There are faster, lighter 2-in-1 devices around, but the Pavilion x2 offers a better price-to-performance ration than you might think. A tablet-mounted USB port, full Windows 10 OS and a free subscription to Office 365 Personal also help it avoid the bargain bin.
Cheap, runs Windows 10, full-size USB on the tablet
No extra ports on the keyboard dock, low-res display, small internal storage, poor cameras
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3736F
Display: 10.1in IPS at 1280x800 resolution and 149ppi
Ports: One USB 2.0, one USB Type-C, one mini HDMI and one microSD
Storage: 32GB-1TB SSD
Operating system: Windows 10 Home
The HP Pavilion x2 comes with some pretty impressive specs for such a cheap device: eight blazing cores and a sparkling QHD display.
That said, we did approach the Pavilion x2 - which starts at a relatively microscopic £230 - with slightly tempered expectations. Could such a low-cost device really work as an everyday laptop/tablet hybrid? Many hours of testing later, we have an answer: yes, kind of.
Rather than deploying a 360-degree hinge, the Pavilion x2 derives its flexibility from the ability to remove the touchscreen entirely, allowing it to either be used as a standalone slate or be inserted backwards into the keyboard, creating various ‘stand', ‘tent' and - redundantly - ‘tablet' configurations.
Unlike similar hybrids, such as the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet, the Pavilion x2 connects the screen to the keyboard via a nine-pin docking connector rather than Bluetooth. This has the advantage of not requiring the two to be manually paired together after every restart, but also prevents the keyboard working with the tablet unless the two are physically connected and in the standard laptop layout.
This keyboard is fairly cramped - par for the course with 10.1in machines, sadly - but we got used to it quickly, and the keys are spaced far enough apart to minimise mistakes. We much prefer using it to the screen-hogging digital keyboard, especially since poking at the latter in the stand configuration causes it to bounce back and forth on the pivot.
Nonetheless, the Pavilion x2 did prove resilient against damage during our travels with it. We actually had a stronger adverse reaction to the aesthetics - it's all dull plastics and grim greys - than the build quality, which is decent for the price. At 260x170x16.8mm and 1.12kg with the keyboard, or 260x170x9.7mm and 590g without, it's also thinner and lighter than we thought it would be, though it's not quite as slimline as the Xperia Z4 Tablet or the Asus Transformer Book Chi T100.
The selection of ports is good by tablet standards but poor by laptop standards. The Pavilion x2 includes one full-size USB 2.0 port, a new-fangled USB Type-C port (which is used for charging), one mini HDMI connector and a microSD slot. These are all located on the tablet, not the keyboard, which makes it one seriously kitted-out slate; it's hard to find a full-size USB port on any tablet outside the Microsoft Surface range.
However, on a traditional laptop, which the Pavilion x2 aims to replace, you could expect three to four USB ports. It's nice that the keyboard section is so thin, but we think we could forgive a bit of extra bulk in exchange for some additional connectivity for peripherals and thumb drives.
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