Review: HP Pavilion X360

A computer for a budget, HP’s Pavilion X360 could be a contender for anyone who doesn’t want to spend much. Is it worth the low cost of admission, or should you seek entry elsewhere?

Features

While the netbook may have died with Google’s Chromebook taking its place, there are still Windows computers out in the world for students and people on a budget to check out. HP’s Pavilion X360 hopes to be one of those, bringing Windows 8.1 and an interesting hybrid laptop tablet formula for well under a grand.

Inside the Pavilion X360, you’ll find Intel’s Celeron N2820, a dual-core chip clocked at 2.13GHz and running alongside 4GB RAM, though a configuration of the machine can be found with 8GB.

Solid-state storage isn’t to be found in a computer in this price range, with conventional hard drives used instead. On the X360, you’ll find a 320GB hard drive, with a possible configuration including a 500GB drive.

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 runs here, with connections catered over two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, a single HDMI, a 3.5mm headset (combined headphone and microphone) jack, and even a wired Ethernet port. Memory cards can also be read through the SD card slot in the body.

Something special in this laptop is the hinge, which is blazoned with “Beats Audio,” informing the world of its audio prowess.

That hinge does a little more than showcase the Beats brand to the world, though, as it allows the computer to become a hybrid machine, rotating the screen section around 360 degrees so that it can exist in clamshell mode like a conventional laptop, lying flat, sitting upright with the keyboard section used as a stand, and even with the keyboard sitting flat behind the display, effectively turning the Pavilion X360 into a tablet.

Wireless connectivity is all pretty standard, with 802.11b/g/n included as well as Bluetooth 4.0, while cameras are pretty basic for a laptop, with a single HD webcam above the screen.

With that screen, there’s an 11.6 inch touchscreen display on offer, showing a resolution of 1366×768, with a Windows logo beneath the display that acts as a button.

A power pack is also included with the laptop to charge the machine.

Performance

A red laptop? A red budget laptop? A red budget laptop that is also a hybrid tablet computer?

Colour us intrigued, and make sure to colour us with the same shade of red HP is using in the X360, because it is one eye-catching look.

From a design point of view, there’s a lot to like about HP’s X360, a name that confuses us because it’s so close to what we’ve been calling Microsoft’s Xbox 360 for short (we called it the X360, too, so try not to be confused: this won’t play Xbox 360 video games).

Its red exterior is very inviting, with a look to it that few laptops have. Make no mistake, this is no ordinary beige box, with a look that highlights the Beats Audio logo printed in large along the display hinge above the keyboard.

Red has always worked with silver — just look at Mercedes Benz, which has loved the colour scheme in its cars for years — and also with black, and that’s more or less the look you get on the X360, with the red plastic casing, silver brushed aluminium interior, and a black plastic keyboard that works well with this colour scheme.

Pick up the unit and you’ll find there’s more weight to the unit than you’ll otherwise expect. It’s a little too heavy to hold in one hand, and regardless of what mode you use it in, you’ll want two hands, or something that doesn’t move much, like a lap or a desk.

Modes bring up an important point, however, because like Lenovo’s Yoga, the HP Pavilion allows you to work in more than just the traditional clamshell laptop way.

For instance, you can watch movies on the screen folding the display so that the keyboard faces the ground and acts as a stand for the display. Or, conversely, you can fold the keyboard section completely behind the screen and turn the Pavilion X360 into an 11 inch tablet.

It’s the Pavilion’s special wide hinge that makes this possible, and is where the X360 gets its name from, with a form-factor that can swing the display around at 360 degrees.

Credit to HP has to go to that hinge, mind you, because it’s very tight, and looks like it’ll hold its own for an extended period of time.

Also assisting the form-factor is the keyboard, which switches off when it detects itself in a position where typing would be impossible, such as when it’s switched into tablet mode.

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