A combination of superb hardware and practical software makes the HP Elite x2 1011 G1 one of the best choices for enterprise-focused convertibles, but this premium product comes with a premium price that will leave many looking elsewhere.
Good processor and performance, Power Keyboard gives long battery life, useful security and BYOD software included
Tablet is a little too reliant on the keyboard, low quality cameras, very expensive
£ 1,888 as tested; starting from £1,457
Processor: Intel 5th-gen (Broadwell) Core M-5Y71, Core M-5Y51 or Core M-5Y10c
Display: 11.6in, 1920x1080, 16:9 aspect ratio, IPS touchscreen
Storage: 128GB SSD to 512GB SSD
Connectivity: WiFi, 4G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system: Windows 8.1 Professional or Windows 7 Professional
Weight: 1.67kg with Power Keyboard, 0.89kg without
Battery: 2 x Lithium-ion polymer. Up to 14 hours with Power Keyboard
Businesses looking to replace their desktops with high-end convertible tablets certainly aren't lacking in choice; in the past week alone we've tested two strong contenders, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2 and the Toshiba Portégé Z20t. HP's entry into this increasingly crowded market is the Elite x2 1011 G1, an intriguing attempt at cramming the premium performance of the ElitePad laptop series into a tablet/keyboard combo.
With the included Power Keyboard attached and the clamshell configuration closed, the whole machine measures in at 29.8x20.6x2.08mm. It's true that the tablet, making up over half that thickness at 1.07mm, isn't the skinniest that money can buy. Still, as it weighs a manageable 0.89kg, it's easy enough to use one-handed, and this is only upped to 1.67kg with the keyboard attached. Generally, the Elite x2 1011 G1 is an intelligent compromise between portability and practicality, especially since the keyboard has been granted enough space to feel as comfy and robust as it would on a full-size ultrabook.
Speaking of the keyboard, expect to use it a lot, for two reasons. Firstly, it contains a secondary battery, which adds a few hours of charge as well as a bit of extra weight - meaning that, unlike convertibles with a top-heavy tablet and a featherweight keyboard, it won't tip backwards when used on your lap.
Secondly, the keyboard is where the majority of connectivity options are found. While the choice of ports here is more than serviceable for everyday work - two USB 3.0, one smart card reader, one DisplayPort 1.2 and one docking port for optional, HP-made HDMI/VGA and Ethernet adapters - the actual tablet is left, keyboard connector aside, with scant else but single microSD and micro SIM slots. Not even a microUSB is present, meaning that to connect the tablet to pretty much anything (including the charger), it'll have to be slotted onto the keyboard first. That's both silly and inconvinient, especially for road warriors who will prefer to use the tablet standalone.
The hinge, where the tablet snaps onto the keyboard, isn't quite as rock-solid as we'd like, but this is our only complaint where build quality is concerned. Elsewhere, it's generally top-notch, with the tablet's back panel gaining only a tiny hairline scratch after nearly a full week of usage. Little touches, like the integrated Wacom stylus, fingerprint sensor and backlit keys, also help make the Elite x2 1011 G1 truly feel like a premium device.
The Elite x2 1011 G1 also uses HP's Forcepad trackpad. It replaces conventional left- and right- click buttons with a single pressure-sensitive pad, designed so that dragging, scrolling and zooming can be performed with multitouch gestures. It's a nice idea but too fiddly and finnicky in practice, and we were left wistful for good old-fashioned buttons after the Forcepad failed to detect a left-click for the sixth time.
Despite the disappointment of these design missteps, we were very impressed with the Elite x2 1011 G1's display. At 11.6in diagonally, it's smaller than what you'd find on similarly powered ultrabooks and even certain tablets, but with a full HD resolution of 1920x1080, everything from documents to videos looked splendidly sharp.
Being an IPS display, it also affords a good range of viewing angles, and we can't fault the consistently rich colour quality. When taking the tablet outside, we did find the screen troublesomely reflective, though this was rarely the case indoors.
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