Review HP Envy X2 [FW Labs]
The year 2012 was the year of ultrabooks, those thin laptops notebook shaped but very small thickness. These devices were discrete sales , dudÃ¡ndose format on the effectiveness of a general consumer market demanding lower prices for these devices.
Now in 2013, a new format will attempt to reign in the field of personal computing. This is the x86 tablets, ie mobile devices with Intel or AMD central processor capable of running the operating system Windows 8 PC users can run all kinds of programs that work in Windows XP, Vista or 7. Thus, these new tablets look differentiated mobile operating systems Android and iOS, which have closed application ecosystem.
Here is where the HP Envy X2, a device with a large 11.6-inch touch screen that moves Windows 8 using a new combination of hardware that makes this possible without sacrificing thickness of the device or battery. Given its size and the possibility to connect a physical keyboard easily, also looms as a replacement for netbooks and even current ultrabooks.
We will then see the pros and cons of this new format, with the Envy X2 as one of the first exponents of the new category that seeks to dominate the market for the remainder of 2013.
- Model: HP Envy 11 X2 g050la.
- Availability and price: In Chile CLP $ 459,990, about USD $ 940 for other countries in Latin America.
- Central Processor (CPU): Intel atom Z2760 Cloverview generation, dual-core running at 1.8 GHz Supports hyperthreading (to move processing two threads on each core). It has 1MB of cache and is done under a manufacturing process to 32nm.
- Chip (GPU) PowerVR SGX 545 at a frequency of 533MHz.
- RAM: 2GB LPDDR2 SDRAM running at 533MHz. No expandable.
- Storage: Solid State Drive (SSD) 64 GB integrated.
- Screen: Capacitive Touch. 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 pixels, LED backlit IPS type.
- Connectivity: Card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI video output, Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n WLAN – 1 Ã— 1.
- Battery: It has a built in tablet and one on the removable physical keyboard. A polymer lithium ion 2 cells 2.55 Ah (25 Wh) battery and a lithium-ion polymer cell 2 2.55 Ah (21 Wh).
- Dimensions and weight: 30.3 cm long, 20.6 cm wide and 1.9 cm thick. 1.41 kg.
- Other: 8Mpx rear camera, web camera and microphone Beats Audio sound. Reader does not have optical drives CD / DVD or Ethernet port. It works as an independent tablet and anchored to an external keyboard with integrated extra battery.
- Pre-installed Software: Microsoft Windows 8 32-bit, Microsoft Office (no license), Windows Live Essentials 2011, HP Support Assistant, HP Quick Launch HP Utility Center, Skype, Cyberlink YouCam DE, WildTangent Games, Netflix, Norton Internet Security .
Physical Design and Display
Essentially, we are dealing with a tablet. But certain details that distance themselves from their competition: PC running Windows 8 and has an external physical keyboard which is anchored to the device and leave it as a traditional notebook. This gives us the option to use it in a way ultra-portable and independent tablet, or “transform” an almost notebook if we bring with us the external keyboard, which also includes a secondary battery to extend energy independence.
On one hand, if we look only as we see in the Envy tablet device X2 highly successful, low weight, discrete thickness sized to work with him as comfortable without being so large as to cause discomfort during transportation. And with a weight of 680 grams, it is surprising that despite its quality as light manufacturing.
It turns out that as we saw in our device at First Sight time ago , it used an aluminum body one that gives great strength to the team without sacrificing weight. And the elegant polished aesthetic brings to the device, the tablet being behind a single layer of aluminum and a glass front that covers the top surface completely in a glossy black bezel.
On the other hand, external keyboard maintains the same design and assembly quality, but now aluminum and integrated secondary battery weight significantly contribute to the team leaving, when assembled and has its keyboard plugged in, with a weight of 1.4 Kg shown as a high figure considering that only has a 11.6-inch screen, while some ultrabooks in 2012 with 13.3-inch display weigh 1.2 kg With the keyboard position, weight definitely noticeable and can be annoying.
As shown, the front is only room for 11.6 inch panel resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which does not stand in that sense but benefits of IPS technology to provide wide viewing angles, which allow look at the screen from various positions without distortion of color. Yes we note that the maximum brightness is less than what we are used to in non-touch screens, and responsible to the presence of this technology for this detail which affects visibility under sunlight or in brightly lit environments.
Station keyboard dock
Discreet design and manufacture keeping polished aluminum main tablet, which is where all the hardware and built the first battery, external keyboard or docking station as some like to call it also has an exceptional strength and is very good quality.
The keyboard has standard size keys separate are very comfortable to use, fully meeting its goal of providing the functionality of a notebook when anchored to the tablet. And is that really the user experience changes completely when using this accessory, becoming more efficient and actually making us forget that we are dealing with a tablet.
