An unusual new product launch to have at MWC 2014 is this new HP laptop with a twist – or rather a swivel.
Toting full Windows 8.1, the x360 is a traditional clam shell laptop that, like Lenovo’s Yoga line-up, is designed to bend around completely to form a tablet, while it can also be stood in a tent-style mode.
If you do swivel it completely around the keyboard turns off, so you don’t need to worry about unintended operation. It’s available in this striking red as well as silver and black, and I have to say I rather liked it.
That’s because it’s rather unlike every other convertible PC on the market: it’s not an ultra-portable with premium pricing. Instead this is a convertible aimed at a US$399 price point – we expect it to be £399 or less in the UK but this is unconfirmed.
But compromises were made with the x360 to hit that point and they leave a rather bitter taste. While we loved the overall design, keyboard, trackpad and ports – the low-spec Intel Pentium processor and display are disappointing.
The 720p resolution isn’t that surprising for this price point, but the extremely glossy touch panel lacks vibrancy and punchy colors. These specification choices really do affect our overall impression of the laptop, but again it’s all for the price.
The model we looked at here featured the Pentium N3520 clocked at 2.16GHz as well as 4GB of RAM. You can also get a version featuring the N2820 (2.13GHz) and 8GB of RAM. Despite using the archaic Pentium name, these are dual-core chips based not on the latest Core micro-architecture, but instead on Bay Trail for low powered devices, like tablets (processors in tablets are referred to as Atoms).
These are designed to be low-power, so the battery on this laptop should last – but the jury’s still out as to how this laptop will cope with more complicated apps.
Hard drive-wise, there are several options between 320GB and 750GB, as well as a hybrid hard drive for fast boot should you wish.
As with many HP laptops, the x360 features beefed-up audio courtesy of Beats Audio. The chassis has a fingerprint resistant soft-touch finish while the keyboard surround is formed from brushed aluminum. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included as you’d expect, while there is an integrated headphone/mic jack, a USB 3.0 port, two standard USBs, HDMI and a full-size Ethernet port.
Volume rocker controls are also included on the side so you can still adjust the sound when in tablet mode. The whole thing weighs in at around 1.4KG, so it’s not light – around the same heft as three iPad Airs, for example.
HP Pavilion x360 availability is now, but it will be released this summer with up to 250MB per month of free HP DataPass access for two years – essentially giving you roaming mobile broadband. The laptop also comes with McAfee Security pre-installed.
The x360 has a really great price point and user modes, but we can’t help but be disappointed with the relative lack of power. We know it’s a budget device, but we’d certainly rather pay a little more for a tad more get-up-and-go.