HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2 – like name, like nature (review)
4.6Overall Score

Price (RRP): $2499
Manufacturer: HP

The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2 comes with a range of processors, ram, storage, screens, touch or not, and one has an innovative Sure View integrated privacy screen to keep prying eyes out. HP’s Elite range of PCs, notebooks and more are reserved for business use.

Let’s start with the Elite name – quality you can swear by, not at. They are top specified, have Mil-STD 810G durability, incredible reliability and longevity.

My first EliteBook in 2010 gave magnificent 24/7 service as my production computer. But I need later technology like Thunderbolt 3 to expand its capabilities. The old EliteBook was fitted with an SSD and repurposed as a Plex media server/TV tuner. I expect to get several more years out of it – it is that reliable.

It is natural that when you have such a good, trouble-free run with a quality brand you go back to it as the first option.

You generally won’t find the Elite range at major retailers. They are sold via HP business dealers or online at HP. What you will find at retailers is HP’s consumer range including the Pavilion, Envy, and the upmarket Spectre range – great but not Mil-STD and not quite as flexible.

My shopping list – Or as my wife puts it, my shopping “lust”

I wanted everything – fastest processor, plenty of ram, big storage, great connectivity, a 360° hinge design, touch and pen-enabled screen, great keyboard and trackpad, good sound – yes, an HP Elite or perhaps high-end consumer HP Spectre, shopping list. The only problem is that the budget was about $2.5K so there would have to be some compromise.

I believe that every piece of tech is a compromise from the ideal vision of its creators to the realities of budget, available technology, shipping on time, and market acceptance – else all products would be perfect. And the point of Gadget Guy’s independent, objective, reviews is to reveal those compromises. You can but strive to buy good, better, or best selecting what is most and least important features to you. But overall, it is too easy to end up with mediocracy especially if price is the main factor.

I decided that a Thunderbolt USB-C port (40Gbps data/charge) was mandatory and it would be nice to have an array of other ports like HDMI, USB-A 3.1 micro-SD etc., to reduce the need for an external docking station or dongle. That reduced choices to a handful of brands and models.

The choice of a 360° hinge was due to the limitations of traditional clamshell notebooks – open or closed – and there are times I need tent style, presentation mode, or tablet mode and this does it all. I travel a lot and tent mode is amazing as a video player on small aircraft seat-back tables. Tablet mode is great for reading.

The choice of touchscreen is a no-brainer – I really don’t know why anyone makes non-touch anymore. While I would not have minded getting a 2K or 4K screen these are battery life suckers, so HD was acceptable as for my use – documents, web surfing and still/video content. I am now used to pen input in Windows 10 so that was a given too.

I started a spreadsheet to track my choices. While many of those specifications could be filled by Microsoft Surface Book, Dell XPS, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer and more there were a few wildcards that made the choice easy.

The whole shebang! (everything involved in what is under consideration)

The winner was an HP EliteBook x360, 1030 G2 with Sure View http://h20386.www2.hp.com/AustraliaStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=1UX20PA&opt=&sel=NTB

Take it as a given (see the specifications list later) that it met or exceeded my shopping list with a few notable extra inclusions.

  • Thunderbolt 3 data/charge and a range of expansion ports including HDMI and an extra 90W power port for either a 12V cigarette lighter adaptor power or HP 240V power brick. The latter turned out to be very useful.
  • It is very light and thin
  • HP Sure View privacy screen can be activated to obscure/blank the screen for anyone viewing it side on. Great for coffee shops and it won’t disturb your fellow flyers. I also like the Gorilla Glass covering and the amazingly thin screen/lid section.
  • HP’s collaboration with B&O adds better sound quality from four stereo down firing speakers under the keyboard. Dual voice tracking noise cancellation mics and a 3.5mm combo jack complete the audio experience.
  • The Precision-certified glass trackpad is superb and will move the cursor from upper right to lower left in one swipe – makes mice redundant. Plus, it has two-finger pinch zoom and scroll and up to four fingers tap.
  • The active pen is precise and emulates pen on paper very well.
  • The keyboard lives up to the Elite pedigree for speed, comfort and accuracy.
  • NFC is a bonus for easily connecting Bluetooth devices
  • Intel’s dual-band AC-8265, 2 x 2 MU-MIMO AC wireless for fast throughput, Bluetooth and Wi-Di Miracast
  • The fingerprint reader compliments the dual IR Windows Hello camera
  • An Intel VPro chip for added security and extra security and malware resistance from
    • HP BIOSphere
    • HP SureStart
    • HP Secure Erase
    • Preboot Authentication
    • Security lock slot
    • HP Client Security
    • HP Security Manager
    • HP Password Manager
    • Absolute Persistence Module
    • TPM 1.2/2.0
  • 3-year standard parts, labour and on-site warranty (Elite standard)