In addition, external keyboard brings a pair of additional USB ports for connecting peripherals, which are definitely going to need at least to connect a mouse from another manufacturer, as the trackpad built into the Envy X2 leaves much to be desired. Because it uses the same design as HP accustomed place in many of its teams, adding a rough texture that gently steals while moving the finger on the surface, subtracting precision when maneuvering the cursor.
Another detail that can not let go of this accessory is that on one side is the connector for the power charger, which gives power to the primary battery and secondary tablet keyboard. The problem here is that the connector is absent on the tablet, so if we want to charge us for an obligation to bring the external keyboard and the extra weight that entails, even if we do not.
Finally, as already stated, external keyboard integrates a secondary battery that extends the tablet’s energy autonomy. We’ll talk in detail later that, but making a preview, check that the battery life on the tablet integrated primary Envy X2 is exceptional, whereas if we add the secondary battery of the keyboard, we get even better results and they are out of series.
Experience of software use and
The operating system Windows 8 makes sense and justifies its existence when we operate in this kind of devices. Because as we know, the platform has two graphical environments for operation: First Modern UI, where applications run style mobile phone that are optimized for use with touch screens, while on the other hand we have the classic desktop view to move software designed for Windows XP, Vista and 7.
Thus in Modern UI is easy to surf the Internet, check email, listen to music and run light applications when we use only the tablet, understanding why the decision to integrate Microsft gestures and an interface of this class in Windows 8. For a tablet as it is very easy to use. We were so comfortable that we even did a drawing in Fresh Paint, Modern UI application that comes installed from the factory:
And if we stop making things easy (ok, not so easy to draw) and get to work, go to the Desktop view and we can run Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and what we wish:
It is noted as being a tablet, the performance degrades significantly when we asked the HP Envy x2 to behave like a traditional notebook, although anchored external keyboard really seems one of them. For as we shall see in the next section of this review, the computer hardware is very special.
Despite what the experience is not unbearable, being slightly better traumas we live with netbooks of 2010. The team part faster and programs will not open so slow, although it costs to keep more than one pair of semi-intensive programs open at the same time. But if we give realistic and moderate use, we’re just against a team a little slower and not a pathetic team, as were the netbooks of 2010.
A final observation: again, HP junk software installed from the factory too on the computer. Unlicensed Microsoft Office, Windows Live Essentials, games that nobody wants and to the Norton software package. To this we add the large amount of HP proprietary applications, many of which repeat the functionality that is already present in the operating system, such as the HP Support Assistant (pictured above) that provides many options redundant.
And yes, we will complain with special emphasis on the decision of HP, because as we shall see, the hardware resources are limited as to think that you can pre-install software to your computer like a notebook …
Performance and hardware
Being a thin tablet to be running Windows 8 operating system, it was necessary to use humble hardware performance and low power consumption for a device with low heat dissipation, which is not too hot when running intensive applications on it.
Thus, in the HP Envy X2 Cloverview find the next generation Intel Atom processor core, the same as before gave life to the popular netbooks but now renewed for use in tablets. What changed? The Atom architecture there was little change, but it is reached for his graphics chip (GPU) that accompanies the platform, discarding the use of Intel HD integrated graphics and opting for a PowerVR SGX 545, the product is generally found in devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
In addition, we used a type of RAM that is also intended to mobiles (LPDDR2 SDRAM) with integrated storage via solid state is not the same used in PCs: we are facing technology used in smartphones, with its speed quite lower. So, we have a somewhat hybrid platform, with central processor x86 Atom conventional PC but with graphics, RAM and storage of phone, which generates two advantages and one disadvantage dissipates very little heat and consume very little power, but the graphics performance is very poor.
It is for this particular do not have much to compare with the HP Envy X2, as it is a new generation of devices that are intended as a separate tablet Intel x86 platform inside, able to run traditional Windows. This is something that is just beginning to emerge this year 2013 and HP brings now one of the first devices to translate this idea into reality, thus moving away from the concept of ultrabook that dominated 2012.
This will begin to check through our tests. First, integrated testing Windows 8 will evaluate each major component of hardware and awarded a score of 1.0 to 9.9, revealing how balanced the platform in terms of individual performance in each area:
As expected, the lowest point is on the side of computer graphics and 3D performance, while the Intel Atom processor also is weak against the two stable points Platform: RAM and solid state drive (SSD) built.
