Google Finally Has a True Chromebook Competitor to the Surface Pro

Posted on April 9, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google, Hardware with 67 Comments

Ever since Google launched Chromebooks, the company’s main competitor has been affordable Windows computers. But as Chromebooks expanded, Google started introducing premium products that don’t limit the brand to affordable products. So far, however, Google and its partners didn’t really have a true Chromebook competitor to the Surface Pro.

Sure, there are a number of convertible Chromebooks in the market, but there are no detachable Chromebooks. All of that changes today with HP’s new Chromebook x2, the world’s first detachable Chromebook.

The 12.3-inch Chromebook comes with a detachable keyboard that you can attach to the 8.2mm thin tablet which weighs around 735 grams. The device is powered by Intel’s 7th gen M-series processors, Intel HD Graphics 615, and comes with up to 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM. There is also 32GB of internal storage, plus the ability to expand the storage by an addition 256GB with microSD.

Google is also offering free 100GB of cloud storage for two years. The device is powered by a 42Wh battery, which is expected to deliver about 10 hours of battery life, HP says. The keyboard doesn’t come with an additional battery, so you won’t get extra battery life when you are using the device with the keyboard attached.

Like other premium Chromebooks, the HP Chromebook x2 supports Android apps from the Google Play store, allowing users to use apps like OneNote, Word, and other Android apps that support Chrome OS. The device seems like a viable option for those looking for a mid-range laptop, and it will be available for purchase from June 10 in the United States, starting at $599.99.

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Comments (67)

67 responses to “Google Finally Has a True Chromebook Competitor to the Surface Pro”

  1. PeteB

    This is the future right here, not Windows S or "S Mode" or whatever the marketing dept is calling locked-in-store-jail this week.

    For years, MS and it's faithful arrogantly laughed off Chromebooks as a "joke" that pose no threat to Windows. I was one of them. Well

    the chickens are coming home to roost.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to PeteB:

      Yep. This is very clearly the case.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to paul-thurrott:


        Really? At 3% of the market, primarily made up of little children, and you are espousing this line of thought?

        I like most of what you do but there seems to be some kind of blinder on when it comes to you and Chromebooks.

        • cayo

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          And it's not even 0.3% outside the USA.

          It's so funny how you can often hear in the stores how they are advising potential customers about the Chromebook not being the real computer. I wonder what the return rate for these toys is.

          • VancouverNinja

            In reply to cayo:

            Yeah - the numbers don't ad up or support Chromebooks being supported anywhere. I think it is a DOA OS. This is why Google is messing around with a new OS that may appear in 3 years from now; which would also be DOA. If was a coder knowing Google already understands the OS is dead I would not even consider a line of code to support it - waste of time.

    • yaddamaster

      In reply to PeteB:

      Indeed. If MS had taken the threat seriously then Chromebooks would not have evolved to threat-level defcon 2. But they didn't. And instead we now have a tacit capitulation of the entire OS market in favor of Azure and the cloud.

      I love Windows 10. But I'm under zero illusions that in five years I'll be running my productivity applications on a Windows machine. As iOS evolves I'll run my "creative" music stuff on there and business productivity apps on a Chromebook.

      The contrarian view could be that removing Windows from the leadership table at MS might actually be good for Windows and give them the freedom to finally truly innovate and meet the threat. But I'm not betting on it.

      • Rob_Wade

        You could be right. But then, just like I'll probably the very last person still using a Windows phone, I'll probably be the last person using a Windows PC/tablet. I despise Google and Apple, so I refuse to use devices based on their products.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to yaddamaster:

        I guess you can make up what will most likely still be Chromebooks 3% market share in 5 years from now then. ;-)

    • jdmp10

      In reply to PeteB:

      Google is much further along in the PWA future that's just around the corner (as we keep saying). Their Google store for apps also has many more legitimate and useful apps that garners many more established developers than the Microsoft Store, long story short, ChromeOS is becoming a much more viable alternative and isn't just for the grandparent or older parent who isn't tech savvy or doesn't want to deal with the issues that come along with a Windows machine. HP recently is really doing some interesting things and pushing the envelop. As enticing as the Pixelbook is, especially as a Surface Pro competitor, this has my eye even more. Only shame is battery life, a claimed 10 hours in real world terms probably means 7-8 hours at best.

  2. Daekar

    Paul and Mahedi,

    I would like to see an article on the Microsoft experience on Chromebooks, particularly for those of us with Office 365 subscriptions and who use OneDrive. I have no intention of giving up the power that comes with real Office, but I have used enough OSes that I don't care that much what it's running on (except MacOS, which I simply loathe for reasons probably connected to my negative Mac experiences at school... Crashed the first OSX machine I ever used within 15 minutes just switching between programs...). If I could get a good Office experience on Linux I would just use that, but the app gap is too great. Your insight and experimentation would be highly appreciated.

