When you do decide to type, however, you’ll be treated to an experience that is surprising.
Normally, budget and inexpensive laptops get equally budget and inexpensive keyboards, but the Pavilion X360 offers one of the better portable typing experiences from a laptop in this size, with a keyboard that has the right amount of click, with just enough travel as you type.
We’ve owned bigger laptops with larger keyboards that didn’t feel this good, so this is an impressive job for HP. Hat’s off on this one.
The mouse doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set out by its keyboard brother, mind you, with a button that feels a little too shallow for pressing, and with multi-touch gestures that appear to be too slow. Thankfully, you have a touch-enabled screen.
Also not quite on par with the keyboard is the battery life, which rates closer to about average.
We clocked up around five hours of life on the Pavilion X360, which for an 11 inch computer running a convention half drive instead of solid-state isn’t too shabby, but we’d suggest to keep that power plug in your back pack, especially if you’re heading to school or uni with the X360 in tow.
But from a performance view, wow, HP couldn’t have gotten some of the aspects more wrong.
Let’s start with the usability, because the keyboard is a high point of this computer. It’s a shame, though, that the Intel Celeron inside is so slow that it makes using that decent keyboard one of the more frustrating experiences on offer.
Many of the programs we tested with Windows 8.1 didn’t pick up on the keyboard’s input as we typed, with the words coming thick and fast a few seconds after we had pressed the keys. Thankfully, we can touch type, but it’s still frustrating altogether.
Other actions that shouldn’t pose this much of a problem did, such as ALT+TAB, and typing in URLs in Internet Explorer.
It’s just so puzzling that HP built such a decent keyboard for an inexpensive computer, and then matched it with a machine that barely has the guts to do the most basic of typing activities.
Essentially, you’ll be let down by the 2.1GHz Intel Celeron, which despite the totally usable supply of 4GB RAM struggles to keep up with some of the basic features offered by the Windows 8.1 operating system.
Some of the time, the performance is fine, mind you, but so many other times, we almost gave up, and wondered how HP let the Pavilion X360 out of testing and onto shelves, because really it shouldn’t be this slow. It really shouldn’t.
The screen is also terrible, and that’s an area HP should know better with.
For a company that’s making tablets — with the Pavilion X360 also included as a form of a tablet — the use of such a weak display is almost unforgivable, because it requires such direct viewing angles in order to see it without washed out colours, which almost completely removes its usefulness as a tablet.
We get it, mind you: this is a budget laptop with a near tablet form-factor, but the screen desperately needs to be better. Not necessarily the screen resolution, because while a 1366×768 resolution on an 11 inch display may not be as good as a Full HD 1920×1080, it’s still perfectly fine on an 11 inch, and much better than seeing that resolution on a 15.6 inch laptop, which is the norm for budget laptops out in the world today.
But the display technology HP is using on the Pavilion X360 just isn’t good, with terrible viewing angles, washed out colours, and a lack of contrast that forces you to be in a specific position to see it.
As a cheap laptop, we’ve come to expect this use of display type, but for a tablet, it’s hopeless, and we’d be hard pressed to find any owner of the Pavilion X360 using this machine in this manner simply because of that weak screen.
HP’s Pavilion X360 is a curious beast.
On the one hand, HP has nailed some of the aspects of design, bringing out one of the better portable keyboards for a machine under $600, with a design that looks cool, unique, and won’t pick on fingerprints as easily.
But then there’s that performance, with plenty of lag and slowdowns to go around, so much so that unless all you do is write text and check email or surf the web, you’ll find yourself annoyed and a touch concerned.
If the basics are all you need and you like the look and the neat form-factor, the Pavilion X360 is worth looking into, but we’d probably check out all your options before settling, because that performance makes it hard to say yes.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Excellent keyboard; Nice colourful exterior; Cool form-factor with a stronger hinge than you'll expect;
Weak screen with terrible angles; Unimpressive display makes it an even more unimpressive and hard to use tablet; System performance can exhibit very noticeable slowdowns;