We now turn to Futuremark PCMark 7 software will automatic tests measure the overall performance of the platform working together, in real work environments such as editing and manipulation of high quality, intensive web browsing and HD video playback , after which scores are given to help us compare to other platforms:
|Futuremark PCMark7||Playback and video encoding (Frames per second)||Processing web pages (Pages per second)||Image Manipulation (Mpx per second)||General|
|Sony VAIO Series E14P||23.0||12.4||9.1||2287|
|HP Pavilion m6-1076la||22.9||10.8||11.4||2005|
|HP Folio 13||23.1||8.3||6.5||3170|
|Samsung Series 7 Gamer||23.0||14.9||9.5||3456|
| Sony VAIO Series T13
|Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin||21.1||4.74||4.7||1289|
|Toshiba Satellite U845W||22.9||10.5||8.5||4488|
|Acer Aspire S7||23.3||12.0||18.7||5133|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||23.4||10.6||16.2||4707|
| HP Envy X2
By some margin is the second lowest score we have achieved, as explained given the bowels almost mobile phone with the device. Anyway do not get such a bad result, it is about a couple that do bring notebook PC hardware inside. Especially encouraging is the score in the field of video playback, where we find that the product does serve when implementing quality multimedia content.
Now begins the suffering for the HP Envy X2. Because software Futuremark 3DMark see where we will require large-scale graphics performance through three tests: Ice Storm being lighter and designed for mobile phones or tablets, Cloud Gate raises the level requirement traditional notebook and squeezes the Fire Strike maximum the graphics chip and processor PC:
|Futuremark 3DMark||Ice Storm||Cloud Gate||Fire Strike|
|Acer Aspire S7||32471||3693||501|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||32435||3394||449|
| HP Envy X2
First, we must explain why no cloud test results and Fire Gate Strike, which are more demanding. It happens that they require DirectX 10 API to run, for which the 545 PowerVR SGX graphics chip does not support it in Windows 8. We are facing a big disadvantage, because many applications require DirectX 10 to run, often in the case of software that is not necessarily intensive 3D treatment, so even if you do not need to run graphics-heavy on the machine, will have applications for we can not use compatibility.
Whereas DirectX 9 (API does support the PowerVR SGX 545) dates from 2009 and DirectX 10 is the year 2006, while in 2009 aired DirectX 11, we are facing a major generational lag in terms of compatibility graph is important to note.
Now, checking the result in Ice Storm also need to worry. Because we scored 3,633 and grace of Futuremark 3DMark is that we can compare the result to the achievements of other devices that also run Ice Storm, like mobile phones and tablets, as they put the HP Envy X2 by the Acer Aspire S7 and Toshiba Satellite U925t is nonsense.
How did we do? With the phone Samsung Galaxy S4 Wayerless.com our friends scored 11,133 points, while the Sony Xperia ZL 8,394 points were achieved . As we leave for getting an idea that 3D performance HP Envy X2 is below several high-end smartphones.
But we turn the page and go to Cinebench 11.5 CPU test which requires the central processor image processing tasks with high resolution, while the score of OpenGL graphics performance test under a different API DirectX and it is now aiming to measure OpenGL:
|Acer Aspire S7||2.67||15.84|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||2.51||13.36|
| HP Envy X2
Again, we could not get the result of graphics for OpenGL. Now, unlike what happened on 3DMark where we could not run all tests due to the lack of support for DirectX 10 technology, the graphics chip does support OpenGL version using Cinebench 11.5, however, began to display errors during execution that prevented completion.
In short, the PowerVR SGX 545 was too slow to run Cinebench 11.5, as it gave errors of delay and lack of performance to complete the minimum required boxes. Again disturbing graphic performance HP Envy X2, scoring as the worst we’ve seen in history. We will stop to reflect:
Should we forgive the poor performance to the HP Envy X2 graphic because it is a tablet PC rather than a fact-and-right?
- In favor say that to be the strategy of HP conserve battery life and generate little heat, integrated graphics chip PowerVR SGX 545 which is normally used in mobile phones is very good idea. We shall see that the battery life is outstanding, and if we could have had at hand a device with ARM processor running Android, Intel Atom dared to put on this platform for compatibility with Windows 8 and the full range of programs Windows XP, Vista and 7.
- Contrary say that may be an irresponsible act put a graphics chip so deficient in something that can be seen and sold as a PC. Because the device is marketed as capable of running everything in Windows 8 and the poor 3D performance seen hardly that promise will be fulfilled. Contributing to this lack of DirectX 10 and worse of that: the generation gap generates only have support for DirectX 9 technology that dates back to 2009.
As we consider this, we analyze the performance of the storage unit integrated 64GB solid, which for a tablet is enough capacity, but if we look like a notebook, is very little. Really, opt for one or the other view can be confusing …
The test CrystalDiskMark 3 we see in the image reveals that the data reading speed is 79MB/seg while writing reaches 34MB/seg. This is very little, very little.
