We got some hands-on time with HP’s ENVY x2 Windows 8 tablet. Like rival offerings from Samsung, Asus, and others, the ENVY x2 will come with an optional keyboard dock that will give the device the look of a laptop or ultrabook, but HP’s entry comes with a more premium feel than competitors thanks to a thin design, aluminum build quality on both the keyboard dock portion and the rear of the tablet, and an enhanced audio experience thanks to the company’s partnership with Beats Audio.
The device will run on Intel’s x86 Clover Trail chipset so you will get the full Windows 8 experience–rather than the Windows RT experience limited for ARM chipset architectures like that found on Microsoft’s own Surface tablet. The device has a bright 11.6-inch HD touchscreen display with IPS technology and 400-nit brightness.
The tablet will come with support for NFC technology and will accommodate an optional digitizing pen. There is a rear 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing HD quality webcam.
The hinge on the tablet is unique in that it is activated by magnets. Rather than requiring a lot of manual effort from the user to guide the tablet into the locking mechanism on the keyboard dock, the locking mechanism is activated by magnets, which draws the tablet in and latches the slate into place. When docked, the tablet does feel like a premium ultrabook.
Each piece–the tablet and the dock–is about 1.5 pounds and combined, the weight is similar to what you’d get with an ultrabook. The benefit of this Windows 8 convertible solution is that you’d only need to carry the keyboard dock and the tablet, rather than an ultrabook and tablet, which in the end will save you some weight and space in your travel bag.
Pricing is not yet available and the solution will be coming towards the end of 2012 in time for the Holiday shopping season. The company was also not able to give quotes on battery life, but HP says we can expect to see impressively long run times on a single charge.
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