HP Elite X2 1012 review: An enterprise-level, two-in-one laptop that's too business-minded to be much fun

 
Steve Hogarty
Follow Steve
If tablets could smile, the HP Elite X2 would never smile, because it is thinking too hard about business matters
HP Elite X2 1012
3.0

There’s a great deal to dislike about the HP Elite X2 1012, a business-level, tablet-laptop hybrid with a sleek and detachable aluminium keyboard and a surprisingly lovely iPhone 5 style chamfered finish.

You’ve got ugly little grievances, like the default, HP-branded desktop wallpaper, which appears to be a picture of a petri dish filled with spit. Then there are the words “Bang & Olufsen” perched on the top left corner of the bezel like a branding gargoyle (the sound quality, incidentally, is not especially great), while in the opposite corner Intel has slapped its gaudy, thumbnail-sized holographic sticker.

In isolation these things are hardly the design crimes of the century, but taken together they’re aesthetic poison. The HP Elite X2 is a very expensive (£1,228.80) object doing its level best to look like it’s been plucked from a Currys’ bargain bucket.

But that’s missing the point. Armed with enterprise-grade security and networking features, this is a two-in-one that’s more concerned with function than appearance. In that regard – the boring regard that makes IT managers rub their thighs in excitement – the HP Elite X2 is a top performing device.

The gorilla glass screen can be freely popped off, allowing access to the tablet’s innards where you can swap out encrypted drives and other components like a tinkering elf. The tablet is notepad-thin and weighs less than two pounds, roughly quarter the weight of an average housecat. It comes with a Wacom stylus, though with few ways to store it besides a couple of inelegant and cheap solutions – an adhesive band or (honestly) a bit of string – it’s destined to be lost or swallowed.

Battery life is lacking in comparison to similar machines. A full charge will get you through a day of use, but you’ll want to stay in arm’s reach of a charger at most times.

The display is merely okay, but at only 1,280 pixels tall it falls way short of the retina-display sharpness of the class-leading Surface Pro 4. But it’s worth reiterating, the HP Elite X2 isn’t pitched as an entertainment device. “Fye on your pixels,” says its all-business screen for spreadsheets and pie charts, “and stop watching Netflix at work.”

If you’re after a toy, the Surface Pro 4 is the two-in-one you’ll want in this price range. Otherwise the HP Elite X2 is boring and sensible, a businessman in the streets, a businessman in the sheets, a businessman in the bedroom and the kitchen and in every room in between.

£1,280, store.hp.com

Related articles