HP’s recent tablet hybrids have been made with a focus on consumers, but the business market isn’t being left out, evident in the Elitebook Revolve, a notebook with an older type of convertible hinge and some new innards to bring this style of machine into 2014.
Microsoft’s Windows 8 may have brought around touchscreens to more computers, but the whole idea of a tablet laptop isn’t anything new, and they’ve even been around longer than most of the tablets out today. In fact, with previous versions of Windows, companies like HP experimented with different tablet form factors, such as the convertible middle hinge form-factor.
That’s the design that HP is bringing back for the Elitebook Revolve 810 G2, a tablet laptop hybrid that brings together a touchscreen and a laptop to provide what could be the best of both worlds.
In this machine, you’ll find an 11.6 inch touchscreen running the high definition resolution of 1366×768, connected to the base of the computer by a hinge that not only allows the screen to lie flat, but also twist around 180 degrees and collapse down against the keyboard and mouse.
Under that keyboard and mouse, you’ll find familiar components to some but not all tablet-laptop hybrids. In fact, while many of the machines we’ve seen in the past year or two come equipped with an Intel Atom processor, HP has ignored that system on a chip, going for a more powerful Intel Core i5 chip instead, straight out of the fourth-generation “Haswell” breed.
As such, there was a Core i5 4300U clocked at 1.9GHz in our review unit, but HP makes models ranging from the Core i3 4010U (1.7GHz) all the way up to a Core i7 4600U (2.1GHz) depending on how much you want to spec this machine up.
Memory is set to 4GB as standard, with an extra 4 optional, while the storage is all solid state, with128GB standard in the machine and in our review unit. Windows 8.1 runs natively here, though anyone who prefers Windows 7 can apparently have that as an option, as well.
Connections and ports are a little more varied than what you’ll expect, something that we expect goes part and parcel with this machine being built for business, so expect 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi support here, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and even some 4G LTE connectivity, making this highly suitable for going on the road, while the ports include two USB 3.0 spots, a 3.5mm headset jack, Ethernet, a full-size DisplayPort, and a microSD slot to expand the storage if needed.
A special docking connector can also be found on the side for anyone keen to add extra ports with one of HP’s docks.
One interesting addition to the tablet hybrid formula is a replaceable battery, a feature we’re not used to seeing on a machine of this style, which will let you — when you remove it — see the microSIM slot.
While the Elitebook is a computer, a fact which his obvious when you see the keyboard and mouse, there are also a few buttons here on the sides, thanks to it also being a tablet.
Most of these are consistent with other tablets out there, and this includes a power toggle switch, a rotation lock switch (unmarked as such, but it’s the toggle next to the power button), and a volume rocker, with all of these located on the right side.
Now that the tablet has started to encroach on the space that is the laptop, it can be hard to work out what you’re in the market for.
Do you want a slim and light laptop computer in the style of the Intel Ultrabook? Do you want a relatively durable laptop with plenty of powerful innards to take with you on the road? Or do you want a tablet, thin and light and with a touchscreen that feels like it’s from the future?
If you’re unsure, the hybrid computer might be more what you’re into, providing parts of both the laptop and tablet world, and in essence, giving you both a laptop and a touchscreen slate without needing to spend on both types of machine.
While there are plenty of these combo devices on the market, most are geared at consumers, with very few of them built to handle the rigours of life for a business person. That is, they’re often not built for accidental drops of water — as most things probably should be — or with casings that go beyond plastic (once again, as most things probably should be).
But HP has one, and aside for the strengthened body — which carries a magnesium chassis — there are some other changes, starting with one on the inside, with the switch to an Intel Core i5 processor, a more capable generation of processor than the system-on-a-chip that is Intel’s Atom, which is a fine processor, but doesn’t really pass muster if you’re doing a lot of processor intensive work.
Another neat feature impresses us greatly, and that’s the replaceable battery, which is easy to remove — push the eject button and voila! — and features a microSIM slot underneath.
That part too — the SIM slot — is an excellent addition, making it possible for anyone to jump onto a mobile connection from anywhere in the world, provided of course they have a SIM and a plan with data.
Forget the mobile broadband dongle, because it’s built into the machine! W00t!