Hands-on: HP’s Envy x2 is a Surface clone boasting 20 hours of battery life

Updated May 31, 2018, with pricing information: It’s $1,000 via Amazon.

The HP Envy x2 joins a growing cohort of Surface Pro clones, but with one big difference: Inside it is a Snapdragon 835, offering battery life of up to 20 hours. We spent a little time with it at the Qualcomm Technology Forum to see what a new chip would do in an established category.

Externally, HP’s Envy x2 changes another key thing about HP’s line of Windows tablets: it removes the kickstand from the tablet itself and puts it inside the keyboard case. Normally, that’s a risky decision: Samsung’s Galaxy Book is an otherwise excellent Windows tablet, but its keyboard case doesn’t allow the flexibility of a true kickstand.

HP Envy x2 Qualcomm Snapdragon PC platform Mark Hachman / IDG

The hinge is now part of the keyboard cover on the HP Envy x2.

Between the Asus NovaGo ultrabook also introduced Tuesday with a Snapdragon 835 and the Envy x2, the Envy x2 is clearly the more eye-catching design. (Check out the Asus NovaGo handson for a more in-depth performance analysis.) We know a bit about it: Kevin Frost, HP’s vice president and general manager of Consumer Personal Systems, said it would include 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, as well as the 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon inside of it. 

Quick specs:

  • Display: 12.3-inch WUXGA+ (1920×1200) panel
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR4
  • Storage: Up to 256GB
  • Connectivity: Snapdragon X16 LTE modem
  • OS: Windows 10 S
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Ship date: Undisclosed

That kickstand, though, intrigues me. HP’s 12.3-inch display contains a 1920×1200 display, connected to a detachable Surface-like keyboard cover with an additional folding hinge. Normally, that hinge is included as part of the tablet. Here, it’s part of the cover, and removing it leaves you with sort of a giant floppy folding sheet of pleather and a silvery tablet without any way of propping it up. That’s a gutsy design call, and time will tell whether it’s the right one.

HP Envy x2 Qualcomm Snapdragon PC platform Mark Hachman / IDG

The HP Envy x2 includes a USB-C port (without Thunderbolt on the left-hand side of the tablet.

The Envy x2 endorses the USB-C connector, though there’s only one, tucked low on the left-hand side and used for charging and I/O. Unfortunately, it lacks Thunderbolt capabilities.

The only other way to tell that this is something a bit different is the SIM card slot on the right-hand side of the tablet—indicative that HP included Qualcomm’s gigabit modem inside, and probably a foreshadowing of similar SIM card slots to come.