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HP toughens its Spectre for something “Elite”

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:10 pm 14/03/2016

The word “elite” isn’t one to be trifled with. It’s a word suggesting the best of the best, and in a new computer from HP, it’s clear the company is striving for more than just another me-too machine.

There are already plenty of those in the market, and truth be told, it’s not remarkably difficult for a company to make a computer. Not these days, anyway.

Take the idea of a tablet, because anyone can grab a screen, plonk the hardware behind it needed to run the machine, add in storage and memory, and maybe rely on a touchscreen keyboard, and there you have it. Voila.

Laptops aren’t difficult either, and with easy to follow specifications and plans that make it possible for anyone with enough money or capital to build some machines without too many difficulties, but these will just more or less follow the idea of something “generic”.

When you need something a little less generic and a little more playful, you need to turn to companies spending money on research, on development, and on the idea that these attributes can make a machine better in the end, not just for a consumer or a business person, but anyone in general.

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HP hopes that it sits in that category, and last year gave us a taste of something that could be better because it was both familiar and unique in the Elite.

Back when we first saw this computer in late November, it felt like HP was tackling the Microsoft Surface, but doing it in a way that was designed to take on more of the day-to-day grunt.

That was the general feeling we had back then, and now you can fast forward a few months to find HP’s Elite X2 1012 is ready for action, and your average day.

Inside the machine, you’re looking at similar parts to Apple’s super-slim MacBook, and even HP’s Spectre computer, with an Intel Core M processor inside, though it’s a sixth-gen variant unlike what is inside the Apple.

The HP Spectre, however, is an interesting machine to compare it to, and that’s because the Elite and the Spectre are so close, with a very similar design and set of hardware inside. For instance, they both are made from a single block of aluminium and both arrive with Intel Core M processors. They both support the same magnetic connections at the bottom of the tablet for plugging in a keyboard, and they even have the same 12 inch Full HD (1920×1280) screen.

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But while other aspects look similar, elements of these computers are totally different, and you see that HP has the knack of making more than just consumer variations of machines down, with a high-end option for people who like more professional and immensely more fixable options.

Take the stand built into the Spectre, something that had to be flicked open using a switch in that model.

On the HP Elite X2 1012, the switch is gone and the stand can be pushed out using only your hands. This makes the stand feel more firm and the machine come off more professional, while this element is also able to take 50 kilograms of force and can be replaced if needed.

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Replacing things is also something the Elite is made for, which a more repairable design that means much of the machine can be fixed and dealt with if the worst does happen.

And given that this machine is designed for mobile uses, the worst can and might happen.

“We designed the HP Elite X2 to be thin, light and powerful in a way that captures the simplicity and elegance users will love while also delivering the durability, serviceability, security and manageability IT departments need to enable true mobile productivity,” said Anthony Ceroli, Market Development Manager for Commercial Notebooks at HP South Pacific.

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While Ceroli points out that this is ideal for IT departments, our brief playing with the Elite X2 suggests that it is also made for people who like the slim and elegant metal tablets of recent — those with Windows on them, anyway — but who also want something better made that feels like it could stand more than a year or two in the field.

With the metal body found here, a screen protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 4, a self-healing BIOS, and the ability to service most parts of the machine, not to mention the included fabric-backed keyboard, stylus with customisable shortcut button, and two ports to work with comprising of USB 3.0 (standard USB) and Thunderbolt with USB 3.1 (USB Type C), the Elite already feels like the professional equivalent of what was already a great return from HP.

There are options for features in this model not everyone will need, such as 4G LTE connectivity built into the body and a fingerprint reader, but given that it’s a more professional variant with customisability there when you start to configure the machine, it’s at least a laptop that should let you decide what you want rather than tell you what you need.

“We’re looking at technology that will enable the concept of mobility and let you take your work anywhere,” said Ceroli.

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Pricing of the HP Elite X2 1012 starts at $1699 and is available now. Given the similarities between this and the HP Spectre, a review shouldn’t be too far away either, so look for it soon.

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