HP Envy X2 Snapdragon 835 Laptop Hands on Review

We have been patiently waiting for the HP Envy X2 to be released ever since we heard about it back in 2017.

You may be wondering what makes it so special when compared to other similar 2 in 1 tablets. The answer lies with the Snapdragon 835 chip a the heart of this new laptop. Some of you may recognize that name from the mobile world as these are the same chips used in the latest and greatest phones.

This is one of two laptops to be released with the Snapdragon chip at its core. The other being the Asus NovaGo clamshell style laptop which takes a more traditional approach by having an attached keyboard.

Why use Snapdragon

Microsoft have been working hard to make windows compatible with Snapdragon chips via emulation, but why bother?

Snapdragon 835 chips aren’t just CPU’s like a traditional Intel or AMD CPU. They are what is referred to as a Sytem on a Chip (SoC). This combines things such as the CPU and GPU as well as new features such as LTE support.

Using a SOC comes with quite a few benefits.

HP Envy X2 Specs

  • Snapdragon 835
  • 4/8gb of RAM
  • 256gb SSD Storage
  • 1080p touch display
  • LTE support
  • 20+ hour battery life
  • 6.9mm thick
  • Detachable keyboard
  • Stylus support
  • Windows 10S (Free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro)

HP Envy X2 Features

Battery Life

The main benefit the everyday user will notice with a Snapdragon powered HP Envy X2 will be the increased battery life.

A snapdragon chip uses a little big architecture on the CPU which means you have 4 low power cores and 4 high power cores so that you can conserve power when you don’t need it.

The compact size also means there is more room for batteries and because of the lower heat output, you don’t need to power any CPU fans, which in turn means this HP Envy X2 is a thinner and lighter device that consists mostly of the battery.

All these combined means that the HP Envy X2 is getting a multi-day battery life. We are looking at 20-25 hours plus of continuous video playback which is unheard off in the laptop world.

Our experience was that we were able to go home and use the HP Envy X2 all weekend with our regular use and when we got back in on the Monday we still had over 40% battery left! Try doing that on an Intel powered laptop and you will generally be left without a laptop until you can scramble for the charger.

LTE Support

Next on the list is the LTE support that comes with using a Snapdragon chip.

There is a sim card slot in the side of the HP Envy X2 which allows you to be connected wherever you are. Just like your tablet or phone.

Always On

Normally if you put your Intel powered laptop to sleep then it will take at least a few seconds to wake from its slumber and get everything kicking back into action.

The HP Envy X2, on the other hand, works more like a tablet or phone in the sense that it is always on standby and is never truly off (unless you really want it to). This means that it wakes up instantly and also means that you will still receive notifications while the device is “off”.

The HP Envy X2 manages to do this with minimal battery drain. Doing the same on an Intel or AMD powered laptop would mean a dead laptop.

Design

The design of the HP Envy X2 resembles the design of a Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet. The only real difference is that the stand is built into the cover and that the HP Envy X2 is passively cooled, meaning it’s thinner and lighter with no vents or noisy fans.

Without the keyboard, you would be forgiven for thinking that the HP Envy X2 is just a big Android tablet due to the beautiful thin design. That is until you turn it on and realize that it is powered by windows

The attachable keyboard is similar to the keyboard you will find on the Microsoft Surface Pro, but instead of Alcantara leather, you get plastic which may seem like a downside, however, the keyboard is an expensive extra with the Microsoft Surface Pro. With the HP Envy X2 you get the keyboard in the box.

Another expensive extra with the Surface is the Stylus and yet again you get this in the box with the HP Envy X2.

Both the keyboard and the Stylus that comes in the box feel fantastic and although we preferred the keyboard and stylus that comes with the Surface. These do however take a very close second place and feel responsive and well built.

Overall the HP Envy X2 is a well-built machine with a full metal body and premium feel overall.

Screen

The 1080p 12.3-inch touchscreen on the HP Envy X2 is absolutely beautiful. It’s bright and colors pop.

Some may have wanted a 4k screen but we found that 1080p is more than enough for the 12.3-inch screen size. The bright and colorful display more than makes up for the resolution.

HP Envy X2 Performance

The Snapdragon chips weren’t built with productivity in mind and there is no point in a lovely thin and light laptop which isnt capable of opening basic programs.

Thankfully the HP Envy X2 feels snappy and just like a regular laptop. Don’t get us wrong you wont be wanting to game on the HP Envy X2 but it is more than enough for general work and browsing.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking isn’t as easy as just running geek bench like other laptops though because Windows is running an emulation layer to allow x86 applications to run on the ARM architecture. This means that anything not built with ARM support won’t run as well.

The benchmarking software usually used on windows hasn’t been optimized yet and so we cannot get an accurate benchmark because of this.

What we have seen from android benchmarks though is that without an emulation layer the Kyro CPU that comes on the Snapdragon 835 chip is comparable to an Intel i3 CPU.

Real World Usage

After using the HP Envy X2 though we can say that it is more than enough for light work and general browsing and feels pretty snappy in everyday use.

We tried using some basic Photoshop and Premiere Pro and general usage felt snappy enough for some light use. It’s no video rendering monster though and we would recommend a more powerful machine if you are regularly crunching out 4k video.

Over time more and more applications will gain ARM support and performance will get better and better.

Conclusion

So if you are in the market for a thin and light 2 in 1 then should you buy the HP Envy X2 or a similar Intel powered laptop?.

If you only want to do some light work or browsing then this device is perfect. It’s crazy battery life and always on LTE support blurs the lines between laptop and tablet so you get the best from both worlds.

If you need a workhorse and you are going to be attached to a wall via power cord then a traditional laptop is worth going for.

Either way, competition is a good thing and it will be interesting to see how Intel responds to its newfound competition. They have AMD nipping at their heels on Desktops and now Snapdragon threatening their laptop line of CPU’s which means they will have to get their thumbs out their butts and stop holding back.

 

 

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