Looking for a student computing device that will meet all the demands of your 1:1 programme? The BYOD market’s pretty crowded at the moment – choice is big, choosing can be hard. Price? Specs? Form? Design? Toughness? Does one do it all?
Before making the call, you should definitely check out the Pavilion x2 (RRP$599), the latest device from HP. It easily transforms between modes by way of a hinged, detachable, 10-inch screen. There are four forms: notebook, tablet, ‘tent’, and ‘stand’.
First impressions? Out of the box, there’s a nice feel to it. Of course, it’s small – 264mm (W) x 173 (D) x 198 (H). The tablet part is extremely light, just 589g; combined with the keyboard base it’s 1.18kg, which compares favourably with most Windows 10 convertibles. There’s a choice of just two colours, Sunset Red and Blizzard White.
Although the keyboard nearly spans the entire width of the laptop it’s still a bit cramped, especially for my big hands, but it’s the trade-off that comes with these small notebooks. Conversely, the trackpad is surprisingly spacious.
One of the first things I always look for with these ‘detachable’ devices is the hinge. Clearly, there’s potential for it to be the weakest link. The Pavilion x2 doesn’t latch. Instead, there are magnets designed to keep the display firmly attached to the keyboard base. So, I pulled it apart, reattached and gave it a good shake. Repeated. Turned it upside down, and gave it an even bigger shake. All good. In fact, according to HP, my efforts pale into comparison to a testing process that opened and closed the hinge 25,000 times, and detached and reattached some 10,000 times.
Continuing with the design, the tablet is twice as thick and heavy as the keyboard. This makes it a bit top heavy on an uneven surface, like a lap. However, on a desk, HP’s cunning design – the Pavilion x2 rests on its half-cylindrical hinge – lowers the centre of gravity, which better distributes the weight.
As for connectability, it’s got it covered. There’s WLAN and Bluetooth along with ports aplenty: SD Card Reader; Micro HDMI port; USB Type-C Connector, and USB 2.0 Connector. Plus, there’s an in-built HD webcam.
Moving inside, the Pavilion x2 comes with a moderately powerful Intel Atom processor Z8300 (1.44GHz), 32GB eMMC storage, 2GB RAM, and Intel HD Graphics. It’s never going to be a heavy duty gaming and photo/video editing machine – but it’s not designed to be. What it does excel at is more than ably handling everyday classroom activities, things like word processing, web browsing and streaming media.
The battery life’s not bad. Officially, there’s up to 10 hours and 45 minutes – what we experienced would suggest a regular school day is well within its capability.
Sounds and screen
There’s no whirring fan and the quiet running means you’ll enjoy even more the ‘Audio by B&O’ (that’s Bang and Olufsen). Despite being a smallish device, the speakers are unexpectedly powerful and project audio extremely well. Unfortunately, the screen is a little less out there with a resolution limited to 1,280 x 800. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a more than decent screen, with good colour and wide viewing angles. But high-resolution content looks a wee bit fuzzy.
The final verdict
The Pavilion x2 looks like another solid and dependable device from HP, and more than matches – and arguably exceeds – most rivals in the competitive budget BYOD space. Okay, so the internal memory’s quite small, the screen’s lowish res and couple more colour choices would have been nice. But performance is pretty good, sound is punchy and it’s a package that all fits together very well.
For more on HP products for education click here.