HP Envy X2 Review: A Satisfying Intel-Powered Always Connected PC

HP Envy X2: Summary and Final Analysis

Interestingly enough, the assignment to review this LTE-enabled HP Envy X2 came at the perfect time. I was actually on the road, and the evaluation unit was shipped not to my home in Oregon, but to a stop at the halfway point of what would eventually be a two-month, 5,000-mile road trip. As such, the Envy X2 functioned as my primary computing device on the road for the entire second month of the trip, traveling from southern Texas to central Arizona, and from there to San Diego, CA and back up the coast to Oregon. It was a bit of a grueling trip and the HP Envy X2 was there every step of the way; I'm glad to say that it was an almost-perfect traveling companion.

Folks who travel in motor homes or travel trailers know that Wi-Fi on the road can be iffy. Even in RV parks that advertise Wi-Fi, the reality is that the signal is usually spotty to the point of being non-existent. And at state parks or in wilderness camps (so-called boondocking), there's no Wi-Fi at all.
hp envy x2 style 2
Enter the Envy X2. In four weeks of almost solid travel, the machine never let me down. Even in areas with a fairly weak Verizon signal, I never dropped a connection, never encountered a problem. I watched a number of movies and YouTube videos using LTE, and never saw my stream stutter or buffer after the initial start-up. Honestly, the experience was every bit as good as my home Wi-Fi.

Since we didn't always have electricity during the trip, I worried a bit about battery life, but I needn't have. The Envy X2 doesn't have the staying power of, say, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 or the Dell XPS 13, but we got a respectable 7+ hours out of it during our torture test. In the real world, the Envy X2's battery delivered plenty of power for normal use. I could go 2-3 days without charging and still be able to use the machine for a few hours each evening browsing the wed, writing, and just tooling around.

My only real complaint about the Envy X2 is its flexible keyboard. It is supposed to be usable as a laptop alternative, after all, but it's not a machine that you'd actually be comfortable using on your lap. The keyboard, which feels and works well otherwise for such a thin device, is just too flexible. You end up having to put something flat on your lap to support the keyboard. On the other hand, that's a common complaint from users of many 2-in-1 devices (or of tablets with add-on keyboards) like the Microsoft Surface, which a byproduct of vendors' attempts to make a detachable keyboard that's very thin and light. It's simply a design compromise that we usually have to live with.

So, the big question: Would I buy an HP Envy X2? Yes, I would. It's a fine machine that does everything it needs to and, as I spend a lot of time on the road, the LTE connection is worth its weight in gold. It's no fun not being connected, and with this machine you can be connected in style.

The HP Envy X2 strikes us as a middle-of-the-road machine. It's no powerhouse, even fitted with the Intel Core i5 chip, but we wouldn't consider it under-powered for its intended use case. The display is excellent, audio output is quite good, and the included keyboard provides decent tactile feedback and smooth action.

This HP hybrid 2-in-1 is a solid example of the compromises a manufacturer must make when creating a system that must work as both an affordable laptop and a highly portable tablet. It's imperfect, but it's an attractive, well-built mainstream machine, and its ability to transform into a useful, usable tablet running a full-blown OS adds to its luster.

Of course, the always-connected nature of the system is a huge selling point. Yes, an LTE Verizon or Sprint account (or adding the device to your existing wireless plan) is going to add cost. However, being always connected adds a lot of value, and in some cases, it's a necessity. The connectivity we experienced was seamless and serviceable as well. We routinely got 8-15Mbps download speeds with 30-40ms of latency, even with relatively weak Verizon connections in remote locations. It's no gigabit Ethernet, but it turns out to be plenty fast enough to work and to stream a Netflix or YouTube video. HP has executed well on the vision and goals of the Always Connected PC with the Envy X2, and working with it on the road in real world use cases proved satisfying.

 hot  not
  • Always Connected
  • Light and Thin
  • Decent Battery Life
  • Excellent Display
  • Case, Keyboard, and Stylus Included
  • Middle-Of-The-Road Performance
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Laggy Stylus Takes Some Getting Used To
  • Floppy Keyboard

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