- Strong chassis
- Comfortable full-size keyboard
- Decent speakers
- Plenty of ports
- Poor battery life
- Limited viewing angle display
- Overly thick display bezel
- Sluggish hard drive
The Pavilion x360 11 is HP’s smallest convertible notebook. It quickly converts into a tablet by virtue of its 360 degree display hinge – simply fold the display back until it’s flush against the underside of the notebook. The x360 11 has sturdy build quality, a comfortable full-size keyboard, good speakers, and plenty of ports. Its limited viewing angle display has average image quality at best, however; its performance leaves much to be desired; and it’s relatively thick and heavy for a notebook this size, let alone a tablet. Its biggest worry, however, is its mediocre battery life. It overall didn’t impress enough to warrant a full recommendation at its asking price, but it could be a good second computer provided you can find it for less.
Build and Design
Most bystanders wouldn’t suspect the Pavilion x360 11 is a convertible notebook until you fold its display 360 degrees backwards. Its hinge design allows this transformation to happen smoothly and seamlessly. The gray and silver exterior has an understated look, with the overly rounded chassis corners we’re used to seeing on consumer notebooks. Although it has an 11.6-inch display, the x360 11 is actually closer in size to a 13.3-inch notebook. The display bezel is about an inch thick, which gives the whole notebook a somewhat toy-like appearance. A certain amount of screen bezel is acceptable, but certainly not one as large as the x360 11’s.
The Pavilion’s build materials are mostly plastic, save for its brushed metal palm rest and surrounding areas. The notebook has a very solid feel and the heft to prove it – its 3.21 pound weight is over three times that of a dedicated tablet like the Apple iPad Air 2. It’s rather chunky, too, at 0.89 inches tall. As if this didn’t make tablet mode feel awkward enough, we noticed that the top of the display lid doesn’t line up with the front of the chassis when the screen is folded over, so holding it doesn’t feel symmetrical in tablet mode.
Design quirks aside, the fit and finish is mostly good, with minimal gaps between parts. The lid is thick and should protect the display well. The chassis has minimal flex. We’d nonetheless like to see HP improve what’s here by lowering the weight, and either using a larger display to fill out the available space, or making the chassis physically smaller to be as big as an 11.6-inch notebook should be.
Input and Output Ports
The Pavilion x360 11 includes a healthy amount of ports for a notebook this size. Its selection is comparable to that of many 14- and 15.6-inch consumer notebooks.
Along the left side is the lock slot, power button, fan vent, a USB 3.0, the headphone/microphone combo jack, and volume rocker. On the right side is the hard disk activity light, media card reader, a USB 2.0, a USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, and AC power. The speakers are along the front edge, and there are no ports along the back.
Screen and Speakers
HP has updated the Pavilion x360 11 to include an in-plane switching (IPS) display, but our review unit was one of the last models shipped with the now-discontinued twisted nematic (TN) panel. The display measures 11.6 inches diagonal, though as we mentioned earlier, we suspect a 12.5- or even a 13.3-inch panel would fit given the display bezel is about an inch thick. The only redeeming quality of a bezel this large is that it gives your fingers a place to rest while in tablet mode, which is beneficial on a convertible notebook.
The display has average picture quality at best. The color saturation could use a moderate boost, and the contrast is a little less than we were hoping for as well. The TN panel means limited viewing angles – tilting the display forward or backward much past head-on results in a washed out picture. This is problematic when multiple people are looking at the display, and an even bigger issue on the x360 11 as it’s capable of transforming into a tablet; you’re essentially forced into holding the tablet in a certain way so you’re looking at the display head-on. On the plus side, the 10-point touch display is responsive and the display has plenty of brightness. But overall, the display is one of the x360 11’s most significant weaknesses. The IPS-equipped Pavilion x360 11 should eliminate our complaints about both the viewing angles and the image quality.
The Pavilion’s two Beats-branded speakers are under the palm-rest and project downwards. They have good volume, clarity, and a touch of bass. We noticed minimal distortion even at top volume. Because they project downwards, it’s important to keep the x360 11 on a flat surface or use it in tablet mode, which has the same effect; otherwise the sound isn’t able to project properly. For one or two people in a quiet room, this setup can get you by, but don’t expect a cinematic experience.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Pavilion’s full-size keyboard is one of its better qualities. Notebooks this size typically compromise the keyboard in some significant way, but the x360 11 does an admirable job maintaining a standardized layout. Except for the function row and the up and down arrows, the keys are full-size which makes for a comfortable typing experience. The Chiclet keys have a flat surface and an anti-glare finish, which we suspect will wear shiny over time. The keys’ up-and-down action left us wanting better tactile feedback, which is no doubt a product of their limited key travel. You’re stuck using the Fn key to access the Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys in the arrow key cluster, but we’re not going to complain since there doesn’t appear to be any room for them to exist as dedicated keys.
The touchpad centered in the palm-rest is buttonless – simply press down to produce a click. Its anti-glare surface is smooth and its surface is rock solid, but clicks are stiff and require too much effort. The clicks are furthermore too loud. This touchpad supports the standard Windows gestures such as pinching with two fingers to zoom, and two-finger scrolling.