Despite great battery life and integrated LTE, it’s difficult to recommend the Envy x2 for a number of reasons. The key factor in all of them is the price: $1000 is just too much to pay for this tablet. HP is effectively going head-to-head with similar products like the Microsoft Surface Pro and the Eve V, which offer full Intel Core processors and consequently much better performance in an equivalent form factor.
The design and build of this laptop with its metal chassis, decent keyboard cover and included pen is great, and continues to cement HP’s position as a Windows OEM making great hardware designs. The 1920 x 1200 display is surprisingly good, too, producing high levels of brightness and near-accurate colors.
However the performance of the Snapdragon 835 leaves a lot to be desired. In native UWP apps, the Snapdragon 835 is respectably fast considering its power consumption, but still falls behind Intel Core processors from the last few generations.
Then when it comes to emulated x86 performance, it's not decent performance. Slower than a mere Celeron N3450, you do get great battery life, but when widely used apps like Chrome and Microsoft Office are sluggish to use, the extra battery life won’t win you over.
I think HP made a mistake in developing a high-end tablet body to go with the entry-level performance offered by the Snapdragon 835. The design is beautiful and the Envy x2 packs lots of decent features, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pair this metal design with a weak processor and charge top-end pricing for the package. Because as it stands, there is no way I’d recommend the Envy x2 over a similarly priced Surface Pro that offers 5x the performance in x86 apps.
Unfortunately, the Snapdragon 835 only makes sense in entry-level products priced below $500. I can’t see the Envy x2 getting a 50% price cut any time soon, but that’s what it’d take to make it a solid buy. It’s a shame, too, because chuck an Intel Y-series CPU in this chassis and suddenly you have a really compelling product.
While this first Snapdragon 835 Windows device isn’t impressive, I don’t think the entire platform is dead after a single wave of releases. If Qualcomm and Microsoft work on removing some of the platform limitations, allow the use of newer Snapdragon processors, and encourage companies to make entry-level devices priced appropriately, Intel and AMD could have a serious competitor in the sub-$500 market. But right now, Windows on ARM won’t succeed as a high-end product.
- HP Envy x2 on HP.com
Pros: Great metal build quality with included keyboard and stylus. Integrated LTE. Outstanding battery life.
Cons: Entry-level performance (or worse) in an expensive, high-end tablet. Windows on ARM is full of limitations. Stand is part of the keyboard cover, not the tablet.