  3. harmjr

    Does it really change the price point on a device like this for not starting off with 64 gb internal memory.

    Just freaking annoying in this day an age. My cell phone uses up 15gb with OS and restore software so don't tell me Android/chrome is smaller then windows excuse.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to harmjr:

      Chrome OS doesn't have a restore feature. No way to revert to a previous version of Chrome OS (at least in standard mode). As for restoring applications, Google stores a record of what your account has installed. Powerwash the Chromebook then log in again using your Google account, and Chrome OS automatically reinstalls everything. The only things lost would be the files from your ~/Downloads directory.

      Maybe I just don't use many apps, but I still have more than 7GB free on my Chromebook's 16GB HDD. Then again, I don't try to store movies or music on it. Phones make better music players anyway.

  4. AMRooke

    Once Chromebooks have the ability to natively run Windows programs, perhaps then we can talk about it being a competitor to the Surface Pro. Until then, I see them as useful for just Internet activities and light office productivity, not real work.

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to AMRooke:

      Depends on the work you're trying to do. Google it and you'll find plenty of development (web and otherwise) being done with Chromebooks. You'll also find some interesting reasons (IMO) for why some folks decided to use a Chromebook (as opposed to a PC or Mac) for professional work.

      I suspect the "competitor to Surface" bit in this article refers to the new form factor rather than the overall computing capability.

    • LocalPCGuy

      In reply to AMRooke:

      Our local school systems would disagree that real work can't be done. You can't run Windows programs, sure. But, you can get real work done.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to AMRooke:

      Depends on the work one does. Chromebooks can run offline versions of Stackedit and, so they can manage a fair amount of technical writing. They also have Citrix Receiver, so those working for large enterprises using Citrix for remote desktops could use Chromebooks for that. In my own case, with the exception of the times I need to use one particular Excel add-in, I can use my Chromebook for everything else I do for work.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to AMRooke:

      “not real work”

      Remember the term “real work” is subjective. :: shrug ::

  5. davidD

    As far as I can see, it doesn't have a kickstand, so to me, it can't be compared to the Surface Pro

  6. Rob_Wade

    Different strokes for different folks. There is absolutely NOTHING about that device that is enticing to me.

  7. Daishi

    Any chance of getting a Windows powered version? I've been trying to find one for 2 years now

  8. Harrymyhre

    Anybody thinking to buy this chromebook:

    check the internal memory of the chromebook:

    emmc is not the same as an SSD drive.

    Emmc is like the speed of flash drive.

    • Alexander Rothacker

      In reply to Harrymyhre:

      The HP press release only says internal storage, not what technology used. CNET claims it's SDD in their news article, but that might just be shoddy reporting. Everybody else seems to be using the 'internal storage' wording.

      Where did you read that it's emmc.

  9. bcpj

    What I dont understand is why *anyone* would choose a Chromebook for $600 (!) when there are ‘better’ Windows laptops available for far less. Is it just the battery life that is the deciding factor here? Is that *all* we are measuring here because then we might as well use our phones to write that important Word document or cobble together that amazing Powerpoint presentation...

    • Jeffery Commaroto

      In reply to bcpj:

      Security, battery life, simplicity.

      You have to remember that a very large % of the population are not technically-minded. They have traditionally struggled with computers. Devices like this may be “better” for them not because of specs or the ability to run software they don’t use but because it lets them push a button to turn it on instantly and then do a few things well and without much worry.

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to Jeffery_Commaroto:

        You are absolutely right. I liken Windows (or MacOS) to a chainsaw and any Mobile OS to a butter knife. If ALL you need to do in life is butter your bread, why would you ever pull out a Chainsaw to accomplish that simple task? You could do it, sure but you'd be running a whole lot of risk of something going wrong in the process. In my Opinion, a special flavor of Android/iOS is what is needed to run on a laptop, not even ChromeOS is ideal in my opinion, as that environment still requires a bit of explanation to some people and it has a slightly different learning curve to that of a mobile device. There will someday be iOS laptops and non-Apple laptops running skinned versions of Android like Sentio, Remix, Phoenix, DeX, and people will finally understand what I've been harping about for years. Me personally, I'm a Windows Geek for life, but I know of a TON of people in my life who would enjoy a "mobile laptop".

  10. dontbe evil

    toyOS and this cannot compete with a premium surface device, MS cannot have that price or OEMS will be angry, but you can choose between several devices with a serious OS like Windows, and different prices, brand, type, performance...

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to dontbe_evil:

      A lot of normal people desperately need a toyOs device like this in their life. They do not have the rigorous minds necessary to keep themselves out of trouble when using a full-boat OS. I go one step further and argue that ChromeOs is NOT ENOUGH of a toyOS and that a variant of this should be made running a slightly desktop-ized flavor of Android.

