The HP Chromebook x2 brings Chrome OS goodness in a detachable form factor
HP has long offered Chromebooks right from the Chromebook 14 G1, which was launched in 2015 to the more recent Chromebook x360. This year, at CES, we saw HP launch two more variants — the Chromebook 11 G6 and Chromebook 14 G5. Now, HP has taken wraps off a new device — the Chromebook x2. The Chromebook x2 carries the distinction of being the world's first detachable Chromebook inspired by the likes of the Envy and the Spectre series. HP cites its own research to show that there is significant market interest for a Chromebook device and that additional pen support for Google Play apps makes for an ideal purchase proposition. HP looks to take the iPad Pro head-on and brings out some of the advantages of the Chromebook x2 in terms of features and price.
The standout feature of the Chromebook x2 is its magnetic hinge that while enabling detachment, also provides strength, rigidity, and transformation from clamshell to tablet mode. To the left of the tablet portion you get an USB 3.1 Type-C port that allows for charging and a microSD card slot while on the right there's the 3.5 mm combo jack and another USB 3.1 Type C port that can allow charging as well. The 12.3-inch 2K (2400 x 1600) IPS touch display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and features cutouts for speakers tuned by B&O. The top display bezel features a 5 MP front-facing camera while a 13 MP camera graces the display's back. The island-style detachable keyboard is backlit and comes with a holder for housing the HP Active Pen. Overall, the Chromebook x2 stands out with respect to its design compared to most other Chromebooks in this price range.
The HP Chromebook x2 is powered by the Intel 7th generation Core m3-7Y30 processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 615. The m3-7Y30 is a 4.5W TDP chip that is not too different from the Core i5-7Y57 that powers Google's US$999 Pixelbook convertible, save for lower clock speeds. There is 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM onboard with an option of going up to 8 GB of RAM. Chrome OS does not have very high requirements and we've seen even Celeron-powered Chromebooks perform without much issues. Still, those who multitask will gladly take the higher specs on offer. There is 32 GB eMMC storage inbuilt that can be expanded up to 256 GB via a microSD card. HP also provides 100 GB of Google Drive storage for 2 years along with the Chromebook x2. A 48W battery helps in providing 10.5 hours of battery life, which should cover a typical workday. The Chromebook x2 features all standard tablet sensors and can easily run compatible Android apps and games from the Google Play Store.
For a starting price of US$599.99, the HP Chromebook x2 seems to be a good proposition for those wishing to switch to a completely online workflow. The price is even more enticing considering that the HP Active Pen is bundled with the notebook. HP seems to peg the Chromebook x2 as a viable alternative to the iPad Pro 12-inch that can get much dearer at US$1,067 with keyboard and pen included. But all said and done, Chromebooks are not for everyone. We recommend that you check out our guide to what can be done on a Chromebook before taking the plunge. The HP Chromebook x2 will be available via HP and Best Buy from June 10, 2018.