What happened? Again the wind flames mobile phone hardware that brings the HP Envy X2. Because this solid storage unit is in the same category as the view on smartphones, not belonging to the category of solid state drives (SSD) for PCs and notebooks we know so well .
To get an idea in an old notebook with spinning hard drive could reach 100MB/sec data transfer. On the other hand, SSDs in Ultrabooks we showed on average 500MB/sec. That’s why 34MB/seg 79MB/seg and figures are too low, affecting the response times the team to launch applications and load the operating system when ignited, which is quite noticeable when running programs in Windows 8 on the environment desktop, but it conceals very well in Modern UI.
Almost by evil, we’ll run Far Cry 2 on this machine. This is a common test we do on computers we have, but as we have seen above, the graphics performance is very poor team and we know we will not get anything good by doing this exercise. But we want to create.
Then run the benchmark tool to 1280 Ã— 720, on DirectX 9, no anti-aliasing filter and optimal overall quality, in a special configuration for this occasion, as in all the other teams we’ve tested are much more demanding and tried aa resolution of 1280 Ã— 720, DirectX 10 with filter on Anti-Aliasing (4x) and optimal overall quality. But even with this advantage …
||Average FPS||Maximum FPS||Minimum FPS|
|HP Pavilion m6-1076la||32||51||23|
|HP Folio 13||11||16||7|
|Samsung Series 7 Gamer||100||142||75|
|Sony VAIO Series T13||16||26||11|
| Samsung Series 5 Ultrathin
|Toshiba Satellite U845W||17||27||11|
|Acer Aspire S7||16||25||11|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||15||21||10|
| HP Envy X2
Seriously that happened. Questions?
Everything happens for a reason in life and in this case, the terrible performance of the tablet makes sense when we analyze its energy independence. Because really high and reach surprising times, the best we’ve seen.
First we measure the performance of the tablet by itself, using the integrated primary battery. We will use the software to run on Futuremark PowerMark automated web browsing, watching videos and several other predefined tasks repeatedly, allowing us to establish a standard bar to compare different devices over time using the same parameters.
|Futuremark PowerMark||Battery Time (hr: min)|
|Acer Aspire S7||3:17|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||2:17|
| HP Envy X2 (primary battery)
Really surprising, considering that the time of Powermark is a pessimistic scenario and that in real life, we can double the usage time of the computer before connecting to the mains, so not only have the highest we’ve seen (beating a big as the Aspire S7), but also we see a figure in everyday use will be very useful for working long hours.
Now, reviewing plays energy independence when we keep connected external keyboard. Recall that it has an integrated secondary battery, which as seen in the image is added to the principal to extend the life of equipment before entering idle for lack of energy.
And the performance is really amazing (photo or fake):
|Futuremark PowerMark||Battery Time (hr: min)|
|Acer Aspire S7||3:17|
|Toshiba Satellite U925t||2:17|
| HP Envy X2 (primary battery)
| HP Envy X2 (primary + secondary battery)
Just great, because as we said, Powermark Futuremark test is to set a common standard across multiple devices but is rather pessimistic, so you should double this time to reflect the use in real life that you can get to give the device .
This is when we get our reward for poor performance graph and the heavy weight of external physical keyboard. The battery life is the best we’ve seen by far, and that alone can already be prompting some to run to the stores with your wallet in hand.
In terms of performance are left with doubts. Yes it is one of the worst I’ve seen, but considering that the bowels are almost mobile phone, you get a tremendous energy efficiency and low operating temperatures, so if we see the device like a tablet, we are facing a the best in the market. But as PC does not go so well, and while the experience is fluid enough to disguise its true nature mobile, we doubt that the future performance remains current with the rapid advance of computing.
The dilemma we face is this: I buy it as a tablet or a notebook? If you need a tablet, get much more than that with the Envy X2: Windows working environment, exceptional battery, great production, good connectivity and so on.
But if you were looking ultrabook notebook sized or small, we have some disadvantages: overall graphics performance discrete and bad, high and weight somewhat exaggerated price for Intel Atom.
The issue here is whether we take the offer mixed making equipment. Because we are dealing with a new format, which are tablets x86 (or whatever you call them) and to be seen what kind of users able to penetrate with their particular characteristics. We have the best notebook or the tablet more portable, but an exceptionally functional special device. From then on, you will see the consumer if this offer fits him or not, but give a tip if you are interested in purchasing the HP Envy X2: take a look at Microsoft Surface Pro first before taking the wallet.
The Safety Pin
- Battery exceptional.
- Great quality materials and workmanship.
- It is believable both as a tablet and notebook mode.
- Elegant design.
- Good external keyboard.
- Offer new and innovative.
- Trackpad is weak.
- Graphics performance terrible.
- High weight with integrated external keyboard.
- Excess pre-installed software at the factory.