It's hard to build a cheap two-in-one PC that doesn't have something fundamentally wrong with it. Believe us, we've looked — lower end convertibles usually have bad screens, flimsy hinges or sell essential accessories separately. Then something like the new 10-inch HP Pavilion x2 comes along. It's small, costs only $US300 and, at first blush, seems to do almost everything right.
Don't be too surprised if the name sounds familiar: HP released a detachable with the same moniker late last year, but that thing had a flexible keyboard which became detached a little too easy. HP fixed that: the new model has a proper hard-bodied keyboard with a firm magnetic connection and a proper hinge.
OK, that's pretty common for a detachable notebook, sure — but did I mention that the x2's new keyboard is reversible? It is, and it's pretty awesome:
The x2's tablet half looks similar to its predecessor, but there are plenty of changes here, too — including a USB Type-C charging connector, a micro HDMI port and a purported 10 hours of battery life. The keyboard is a little cramped, but it's not bad for a $US300 Windows 8 tablet. Not bad at all.
HP is refreshing a few of its other laptops, too — specifically its 14, 15.6 and 17-inch HP ENVY laptops. These are fairly standard upgrades, packing in fifth generation Core i5 and i7 processors from Intel, the option for AMD FX and A10 processors and NVIDIA GTX 940M, 950M or AMD Radeon R7 and R6 graphics.
These laptops did get their own chassis upgrade, though: the Envy 14 and 15.6 now feature a neat, wrap-around hinge that elevates the back of the machine when opened — giving the keyboard a comfortable slant.
All of these machines are set to debut next month — with the entry level Pavilion x2 starting at $US300 and and the Envy selling for $US700-1000, depending on size and configuration.