The HP Chromebook x2 11 Is a Terrific Tablet but an Average Laptop

The HP Chromebook x2 11 Is a Terrific Tablet but an Average Laptop
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a strange device, effectively being what I expect from an Android tablet while also bringing over all the good things about a Windows laptop.

Despite this, although it effectively brings with it the most satisfying Android tablet experience I’ve had so far, parts of it feel finicky and not as sturdy as they should. It also introduces unique, counter-intuitive problems. Here’s our HP Chromebook x2 11 review.

HP Chromebook x2 11

WHAT IS IT?

It’s HP’s latest high-spec chromebook, a mix between a tablet and a laptop.

PRICE

$998

LIKE

Terrific tablet, gaming and streaming performance

NO LIKE

Finicky keyboard, unsatisfying back support and high price

The HP Chromebook x2 11 makes for a terrific tablet

Having recently used the TCL TAB 10S 2022 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE, I’ve been a bit burned when it comes to tablets. Performance has been all-round underwhelming with little to write home about.

This is, of course, aided by the fact that Apple largely goes unchallenged in terms of tablets. It’s hard to beat a new iPad for $499.

Then I got to using the HP Chromebook x2 11 (11 as in 11-inch screen), an HP device mixed with the Android-based ChromeOS, which is very much just Android for bigger screens.

Gotta say, I don’t really understand why this operating system isn’t just the standard for tablets. It’s really good, merging the best things about a Windows laptop with an Android tablet (the taskbar, the touch-screen, the ability to just find stuff with an easy tap or click).

The OS is fast, too. Over my week of using it regularly; to write articles, to stream stuff, to play League of Legends: Wild Rift and to do some light browsing, I noticed very few hangups. The screen is crystal clear, with a 2K resolution on an IPS panel.

HP Chromebook x2 11
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Just on gaming, using the back support of this device, I was able to get quite a comfortable grip on the device. It’s not the intended use, but it helped when playing games in bed. Gaming is supported by an Adreno 618 GPU, 8GB RAM and a Snapdragon SC7180 CPU. It also has 128GB storage capacity, expandable by a microSD card.

Battery-wise too, as you’d expect, it’s only once you start to put this thing under a bit of pressure that battery usage starts to go down.

Using Google Docs via Chrome over six hours, with multiple tabs open, I managed to get this thing from 100 per cent down to about 10 per cent. Gaming, however, chewed away at the Chromebook. From 100 per cent, the device went down to 70 per cent after just 20 minutes of League of Legends: Wild Rift. Charging is easily serviced by a USB-C cable, taking about an hour and a half to get from 10 per cent to 100.

Overall, the tablet side of things made for a terrific experience, perhaps my best experience with an Android tablet so far. It’s fast, the battery lasts days on end on standby, the performance is great and it does everything you could ask from it.

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is not the best laptop

While there are two sides to this 2-in-1 Chromebook coin, one is significantly weightier than the other. I’ll tell anyone that the Chromebook OS provides one of the best tablet experiences for an Android device, but the actual laptop side of things for the HP Chromebook x2 11 isn’t exactly satisfying. This is where my HP Chromebook X2 11 review meets a sharp turn.

I understand the logic behind the stand, the piece you pull from the back of the device to make it stand upright when using its attachable keyboard (for which there’s slots in the side of the tablet to connect the two parts) or to just make the screen stand on its own. It’s a productivity thing combined with the idea that the 2-in-1 form factor doesn’t need to be sacrificed by a hinge.

hp chromebook x2 11review
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Except the back stand is annoying and I’ll fight any Microsoft Surface/Chromebook fanboy about it. Manufacturers have been doing this for years and it has never, in my opinion, felt right.

Without a keyboard sturdy enough to hold the screen up, you sacrifice being able to use the keyboard in bed, on the couch or other uneven surfaces (as it’ll likely fall over if not on a flat surface. The keyboard, for its thin form, is also hard to use on uneven surfaces). The keyboard itself feels tiny and flimsy, as if a small drop could break it.

Conceptually, back to productivity, I don’t see the logic. This thing is tiny. An 11-inch screen with a keyboard that has your hands near touching each other. Typing away on the Chromebook writing this review now, I feel claustrophobic relying on its small size. This device makes much more sense as an entertainment, odds-and-ends at home device than as a productivity device.

The worst part is that it’s completely unnecessary. HP has, in the past, produced keyboards that connect to 2-in-1s that can support the weight of their screens. Personally, I’ve owned one of these things running Windows 10. The keyboard being able to support the weight of the device does wonders for what you can do with it. I think, for a 2-in-1 this satisfying to use, it’s unfortunate that it’s held back by something so menial.

hp chromebook x2 11 review
Left: My old HP 2-in-1. Right: The HP Chromebook x2 11. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Alas, for much of the Chromebook market, it looks like a decision between this thing’s thin form factor and larger, bulkier, Windows-style laptops.

We’re late into the proof-of-concept stage

I love this tablet, but I dislike this laptop. My HP Chromebook x2 11 review is split between these two modes.

As a tablet, it fires off on all cylinders, coming back to the prime question of tablets that is “What if phone, but big?” and answers “What if it was fast and made for a decent gaming device, too?”.

Conversely, as a laptop, HP has continued providing this back-stand and flimsy keyboard approach that solves zero problems and has no solutions for the ones that it creates (unless you decide to use accessories).

Aesthetically it looks great, but I don’t think the concept matches what people would actually do with this device. The focus on being versatile with a more flexible form factor actually ends up hurting the device, when you consider that it actually isn’t as much of a joy to use on some surfaces (like on the couch, in bed or on any uneven surface, really) compared to something like a MacBook and that it’s too tiny for productive, hours on-end work.

At $998, it’s a disappointment that this device can’t get both experiences right, but I am content that a good Android tablet experience does exist in this thing.