HP Envy x2 - the true no-compromise convertible laptop
The new HP Envy x2 hybrid combines a laptop and touchscreen tablet so eloquently into one that there is no feeling of compromise - just the joy of a truly convertible device
14 May 2013
Back in the day, living without a tablet or a laptop may have presented a problem, or called for compromise or a splurge.
But a new generation of tech is now giving us the best of both worlds by combining the two devices in one - that's right, a laptop that turns into a tablet and back again whenever we want.
Is it a tablet, is it a laptop - no, it's both
Such devices are broadly known as convertibles or hybrids, and the HP Envy x2 is the latest to be spawned from this new generation of punkish upstarts.
Let's take a look at what we love about the Envy - and what is leading to all those jealous glances from other, less-flexible tech.
We love… the way the Envy flexes from laptop to tablet
Switching the Envy x2 from laptop to tablet is smoother than James Bond ordering a Martini. Manufacturers have come up with plenty of ways of going from one device to another, but the Envy does it with real style.
That's because the screen lifts right off the keyboard to become a tablet.
So, when you've finished work for the day you can leave your keyboard - and your worries - on your desk before checking out for an evening of online shopping and iPlayer viewing.
All you have to do is push a dock tab above the keyboard and give a little pull and the tablet is liberated from its keyboard dock - as easy as apple pie.
Some other convertible laptops remain in one piece when switching to tablet mode, but because the Envy separates into two you lose the weight of the keyboard dock, meaning you can enjoy some entertainment on the train home without your arms feeling like they're going to drop off.
We love… its seemingly boundless battery power
One of our favourite things about the Envy x2 is its battery life.
When a CNET reviewer road-tested the tablet they enjoyed seven hours and 32 minutes of battery power - great if you're looking for something to keep you entertained on your break at work, on the train home and into the evening. When the keyboard base was also attached the battery extended to more than 10 hours.
The battery boost comes because the Envy runs on an Atom processor which is optimised for low power consumption.
We love… its revolutionary approach
The HP Envyx2 has the potential to revolutionise how we spend our time, as well as completely redefining how we use computers.
Similarly revolutionary is the software it uses to do it: Windows 8 - an operating system which blurs the boundaries between tablets and laptops.
We love… the Envy's Windows 8 operating system
Windows 8 works by combining regular mouse-and-keyboard computing with tablet-style touchscreen controls. It blends innovative future tech with the past; its revolutionary spirit akin to the rip-it-up-and-start-again outlook of the Sex Pistols.
However, where punk was uncompromising and abrasive, Win8 and the HP Envy are working towards a revolution of flexibility and freedom, putting us in control of how, where and when we use the web, check emails and work on documents.
We love… Browsing Win8's touch-enabled tiles on the new Envy
When you load up your Envyx2 you'll see the centrepiece of Windows 8 - the new Start screen. It's populated by pretty and colourful icons which look like sweets or those gems on the old GameGear game, Columns.
These are actually tiles - touch-enabled icons that take you directly to your apps when tapped and swiped with your finger or dragged with your mouse. Built-in apps include mail, calendar, maps and people - which gathers all your contacts across email and social networks. Tile icons for programmes such as Word and Excel can also be accessed in the same way - with a tap of the finger or click of the mouse. It's smoother than smooth peanut butter.
The new Start screen replaces the traditional desktop; however that can still be found beneath new user interface by clicking on the desktop tile when you fancy going retro or have had your fill of sliding tiles for one day.
We love… live tiles - keeping us connected to our world
These tiles - come on, get with the lingo - also have the capacity to be made 'live'. Once live, tiles can update with information relevant to you.
They work by displaying info such as latest weather, football results, news headlines and the latest gossip from your social networks on the surface of the tile.
This intuitive, interactive approach tailors your Start screen to fit like a pair of handmade shoes - keeping you updated with the latest without having to leave the home screen of your Envy.
We love… pretty much everything
Aside from everything mentioned above there are plenty of other attributes that keep the Envy garnering envious glances from all parties.
For music lovers, there's Beats Audio technology built in, delivering phat sound for a small device. For fashionistas, the convertible comes in sleek brushed aluminium. Those who like to work as hard as they play will find a backlit keyboard and soft keys which are quiet when banged (great for those who work on their commute).
It pretty much has something for everyone. That's why… we love it (and envy those who own it).