Chromebook x2 made me rethink my perception that Chromebooks would peak as secondary units for many working professionals. If I did not have a handful of proprietary packages I wanted to make use of for my work at Ars, I may make the change to a Chromebook extra simply than I assumed. The truth that the Chromebook x2 made me rethink how I work and what’s vital for me to work speaks volumes.

There are a ton of Chromebooks out there now, and extra units that share the Chromebook x2’s premium nature are on the best way. Detachables have a extra focused viewers than convertibles, and a lot of the detachables I’ve tried weren’t steady sufficient for me to make use of comfortably or confidently outdoors the steady confines of my desk. HP’s Chromebook x2 breaks that mould—not solely is it probably the most engaging Chrome OS units you will get (on par with Google’s Pixelbook), however it’s additionally a tool that works simply in addition to a pill because it does as a laptop computer.

The $599 Chromebook x2 is made higher by its included equipment: a stable keyboard and an lively pen that may stay conveniently on the aspect of the keyboard. In contrast to different units like Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Floor, HP would not make customers pay extra to have the laptop computer or handwriting expertise that you just’d count on from a removable.

Chrome OS might not be totally tablet-ready but, however the enhancements are steadily arriving onto the platform. Those that are already conversant in Chrome OS shall be delighted to see the working system develop with them, and having a high-end system just like the Chromebook x2 with which to make use of it should make Chrome OS really feel much less and fewer like a compromise.

The Good

Elegant design.
Keyboard and stylus included in value.
Supportive keyboard that steadily holds up pill in laptop computer mode.
Comfy stylus.
Good efficiency.
Nice battery life.

The Dangerous

On the heavy aspect for a pill.
No biometric login choices.
Stylus takes a AAAA battery.
Graphics efficiency is not the most effective.

The Ugly

4GB of RAM might not be sufficient for energy customers.

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