PC

Stylish hybrid for business users

This HP tablet comes with a handy, easy-to-open kickstand and an active stylus that can be programmed to perform functions such as erasing text or launching apps.
This HP tablet comes with a handy, easy-to-open kickstand and an active stylus that can be programmed to perform functions such as erasing text or launching apps.PHOTO: HP

The HP Elite x2 1012 is a sleek powerhouse packed with security and management features

The Elite x2 1012 G1 is a Windows tablet that, like the Microsoft Surface Pro, becomes a decent laptop when attached to its keyboard accessory.

It is not HP's first attempt at a hybrid, two-in-one computer.

Indeed, the Elite x2 is a doppelganger of the HP Spectre x2 - down to the U-shaped kickstand that offers a wide range of angles. The difference: You press a switch to open the Spectre's kickstand, but you simply push open the Elite x2's.

Unlike the Spectre x2, the Elite x2 is designed for enterprises, with a host of security and management features such as HP SureStart, which automatically restores your computer's firmware if it detects a hacking attempt.

As a tablet, the Elite x2 is on the heavy side (820g). The display has a 3:2 aspect ratio like the Microsoft Surface Pro's, although the Elite x2 has a lower screen resolution.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $3,099

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core M7-6Y75 (1.2GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 515

    RAM: 8GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 12 inches, 1,920 x 1,280 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.0, microSD card slot, microSIM card slot, headphone and microphone combo jack

    BATTERY: 42 watt-hour

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The HP Travel Keyboard accessory works exactly like the Surface Type Cover keyboard. It magnetically attaches to the lower bezel of the screen for greater stability. But there is still a good amount of flex when typing. Key travel is understandably shallow, but the precision touchpad is smooth and supports Windows 10 gestures.

Like the Surface Pro, the Elite x2 comes with an active stylus that can be stored in a pen holder located at the side of the HP Travel Keyboard. But HP's pen, which uses Wacom technology, seems to have a tad more latency than the Surface Pen, making it less natural to use than actual pen and paper.

Even so, the pen is very usable, especially with its three buttons that can be assigned to different functions, from erasing text to launching a specific app.

HP sells a dock accessory (the HP Elite USB-C Docking Station) that is essential for those with a desk at the office or at home. This compact and portable dock comes with DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet and five USB 3.0 ports, including a Type-C version, so you can hook it up to multiple displays and a wired network. Then, you connect the dock to the Elite x2's USB Type-C port. It also charges the Elite x2.

At $299, the dock seems worth the price, especially compared with the HP Travel keyboard, which goes for $349 and makes the $199 Microsoft Type Cover keyboard look like a steal.

While the HP Travel Keyboard was included with my review set, it is not bundled with the entry-level $1,399 variant of the Elite x2, which uses a slower processor and has less RAM and storage.

The Elite x2 is powered by a fan-less Intel Core M7 processor. It performs surprisingly well, scoring 2,571 in PCMark 8, compared with 2,307 for the Surface Pro 4. The Elite x2 also has a sizeable 512GB solid-state drive, which is probably one reason for the $3,099 price tag on my review set.

The battery life is good for a hybrid. It clocked 6hr 40min in our video-loop test, significantly longer than the 5 hours managed by the Surface Pro. To be fair, the Elite's screen is not as bright as the Surface Pro and has fewer pixels too.

• HP has created a stylish and premium hybrid for business users with an impressive docking station but a pricey keyboard accessory.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline 'Stylish hybrid for business users'. Print Edition | Subscribe