  11. VancouverNinja

    Windows 10 Dell Inspiron 15 i5579-5118GRY-PUS 2 in 1 PC $549.....The perfect example underscoring why a Chromebook delivering less for more $$$ is a flop with consumers and businesses. It is why no one buys them.

  12. VancouverNinja

    Windows 10 Dell Inspiron 15 i5579-5118GRY-PUS 2 in 1 PC $549.....The perfect example underscoring why a Chromebook delivering less for more $$$ is a flop with consumers and businesses. It is why no one buys them.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      It is why no one buys them.”

      I would imagine someone is buying them. Most companies don’t spend a ton of money on R&D and manufacturing to not sell products.

      Not everyone likes Windows. And I think Microsoft has been burning bridges lately...

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        Yes you are correct. Schools have bought them and they are the biggest, and only significant, channel for them. Chromebooks current market share in K-12 looks to be potentially unsustainable to me, MS has done an excellent job shoring up their K-12 offerings, not to mention having the Minecraft educational version in their back pocket. Most schools realize Chromebooks are okay for the wee ones but as they get older they start moving to PCs. This is most likely why we have seen no uni students using Chromebooks - they were already on PCs, or Macs, in the higher grade levels. Chromebooks in K-12 schools do not translate to success for the OS. It has simply found a home as a cheap, and simple solution for little kids education.

        I will hazard a guess that Google has not turned a dime of profit off of Chromebooks. It is a vitally strategic device they must be successful with. If not they are going to lose their phone dominance in the future to any device that pairs beautifully with the then current dominate PC OS. I believe if Andromeda is real, and a great device, Android mobile phones will have a potentialy fatal problem ahead of them.

        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          “I believe if Andromeda is real, and a great device, Android mobile phones will have a potentialy fatal problem ahead of them.”

          I'm afraid I’ll agree to disagree. Even if Andromeda OS survives the Microsoft reorg, I can’t see it killing off all of Android.

          Especially if they have the current Surface premium pricing model.

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  14. Jorge Garcia

    Excellent, now I just wish they would just make a variant of this same machine running a slightly desktop-ized flavor of Android. There is already a very low-end machine out there called the iView Gemini that runs RemixOS and I feel that machine represents a template that is far more ideal than any ChromeOS device FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS on planet Earth (not us nerds). If Google or Apple made their own (quality) "Gemini" "mobile laptop", I feel it would appeal to a great number of folks who currently have a love/hate relationship with their PC's. All they need is to be able to open their beloved mobile apps on a larger screen, and a real keyboard to type faster and more ergonomically. Being able to window/tile/cascade 3-4 mobile Apps on the screen at the same time would be a Godsend for many folks I know. And of course I do know that ChromeOS already kind-of does this, on "some" machines, but having to understand (and explain) those various caveats and asterisks is already an instant fail in my opinion. Also, for the machine I envision, I am sure it would be fairly trivial to make it revert to the "Tablet" flavor of Android at the push of a virtual button, or automatically upon detachment from the keyboard.

  15. XCLN

    What about the Lenovo Yoga Book 11" * which came (still is available in Windows flavor) in BOTH Android OR Windows version ?

    Is it truly orphaned - that would be a shame, looks a lot better on paper than these latest Chrome books

    (*) See Amazon, search for " Lenovo Yoga Book 10.1" 2 in 1 Intel X5 "

  16. Harrymyhre

    Also re Chromebooks.

    I STAY AWAY from Best Buy.

    Because if I go in there I will want to whip out my credit card and buy something.

    This weekend end my partner went into Trader Joe’s. I ran like crazy over to Best Buy to have a look at Chromebooks.

    Dang it it was depressing. They had some Chromebooks but they were all funky and dirty. And they aren’t “live”. They are in demo mode. One can’t really DO anything to test them out.

    best Buy kind of reminds me of the old comp USA.


  17. Bats

    First of all, this isn't a Google product. It's an HP product.

    Second, I believe that it has been established that Microsoft's Surface computers are not selling well. To be honest, understandably so. Despite the great technology underneath the hood, the Surface computers are very expensive and people, just can't afford it. With that stated, I don't see there being any real motive to compete with a product that doesn't sell well.

    All in all, this HP computer is basically a product that the company (not the firm) has created simply to round and complement their product line.

    If this product can be offered with a 15" screen, I would buy this for my mother who has proven to me, that the concept of ease and simplicity, to go with productivity, works for all people. Also the fact, that she could always use a bigger screen.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Bats:

      There is no such thing as a viable 15-inch tablet.

      Also, this product is made by HP, but the Google reference is because they make the platform and enable these new devices types.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to Bats:

      If the technology was so great so would be the experience. If the experience was great, considering that we are talking about MS not some startup around the corner, so would be sales.

