HP’s hybrid tablet laptop design has been a popular one in the Envy X2, but the idea of an 11 inch Intel Atom-powered machine isn’t going to be for everyone, and if you need more size and grunt, HP has a different approach.
Most hybrid computers that you can find carry a screen size between 10 and 11 inches, which many would consider a “normal” size for a tablet. Hybrid computers generally are comparable to tablets because all their important parts are in the screen section, and you can detach the screen to make the entire machine perform and feel like a tablet.
But with the Split X2, HP is taking a slightly different approach, crafting a bigger tablet hybrid than you’ve likely seen on other machines.
In the Split X2, HP has equipped a 13.3 inch detachable touchscreen, making this machine one big computer, or even a big tablet that connects to a regular 13 inch keyboard and mouse section.
Just like on other hybrid computers, all of the important specifications and innards sit inside the screen section of the Split X2, all 13 inches of it.
This includes the third-generation Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and battery driving all of these parts. WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity are all built into the tablet from a wireless connections side of things, while headphones, microSD, charge port, and the keyboard proprietary dock port are also included.
Then there’s the keyboard section, which the Split X2 also comes with, and allows the 13.3 inch screen section to dock with to turn it into a proper laptop, albeit one with a touchscreen.
This section doesn’t just feature a keyboard and mouse, but also extra connections, a battery, and hard drive. The hard drive in this section provides an extra 500GB, while the connections effectively provide the Split X2 tablet with a full SD card slot, two USB ports, HDMI, headphone, and the power port.
The Split X2’s tablet section does come with buttons, and a design that’s remarkably similar to the other X2 tablets HP makes, with a volume rocker and power button both sitting on the back of the screen section.
A latch can be found on the keyboard section to help you remove the screen from the keyboard dock.
If the idea of a proper sized laptop has your attention, but you’ve been curious about the whole tablet thing, HP’s Split X2 presents an interesting idea: it’s a 13.3 inch laptop that’s also a tablet. A really big tablet.
Looking at the design, HP isn’t exactly breaking any moulds here, and has instead basically enlarged what the company started with the Envy X2, another Windows 8 hybrid.
As such, you’ll find a metal coloured plastic body with two buttons on the back, and a two tone keyboard section with black on the inside and more of that gun metal plastic on the bottom.
Overall, it’s not a bad looking machine, and the combination of grey and black does make it look a little different than traditional laptops, but the lack of proper metals doesn’t make this machine look like the premium computers we’ve seen from the company in the past.
Inside the machine, you’ll find a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, clocked at 1.5GHz, which should be enough for most, even if HP is a little late in delivering a fourth-generation Haswell processor to this body.
For most things, we found the system to be responsive, with apps loading relatively quickly, and both standby and power loading times to be standard for Ulltrabook styled machines. In fact, standby to on took around a second, while off and cold to on took was timed at under seven seconds, which isn’t bad at all, and can likely be attributed to the combination of processor, memory, and solid-state drive in the tablet screen section.
It’s strange that HP didn’t elect to use a much newer processor, and we’re surprised to see the third-generation technology known as “Ivy Bridge” make an appearance in a machine out now, but at least HP has matched the processor to a decent amount of memory and storage type.
In fact, to its credit, HP have nailed some things about this computer.
One of these is the keyboard, and while the body is pretty much all plastic, the island key keyboard has the right clicking noise, enough travel, and is a comfortable design to type on. It’s not quite as perfect as the keyboards made by the likes of Apple and Lenovo, but in HP’s Split X2 has one of the nicest keyboards we’ve seen from a computer in its class.
The inclusion of a decent touchpad is also a welcome one, with gesture support also thrown in, something we don’t often see in keyboard docks accompanying tablet counterparts.
HP has also built the Split X2 to feel sturdy, surprisingly so. While plastic is the main material used here, the machine carries a fair amount of heft, whether you’re using it in the tablet form only, or docked together with the keyboard section.
The display, however, can’t quite live up to what its brother offered in the Envy X2, a surprise especially given the quality HP included in that laptop, which is a smaller version of the Split.
It’s not an overly terrible display, but it’s certainly not fantastic, and while there are decent viewing angles on both the left and right sides, it’s also obviously not as high-end a display as in the Envy. In fact, unless you push the screen all the way back while you use it like a laptop, you’ll likely find washed out colours.
There’s also a lack of obvious clarity here, no doubt thanks to a weaker resolution, which is just barely above high-definition, and isn’t quite as good as the Full HD panels being offered in competing machines.
We are grateful that HP chose to include a touchscreen, and the touch support offered here works well, complimenting the multi-touch mouse well. Windows 8 tends to prefer touchscreens, and while we wish the resolution was better, this will suit most fine.
Remove the tablet from its dock, though, and you’ll probably want to steer clear from using the screen section in the preferred landscape mode, as those weaker viewing angles really show up.
In the tablet section only, the weight is very obvious.
We’re not talking about a comfortable tablet to use by itself, which is hardly surprising given the 13 inch size. We’ve never really considered the 13 inch size to be a portable tablet set of dimensions, and after using the Split X2 tablet section, it most definitely isn’t.
If you end up using the Split X2, leave the tablet inside the keyboard dock. Trust us. It’s easier this way.
Over in the battery performance, the Split X2 won’t win any awards, managing around three hours on the tablet battery, and maybe pulling an hour and a half more when docked with the keyboard and battery section.
It’s not an immense amount of life, though the chip inside this machine does do more heavy lifting that what HP used inside the Envy, so doesn’t surprise us.
There might be more gains for battery life if HP had decided on using a fourth-generation Intel Core processor instead of the one HP settled on, but we’ll never know.
HP’s Split X2 isn’t quite the same as its little brother, the Envy X2, and the inclusion of the Intel Core i5 processor and mediocre 13 inch screen makes the entire package feel like a sub-par tablet laptop hybrid.
As for current value, it just doesn’t have it, with mid-range parts that just don’t add up and a weight that makes it quite hefty. Ultimately, if you can find the Split X2 for much less than the $1299 asking price and need a decent all rounder, it could easily fit that bill.