HP Chromebook x2 11 Assessment: A Chrome-Based mostly iPad Competitor?

HP Chromebook x2 11

RRP $ 599.00

"The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a well-built detachable tablet with an excellent display and sufficient productivity performance and battery life."

advantages

  • Decent productivity performance

  • Solid build quality

  • Excellent advertisement

  • Battery life for good productivity

  • Payable

disadvantage

  • Limited to WiFi 5

  • Stand add-on is kludgy

  • Keyboard action is below average

The iPad has dominated the tablet world for years, with few valid competitors from other platforms. Microsoft has the Surface devices, but Chrome OS didn't have such a strong competitor. Most of its detachable tablet and 2-in-1 offerings are budget-conscious affairs.

The HP Chromebook x2 11 changes that, offering a premium option for the iPad or even the iPad Pro. It's the first detachable Chrome OS with an 11-inch 2K 3: 2 display, the first with a Qualcomm 7C chipset, and the first with optional 4G LTE forever connected internet. There's finally a Chromebook that can rival Apple's best.

I tested the mid-range HP Chromebook x2 11 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage, which is $ 599. That's a solid configuration for Chrome OS, at least in terms of RAM and storage, and at an affordable price. You can spend $ 30 less on 4 GB of RAM and $ 80 more for 128 GB storage. The HP Chromebook x2 11 has a few new features, but does it all come together in one great package? That's what I thought to myself, even given the performance difference compared to the latest Intel-based Chromebooks, as well as a disappointing keyboard and stand.

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Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is made from a single block of CNC machined aluminum, so it was as solid as any other tablet I've ever handled. It corresponds to the very well built Microsoft Surface Go 3 and the Apple iPad Pro without bending, bending or twisting. The display is made of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 4. You will feel safe in the construction of the HP Chromebook x2 11 when you carry it and hold it in your hand.

In terms of its aesthetics, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a silver plate with subtle accents that is simple but attractive.

Given its larger 11-inch display compared to the 10.5-inch panel of the Surface Go 3, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is slightly larger at 9.94 inches wide and 6.96 inches high – the Surface Go 3 is 9, 65 inches by 6.9 inches tall. The HP Chromebook x2 11 is thinner at 0.3 "versus 0.33" and essentially the same weight at 1.23 pounds versus 1.2 pounds.

The two tablets are roughly the same thickness and weight when you add in their detachable keyboards and, in the case of the HP Chromebook x2 11, the kickstand add-on that magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet. Overall, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is small and light enough to be wonderfully comfortable in tablet mode, while equally usable on your lap with the keyboard and stand attached – that is, it's an OK experience, but not a great experience by comparison to clamshell laptops.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Speaking of stands, I found the design a bit clunky. The Surface Go 3 has a built-in kickstand that's so much more convenient than fiddling with the HP Chromebook x2 11's add-on. Once attached, the stand was just as functional, holding the tablet firmly in place and opening at a wide angle.

The problem is that it's another piece that needs to be carried around and connected which I found a little annoying. I think I would get used to it over time, but it's just not that elegant a solution.

In terms of its aesthetics, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a silver plate with subtle accents that is simple but attractive. It has rounded edges like many tablets today and will generally go unnoticed. The display bezels are smaller than those of the Surface Go 3, so a more modern design, similar to the iPad Pro.

There is little else to say about the appearance of the HP Chromebook x2 11. It's a simple silver tray that blends into its background. Note that you can add a pop of color by choosing between night teal (my review unit) and shaded keyboards and stands.

  • 1.
    Two USB-C ports, microSD card reader and the optional SIM slot.
  • 2.
    8MP outward-facing camera.

Connectivity is limited to two USB-C ports, one of which is used to power the tablet, a microSD card reader and an optional SIM slot for 4G LTE. One weakness is that the Qualcomm chipset only offers Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0, which is a disappointment given the proliferation of Wi-Fi 6 on other devices.

The HP Chromebook x2 11 has two webcams, one at 5 MP for the user and one at 8 MP for the world. Both offer great resolution for Chrome OS applications and make the tablet a great video conferencing tool.

power

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, which drives the HP Chromebook x2 11, is an 8-core ARM CPU with up to 2.4 GHz. It is said to offer good productivity performance with long battery life and always connected internet. Coincidentally, I recently got some Chromebooks with Intel 11th Core CPUs. Chrome OS runs on much faster hardware. I could certainly tell the difference between these devices and the HP Chromebook x2 11.

