A few weeks ago, we released a full breakdown of Windows ARM performance, examining how the Snapdragon 835 SoC works when running native UWP applications from the Windows Store and standard x86 programs via emulation.
Today we take a closer look at the first Snapdragon 835 device under Windows: the HP Envy x2. Now that HP has been using this tablet for a few weeks, HP has done many things well to make it a hardware experience that can keep up with the Microsoft Surface. On the other hand, they were probably a little disappointed with the performance of x86 emulation on ARM processors.
The key element of the hardware in the Envy x2 is the Snapdragon SoC. However, HP has installed several other decent components. The display is a 12.3-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD, a decent 41.6 Wh battery and depending on the configuration and region, you get either 4 GB RAM and 128 GB memory or 8 GB RAM and 256 GB memory . You get the 4 GB model in the US, while the 8 GB model is the default in Australia and some other regions.
As with most Windows tablets except the Surface Pro, both a keyboard cover and a pen are included at no extra charge. In the meantime, Microsoft can still charge almost $ 200 more for these important things, which blew me away.
HP's Windows on ARM device is the premium device that has been announced so far. While Asus and Lenovo want to offer mid-range devices, the Envy x2 is at the forefront with a full metal construction and a breathtaking price of $ 1,000.
According to Qualcomm, both HP and Lenovo have chosen to use several elements of Qualcomm's Windows on ARM reference design for their devices. Still, the final build of the Envy x2 is fantastic: it looks great, with metal on all sides and gorilla glass that protects the display. The almost seamless construction gives it a premium touch that you would expect from a high-end tablet.
The Envy x2 is also thin and light for a Windows device, with a thickness of 7.7 mm and a touch under 700 grams. However, this may not be that impressive if you find that the Surface Pro is 8.5 mm thick and around 770 grams, but still integrates a stand into the case, has a full-fledged Intel Core processor and a slightly larger battery .
Still, the Envy x2 feels good and the silver metal design is of a similar quality to the HP flagship laptops like the Specter x360. The display has a sufficient aperture so that the tablet can be held by hand without overloading the screen with an aperture. The 12.3-inch display seems to be a suitable size for this type of tablet, and I like the 16:10 aspect ratio.
The I / O selection on this tablet is pretty narrow with only a USB 3.1 Type C and a headphone jack. It is nice that it is charged via USB-C. However, if you want to charge it and use a peripheral at the same time, you'll need to buy a dongle. Fortunately, HP includes a USB-C to A peripheral adapter.
While you don't have many USB ports on this tablet, you get both a microSD card slot and a nano SIM slot. Thanks to the Snapdragon 835, you get an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem in the Envy x2, so you can insert a SIM card and enjoy connectivity anywhere. I wish more laptops integrated LTE support. With Windows under ARM, you can guarantee that you will get the function.
The keyboard cover is attached to the Envy x2 with magnets and pens, which is nothing unusual. However, since the stand is not integrated into the tablet itself, but rather into the cover, a few steps are required to set up the tablet in the cover than with the simpler kickstand design in surface style. The way the stand folds is a unique setting and allows for a variety of angles. With a standard laptop-style angle, however, this is not as quick and easy as with the surface.
If the stand is attached to the keyboard, you can not only support the tablet alone. If the stand were integrated into the tablet case, the strengths of the Envy x2 as a media consumer device could be further strengthened. Support the tablet, watch a video and enjoy excellent battery life. However, since you need to bring the keyboard with you to use the stand, this type of experience is somewhat limited.
The good news is that the keyboard itself is excellent. It has a great tactile click response, the keys are a decent size to type in, and there's no flexibility in the cover to speak of while a Word document is being smashed. In this regard, it is very similar to the keyboards of HP's full-fledged laptops. The trackpad is also pretty good and works well considering the limited space.
HP also did well with the display. The 12.3-inch 1920 x 1200 LCD is nothing special from a technical point of view, but its performance has exceeded my expectations. It offers a high brightness of around 500 nits as well as a decent contrast ratio of 1415: 1 and excellent viewing angles. It has a content-aware automatic brightness function, but is not too aggressive and helps save energy wherever possible.
The key aspect that impressed me is calibration. Delta It in the range 2.4 to 2.8 is not quite "very accurate", but is much better than many other Windows laptops and should be enough for those who want to create light content – or rather on a slow one Device – view photos. An average temperature of around 7000 K is not surprising, but not terrible.