There’s potentially one great reason to go with the new 12.1-inch HP Pavilion x2 over the Microsoft Surface 3: it offers more bang for the buck.
Yes, there are plenty of Windows 10 2-in-1s cheaper than the Surface 3, which we dubbed “not quite pro, but premium nonetheless.” But the recently-released, 10.1-inch HP Pavilion x2 nearly matches the Surface 3 in overall quality, and the new 12.1-inch version, which HP launched at CES 2016, could surpass it with a larger display and bundled keyboard.
Apples to Apples
The new HP Pavilion x2 has a 12.1-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. The base unit is powered by a 5th-generation quad-core Intel Atom Atom x5-Z8500 processor, 2GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. It supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and sports a USB Type-C input (charging and data), full-sized USB 2.0, microHDMI, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. It ships with Windows 10 Home. If that Atom processor is not enough, HP will also offer a 6th-generation Intel Core m3 version, with 128GB or 256GB capacity.
Comparing apples to apples, the 10.8-inch Surface 3 is $399 as of this writing (marked down from $499), and has a slightly better 5th-generation Intel Atom x7 processor. However, the Surface 3 Type Cover is not included, and runs $130 extra.
The Atom-powered Pavilion x2 costs $499.99, and ships with a keyboard. Arguably, it’s a better keyboard too, considering the Pavilion’s size and the fact it has island-style keys compared to the Type Cover’s block. The Pavilion also has more ports, including a new USB Type-C, which will increasingly become the new standard for accessories.
Both devices feature a magnetic connector for the keyboard. This is an area many 2-in-1 makers get wrong, too often relying on clumsy and unreliable latches in order to cuts costs. Microsoft sets the industry standard here, and has from the minute it first launched the Surface line in 2012, but HP is close here. Again, it’s evident from our hands-on time with the hybrid that this Pavilion x2 is a quality device.
The all-metal HP Pavilion x2 measures 11.1 x 8.66 x .75 inches when attached to the keyboard, and weighs a total of 3.24 pounds. The keys block travel 1.5mm, and the keyboard features a 54 x 98mm touchpad. The tablet also has front-facing speakers that line both landscape ends. They look impressive, as far as 2-in-1 speakers go, and they won’t have to do much to surpass the quality of most other notebook and tablet devices. Speakers have long been a weak point in both device lines.
The x2 also has a 2-cell, 33WHr battery, which HP claims will last up to 8 hours and 15 minutes.
The HP Pavilion x2 is set to ship on February 7, starting at $499.99.
At launch, it looks like a clear winner over the Surface 3. To be fair, we expect Microsoft to launch a new Surface 4 in the spring. We look forward to comparing it to this 12.1-inch Windows 10 2-in-1 from HP.