It's not that the HP tablet was slow. It wasn't as long as the number of open Chrome tabs didn't get too high or I didn't have too many Android apps running in the background. With a decent workflow, things were snappy enough that I didn't notice the HP Chromebook x2 11 was struggling to keep up. In Geekbench 5, it didn't do well with just 590 in the single-core test and 1,689 in the multi-core test, compared to the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5, which scored 1,190 and 4,151, and the Chromebook C536 with 1,209 and 2,849.

The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 with its MediaTek MT8183 was slower with 299 and 1,407 respectively. Interestingly, the HP Chromebook x2 11 performs similarly to the 920 and 1,704 of the Microsoft Surface Go 3. This tablet runs the full Windows 11 – I would rate the subjective performance of the HP Chromebook x2 11 as slightly better than that of the Surface Go 3.

The HP Chromebook x2 11 only achieved 45 points in the Speedometer 2.0 web benchmark. That's on the lower end of the scale, beating the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet (another smaller detachable Chromebook tablet) at 27 and the Chromebook Flip CM3, which only hits 24 but is way behind the rest of the field. For example, the Chromebook Flip CX5 achieved the highest score in our database with 163.

Still, I found the HP Chromebook x2 11 to be a competent performer. I wrote this review using the tablet as I usually do, and I found WordPress to be just as responsive as it is on other Chromebooks I've used. The 8GB of RAM helps keep multitasking up to date, and as long as I haven't opened too many tabs or too many apps running in the background, the HP Chromebook x2 11 has easily kept pace with my workflow. It would be a great tablet for college students or a secondary device for productivity users looking for something light and portable to complement a more powerful laptop.

I've tried Asphalt 9, the Android game I use to test Chromebook game performance, and it got a little choppy at times. You should limit yourself to casual gaming unless you're okay with the occasional stutter.

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The HP Chromebook x2 11 has an 11-inch display in the productivity-friendly 3: 2 aspect ratio, which also comes into its own in portrait mode. It's closer to the dimensions of a real sheet of paper than old school 16: 9 displays and even the slightly larger 16:10 panels. It corresponds to Microsoft's Surface line in this regard and allows for great ink input with an active pen. HP calls the display “2K” based on a resolution of 2,160 x 1,440. Call it what you will, but at 236 pixels per inch (PPI), the 11-inch display is incredibly sharp.

It's also a very colorful display that is bright and has a lot of contrast. I wish I could use my colorimeter to test the display – it doesn't work with Chrome OS unfortunately – because I think this display would do well. If I hold the HP Chromebook x2 11 next to the Surface Go 3, which has an objectively and subjectively excellent display, I find the display from HP just as pleasant as that from Microsoft.

Black text is sharp and pops on a white background, which is especially important to me as an author, and colors are dynamic without looking unnatural. Photos look great and streaming videos is a treat. The display also seemed brighter than other Chromebooks I've used lately, and held up well in even the brightest environments I've worked in – though it couldn't compete with the southern California sun, but few laptops can do this.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

You want a good display on a tablet given the media consumption you typically use it for, and the HP Chromebook x2 11 delivers that score. It's one of the best Chromebook displays I've used, and it's a real strength.

Two front-facing speakers provide the sound, and they produce usable sound. The volume was loud enough to share a YouTube video, with just a tiny bit of distortion and crisp mids and highs. Unsurprisingly, bass wasn't there, which makes this a sound system that is best complemented by a good pair of headphones for music and Netflix binge.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I've already talked about how I don't like the kickstand add-on, so I won't go into this point any further. However, the detachable keyboard is a more traditional design. It magnetically snaps into place on the bottom of the tablet and has pogo pins to make the required connection. Like most detachable keyboards today, it can lie flat or prop up at an angle. In the latter mode, it's at a comfortable angle, although it jumps a bit when you type. In this respect, it is similar to the Surface Go 3, while the keyboard of the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is significantly stiffer.

I found the keyboard itself a bit small, another feature shared with the Surface Go 3. The keycaps are tiny and there isn't much clearance. The switches are also very loose, there is no biting mechanism and they suffer from a loud, rattling passage.

