For tech enthusiasts, Chromebooks can be an acquired taste. Advanced users don’t need a stripped-down operating system, and the low computing power generally disqualifies Chromebooks as a serious, primary PC. But Chromebooks can often find a welcome place in an enthusiast’s home as a secondary or (after the phone) tertiary device. And when that Chromebook comes in a detachable form factor with a screen slightly larger than most competitors, it fits that role well.
The HP Chromebook x2 two-in-one capitalizes on this space with an 11-inch display that offers more screen space than rivals like the 10.1-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet, the 10.5-inch Microsoft Surface Go 3, or even similarly priced iPads. HP’s portable, bendable (and did we mention blue?) Chromebook is ripe for travel and less intensive tasks.
|Specifications at a glance: HP Chromebook x2|
|Screen||11-inch 2160×1440 IPS touchscreen|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Computing Platform|
|RAM||4GB LPDDR4x-2133||8GB LPDDR4x-2133|
|Storage||64GB eMMC||128GB eMMC||64GB eMMC|
|GPU||Qualcomm Adreno 618 (integrated)|
|Networking||Qualcomm Atheros 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5|
|Ports||2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C), 1x microSD card reader|
|Mate||9.9 × 7 × 0.3 in (252.5 × 176.8 × 7.6 mm)|
|Weight||With keyboard and stand: 1.2 lb; Tablet only: 1 lb|
|Price (list price)||$570||$680||$600|
|Other benefits||HP Rechargeable USI Pen||4G LTE||HP Rechargeable USI Pen|
Despite a suggested retail price of $600-$680, depending on configuration, I’ve seen the HP Chromebook x2 at more appropriate retail prices of $370, $400, or $480. Given the power level, the touchpad requiring a hard surface, and a keyboard cover. that feels like a temporary fix, you’ll want to wait for that discount.
A little color never hurt anyone
I appreciate a piece of engineering that isn’t afraid to show some color. Those who like a typical looking computer can get the Chromebook x2 in Shade Grey. But for those craving more flavor, there’s Night Teal.
Anyway, the computer itself is silver (with thick black borders); HP is not Which in bold. What Night Teal gets you is a detachable keyboard and back cover/stand in an exciting ocean-like shade of blue. That blue makes the white font pop on the keyboard and is just dark enough not to look childish — a fine line to walk for any Chromebook.
Powerful magnets secure the back cover to the tablet and help hold the keyboard in place with five-point pogo pins. Attachments required minimal work; the magnets just pull everything into place.
On its own, the back is thin but hard. It didn’t budge when I tried to bend it, except with firm movements at the designated metal hinge. I still felt safe with the Chromebook tilted back up to 170 degrees, allowing me to type in my most aggressive way or mark on the screen with the stylus.
Thin, detachable keyboards like these aren’t long-term solutions for hardcore typists, but I was pleased with how easily the system plugs into the keyboard. It reliably wakes up from sleep when opened and closed, just like a real clamshell. Occasionally, however, the on-screen keyboard wouldn’t show up when I needed it (signing out or rebooting always solved that problem, though). This may be a flaw of Chrome OS, but it’s still a potential downside to opting for a detachable device.
The two accessories are coated in polyurethane, with a beautiful, slightly textured finish. The system itself has the reflective HP logo on the back, joined by a Chromebook logo and a camera bump.
With the stand on, the only visible branding comes from the Bang & Olufsen stamp on the cladding on the left. It also houses two 5Gbps USB-C ports and a microSD card reader, separated by a volume rocker. At first I found it strange that a volume control interrupted the flow of ports. But this turned out to be a smart layout because I ended up using the USB-C ports and volume rocker the most. About as good as it gets for Chromebooks, the USB-C ports offer USB Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.2 so you can connect a supporting monitor.
On the right side of the screen is a WWAN LTE slot. Opting for 4G LTE requires payments to your service provider as well as the most expensive configuration of the Chromebook x2, which for some reason doesn’t come with a stylus (you can buy HP’s pen separately for $49). I wish you didn’t have to choose between 4G or a stylus.
The computer weighs one pound without the stand and keyboard and 1.2 pounds with them attached. Keep the stand and keyboard on when traveling, because even those parts show three sides of the edges of the computer. The machine is made from a single piece of CNC machined aluminum and uses Gorilla Glass on the screen to fight off scratches, so it’s not cheaply finished, but it’s possible that the power button is accidentally pressed or the stylus is pressed. pressed the side of the screen.
An 11-inch screen offers a larger playing field than the 10.1-inch Lenovo Chromebook Duet or the 10.5-inch Surface Go 3. Still, the system does not get heavier. When using the keyboard, the x2 is lighter than the Chromebook Duet (2 pounds). If you’re not, HP’s device weighs the same as the Lenovo and a hair lighter than the Surface Go 3 (1.2 pounds).
The bigger screen means a bigger system, but not by much. HP’s Chromebook is 9.9 × 7 × 0.3 inches, Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet is 9.6 × 6.3 × 0.3 inches, and Microsoft Surface Go 3 is 9.7 × 6.9 × 0.3 inches.