      Just the other day I was in store and fooling around a demo Surface Book 13" at over €2000. I'm sure there was some problem with the device has the experience was laggy. Tried the one right next to it, the same thing ... what can I say. Than picked up the iPad Pro at €700 and was smooth as butter, a thing that is supposed to be much less powerful.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to Bats:

      The newest Chromebook 15 (CB515 series) from Acer is touchscreen, 15", and has a partial-aluminum build, so the quality is right up there. It's not a tablet - it's too big to be one - but at least you have the touch input. It has a 1080p IPS screen, and it's relatively thin considering the size, and has decent speakers surrounding the keyboard - just don't drink around it.

    • Jeffery Commaroto

      In reply to Bats:

      I don't think the Surface sells well because of the price not because there isn't desire. There have been studies showing consumers want Macs, Surface devices and Pro iPads for work and for themselves but don't want to pay for them. At $600 all in for a pen, keyboard and the device, if it works well, you have a good pitch with this thing.

  18. MikeGalos

    Competitor for the Surface 3? Maybe.

    Competitor for the Surface Pro? No. Sorry. That's just click-bait.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Hardware-wise, it's a Surface Pro competitor. Same size screen, Intel 7th gen Core M CPU, and 8GB of RAM, just like the Surface Pro (actually, better than the entry-level Surface Pro). Surface 3 had an Atom CPU, memory was limited to 2-4 GB, and the screen was smaller.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Unable to run full applications. Only can uses "store apps" designed either for mobile devices or as cached versions of websites? Sounds a lot more like Surface than Surface Pro.

        Let me know when it can run Visual Studio or Adobe Lightroom. Then we can talk.

        • MikeCerm

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          The Surface 3 wasn't limited to Store apps.

          There's a version of Lightroom in the Play Store, but I have no idea how it compares to the Windows version. If you want to run Windows desktops apps, you can always RDP into a Windows machine and use that.

          The ability to run "full applications" is as much a drawback of the Surface as it is a benefit. Windows apps are not meant to be navigated on a 12" device with a touch screen. Most people would be better off with a conventional laptop or desktop. If you're going to bother with a tablet at all, it makes sense to get one that has access to a million finger-friendly apps and games. Currently, that's not the Surface Pro.

  19. Breaker119

    With Pen Loop!

  20. davidblouin

    I'll wait for the Google Fuchsia version

  21. nbplopes

    I'm a bit puzzled about the ability of HP to sell these well proven devices at $600, yet it asks $1000 for an Windows on ARM that still needs to prove itself in the market.

    MS should stop trying to compete with Apple / iPad Pro approaching it with a beutiful tablet crap experience at premium prices and instead compete with Google/Chromebook. At $600 people are far less demanding ... when it comes to tablets/hybrids.

    Its not about feature count but about value in context!!!!!!! More features do not translate to more value. Value stopped being perceived by the number of features a long time ago. Its called maturity of the market as the digital gets more and more intertwined with the analog/bio. Otherwise everyone would be eating dinner with swiss army knifes if you know what I mean. People been there, got that, yet the experience was not good in context ... Users are now more sophisticated.

  22. Tony Barrett

    Now this is a good looking Chromebook that could get lots of attention, especially with Android app support. ChromeOS works really well with touch, and has pen input built in. The price is way more sensible too. When it comes to the UK, I'm actually, right now, considering one, and I've never said that about Surface!

  23. jaredthegeek

    If this had LTE I would consider it. I am surprised by the use of an M chip opposed to getting ChromeOS to run on ARM like Android and the recent move Windows has made. I wonder what battery life in real world use would be. Its seems to me that a ChromeOS device needs to have all day power more than a Windows based device considering target markets for these things. I have only ever seen a handful of Chromebooks in the wild and several were with school age children and others were at a security conference. The fact that this runs Android Apps means its pretty flexible. Amazing that Google pulled this off so much easier than MS could with their own store.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to jaredthegeek:

      Even the best ARM chips are significantly slower than Intel's latest Core M chips. Also, in a machine like this, the screen draws as much power as anything else, so there's no real reason to sacrifice performance for efficiencies sake, especially when you can probably get close to 10 hours of battery life.

      • Dick O'Rosary

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Except with ARM, you are likely to get better app compatibility, better connectivity and better sleep behavior.

        • MikeCerm

          In reply to Dick_O_Rosary:

          It's a bit of a trade off, but if you're buying a $700 computer, you probably want it to perform better than a phone. And app compatibility is actually a toss up -- Android apps have supported x86 for years, and if you're going to run Linux on this thing at all, you'll have a much better time with an Intel CPU.

      • jaredthegeek

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Good points but I still think its missing out on having LTE integrated. For a device like this that would make it a better value to road warriors. Relying on public wifi is not a great idea.

  24. Albatross

    I have an ageing Surface 3 (not Pro) that I'm looking to replace. I will give this a hard look.

  25. mrdrwest

    Are you ready to laugh?