I wasn't a fan of this keyboard and much preferred the faster, more precise Surface Go 3 version. Like I said, I wrote this review with the HP Chromebook x2 11 and the keyboard was the only thing holding me back.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The touchpad is better, with a smooth surface and a nice size. It has solid support for the entire suite of Chrome OS multitouch gestures. The display is of course touchable and supports a USI certified active pen, which was included in my test configuration but is otherwise optional. The pen worked just as well as any other I've used, with low latency and smooth action.

The fingerprint reader built into the power button was an additional feature that I particularly appreciated and that you won't find on many Chromebooks. Chrome OS requires you to sign in with your password or PIN after restarting, but waking up from hibernation and signing in was a simple matter of pressing the power button. It was quick and reliable, and made getting back to work faster and more convenient than many other Chromebooks.

Battery life

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is equipped with a 32-watt-hour battery that powers the energy-efficient Snapdragon 7c and Chrome OS. This combination should offer at least a full day of battery life, and that's what I was hoping for in our battery tests.

As it turned out, the HP Chromebook x2 11 did well, but not spectacularly. The HP Chromebook x2 11 lasted for 12.75 hours in our web browsing test. That's a strong score on its own and when compared to Intel laptops, but it isn't that impressive when compared to other ARM-based machines. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet, for example, lasted an hour longer with its Mediatek Helio P60T ARM CPU, a 27 watt hour battery and a 10.1 inch display. The Lenovo Flex 5G with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx lasted 17.25 hours in this test.

You can hardly complain about the HP Chromebook x2 11 here – after all, this value shows much better than the all-day battery life, our basic standard – but I would still have liked the tablet to last a few hours longer.

Battery life is good when it comes to productivity, but it lacks it for media consumption.

In our video test, which repeats a local 1080p movie trailer, the HP Chromebook x2 11 made it to 11 hours. It's not uncommon for Chrome OS machines to last longer than the video tests while browsing the internet, which is unlike Windows and Mac OS laptops. The HP Chromebook x2 11's score was about 1.5 hours below that of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet and a full 17 hours below that of the Lenovo Flex 5G. In fact, it's not a good score for the components, period.

Overall, the battery life is good in terms of productivity, but it is lacking in media consumption. It's not that 11 hours of video playback is awful, it's just not where I expected the HP Chromebook x2 11 to fall. Again, we're talking about all-day battery life, but not necessarily what an ARM CPU should offer.

Our opinion

The HP Chromebook x2 11 embodies the qualities that make a good Chromebook: Ease of use, efficiency and sufficient performance on low-end hardware. Its display is also excellent and a pure pleasure to use, which is welcome at a price point of $ 599.

As an iPad or Surface competitor, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a major achievement in the world of Chromebooks. It's not perfect, as the clumsy stand and awkward keyboard prove, but if you're looking for a very portable Chrome OS device that can take a long time to charge, then HP's tablet should be on your short list.

Are there alternatives?

The most compelling alternative is the Microsoft Surface Go 3. Yes, it runs Windows 11 and not Chrome OS, but in terms of size, build quality, display, and performance, it's a close competitor to the HP Chromebook x2 11. It's more expensive, when it's configured for good performance and because Type Cover and Surface Pen are optional add-ons. However, if you're looking for a tablet rather than an operating system, the Surface Go 3 is a great option.

Next up is the Apple iPad – most likely the entry-level model for $ 329. It offers faster performance due to its fast ARM CPU and highly optimized operating system, and it has a great display too. It's also thin, light, and well built. Again, however, this isn't a Chrome OS device if that's what you're looking for.

The thing is, I don't know of any other Chrome OS detachable tablet that I would put against the HP Chromebook x2 11. The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is an option, but it's significantly cheaper and feels that way in its build quality. But if you want to save some money and have a similarly portable device then it is an alternative.

How long it will take?

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is very well made and conveys confidence in years of productive use. Chrome OS doesn't slow down over time, so components should keep up well. You have to be content with the industry standard one-year warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes sir. The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a great little tablet that is suitable for students or as a secondary device for more demanding productivity users. And it's an affordable alternative to the iPad Pro.

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