The HP ENVY x2 comes with an Intel Atom Z2760 1.80GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. At the time of this writing there are no upgrade options available, just one fixed configuration with the following specs:
Essentially what you get with the Envy x2 is netbook like performance, the Cedar Trail family Atom processor from Intel is new but rather unexciting performance wise -- though it does do well on the power consumption front (see the battery life section). When playing a YouTube 1080p video of Michelle Obama reading "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" the processor utilization was up near 100% with just a couple of other idling applications open. Video stuttering occurred that was unrelated to bandwidth issues and that is frankly unacceptable for a modern tablet or PC. You can see the screenshot below for evidence of the high CPU utilization:
YouTube 1080p video can be more demanding as the processor has to work with the wireless card to receive data and then decode and playback the video. Still, if you were planning on being able to play 1080p video on a larger screen Full HD monitor attached via HDMI you might take pause for concern. The same 1080p YouTube video being played on my Intel Core i5-3210m equipped ThinkPad X230 took up only about 40% processor utilization with no stutter. In another comparison to the Intel Core i5-3210m, the Atom Z2760 was almost three times slower when running the wPrime benchmark to 32 million. It took the Intel Core i5-3210m 21.5 seconds to do this math while it took the Atom Z2760 61.4 seconds.
The bottom line here is that the Intel Atom processor in the ENVY x2 will not allow you do multi-tasking with several heavy duty applications running at once and for any processor intensive tasks such as encoding video or crunching several million numbers you're going to have to wait and watch. If you're just doing one thing at a time and are only interested in basic computing tasks then the Atom will be just fine.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
Overall system performance is best measured using FutureMark's PCMark 7 benchmark that stresses out all performance related components of a notebook. Running this benchmark on the ENVY x2 yielded a score of 1,432. Compare that to the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 PCMark 7 score of 4,274 and Dell XPS 12 score of 4,711 and you can really see why the HP ENVY x2 is in a lower league of performance due to its more tablet oriented design and component architecture.
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark that measures overall system performance in Windows 7(higher scores mean better performance):
One saving grace for performance might have been a fast SSD, but instead with the ENVY x2 you get not a true SSD but rather eMMC flash memory inside. The read and write performance of the flash memory inside was far slower than a high quality mini SSD such as the Crucial m4. Worse still is the fact the capacity is only 64GB and 10GB of that is already taken up as a recovery partition. After discounting for the OS and other installed programs you only have about 40GB of capacity remaining out of the box. To get an idea of how the flash memory storage inside the ENVY x2 stacks up to the Crucial m4 mSSD we ran the CrystalDisk benchmark, clearly the eMMC style flash storage isn't in the same performance league as a true SSD:
Heat and Noise
Temperature management is where the ENVY x2 really stands out, it's very cool running and due to its fanless design (by necessity) and the non mechanical SSD is of course quiet. There is no CPU whine or otherwise unexpected component noise. The Intel Atom Z2760 has a rather astounding 1.7 Watt total TDP (Thermal Power Design) so while we knocked it for unimpressive performance, it's extremely efficient and has a low power draw and thereby low heat generation.
If you're looking for long lasting battery life you've come to the right place. The ENVY x2 actually has two batteries, one inside the tablet (screen) and another inside the keyboard dock. This means when you are in laptop mode you get longer battery life due to the additional battery there. We ran FutureMark's PowerMark benchmark that tests battery run down by placing the screen at medium brightness and then looping through video, opening browser windows, opening office documents and typing -- in other words, real world usage. Under this realistic scenario the HP ENVY x2 in laptop mode provided an astounding 11 hours and 30 minutes of battery life.
Powermark battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
If you're more conservative with your usage, you can get much longer battery life. When idling the ENVY x2 in laptop mode with the screen brightness at half, the machine stayed on for over 15 hours and still showed 10% battery life left.
The larger battery is found inside the tablet, so when in tablet mode you still can get decent battery life. While the Intel Atom failed to impress much with performance, it did impress us with its incredibly low power draw and ability to extend battery life.
One important item of note is that the Windows 8 you get with the ENVY x2 is the real deal, no Windows RT in which you can only run Windows apps. You're able to run any Windows program you can run on a desktop PC and of course have multiple programs and windows open at the same time. This is an important factor when you compare the ENVY x2 to devices such as the Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface or any Android tablet. While the ENVY x2 may cost more, it's more functional and flexible in terms of OS and software. The Windows 8 version you get is just the 32-bit version, that means the max memory the system could support is 4GB of RAM -- but since it's non-upgradeable that's a moot point anyway.
HP does provide a few pre-loaded software applications outside of the standard Windows 8 apps. The Fresh Paint app from Microsoft is definitely worth checking out. HP MyRoom offers video conferencing, but given the myriad of other choices such as Skype, Google Hangout, Facebook Video Calling or FaceTime over on the Mac OS you'll probably already have your own favorite video chat service. HP also provides a Netflix app, eBay app and iHeartRadio pre-installed. Obviously they're getting a kickback from those companies to install the software, but if you happen to use those services it might be handy to have it pre-loaded. One useful thing HP provides is a Getting Started Windows 8 tutorial. This is a tutorial HP put together themselves, not Microsoft, and it's actually a great intro to Windows 8 offering lessons on how to use the Start Screen, Charms menu and how to get around the UI.
Mentioned before is the fact you get a limited amount of space to install programs and applications. The initial SSD space provided is 64GB, and then you back out the 10GB used for a recovery partition and factor in the size of the OS and other pre-installed software and you're down to just 40GB or so of space for files and other programs. You can somewhat get around this by using the micro SD slot for a 64GB micro SD card and even larger 128GB SD card in the full sized slot on the keyboard as a means of storage.
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