Reviews: PC

Protection from inquisitive eyes

Hit the F2 key and the HP Elitebook x360's screen, dubbed HP Sure View, becomes practically opaque when viewed from the sides.
Hit the F2 key and the HP Elitebook x360's screen, dubbed HP Sure View, becomes practically opaque when viewed from the sides.PHOTO: HP

HP's latest offering in this class comes with an integrated privacy filter to deter prying eyes

The modern white-collar worker is a nomad. He roams from one shared desk to another, from the home office to the nearest cafe, accompanied by his work computer and mobile phone.

Thus, not only must this computer be portable with long-lasting battery life, it must also offer security features to prevent data theft. For such mobile workers, HP's latest Elitebook x360 2-in-1 convertible (1030 G2) ticks all the boxes.

For one, it comes with an integrated privacy filter to deter prying eyes. With the touch of the F2 function key, the screen, dubbed HP Sure View, becomes practically opaque when viewed from the sides. You can see the screen contents only if you are directly in front of it, though the image is a tad murkier than usual.

Its 13.3-inch touchscreen offers good viewing angles when the privacy filter is not enabled. Text and images look sharp enough at its native 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. However, its glossy finish makes it reflective in darker environments. The screen could also be brighter at its maximum setting.

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The Elitebook offers a host of sign-in options, including both fingerprint and facial recognition using the Windows Hello feature. It also has a Smart Card reader for authentication.

In addition, HP has created the WorkWise mobile app that pairs the Elitebook with a compatible Apple or Android mobile phone via Bluetooth. If the linked mobile phone moves too far from the computer, the Elitebook automatically locks itself to prevent unauthorised access.

In my testing, the Elitebook became locked when I walked away from my desk with my phone. But it was slow to unlock when I returned to the computer.

The app can also send mobile notifications if it detects someone tampering with your computer, including failed logins and attempts to plug in or disconnect a USB device.

Other security features include the standard notebook lock slot, a TPM chip for hardware encryption and HP's Sure Start feature that protects the laptop's BIOS or firmware from corruption and malicious attacks.

Physically, the Elitebook feels sturdy with a unibody aluminium chassis. Its lid, especially, is as solid as it gets, but I felt that the hinges could be stiffer. It is handy enough for a 13.3-inch convertible at around 1.3kg and fairly thin, too.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $3,459

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7600U (2.8GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 620

    RAM: 8GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.1, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, microSD card slot, Smart Card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 57 watt-hour

    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The keyboard is terrific, with a clicky feel and good key travel. It is spill resistant and backlit, too. The touchpad is excellent with a smooth glass surface and support for Windows 10's touchpad gestures.

The Elitebook can be used in various modes by rotating its 360-degree hinge.

It comes with an optional stylus based on Wacom technology. This pen offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and, more importantly, mimics the feel of a proper pen because of its responsiveness and pen-like tip.

My review set has an Intel Core i7 model with 8GB of system memory and a 512GB solid-state drive. It scored 2,872 in the PCMark 10 system benchmark, which is similar to that achieved by the latest ultrabooks. At around 7hr30min, its battery life is an hour longer than the Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1.

I did find that the bottom of its aluminium body got a bit too toasty for my lap after prolonged use.

•Verdict: A business 2-in-1 convertible that impresses with its security features, handsome looks, and long battery life.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'Protection from inquisitive eyes'. Print Edition | Subscribe