HP today announced the second generation version of its Elite x2 2-in-1 detachable PC. Like the previous version, the Elite x2 1012 G2, as it is called, offers some significant advantages over Surface Pro 4 and other 2-in-1 detachables.
I wrote about the original HP Spectre x2 back in November 2015. That device offered premium build quality, a superior keyboard cover, and two USB-C ports, which was very forward-leaning at the time. (Today, not including USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 is drunkenly off-target.)
For the new version of the Elite x2, HP is offering a familiar form factor—it looks very much like its predecessor—with some important improvements:
Improved kickstand. Where the original Elite x2 offered a hard-to-engage kickstand with just 150 degrees of movement, the new version fixes both issues. Now, no switch is required to open the kickstand, and it leans back nearly all the way to the surface on which the device sits.
Productivity keyboard. I really liked the keyboard cover on the original x2, but this new version includes HP’s new collaboration keyboard, which includes special Skype for Business keys. It still offers 1.5 mm of key travel—which is ideal—and is again backlit.
Inking improvements. In tablet mode, you can use the bundled smart pen for writing and sketching, and this new version of the Elite x2 provides 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity with zero latency and improved palm rejection.
Improved performance. Where the original Elite x2 was held back by its Core M processor, the new Elite x2 now utilizes a 7th generation features a choice of 7th-generation Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. RAM has doubled to up to 16 GB, and storage has quadrupled, to up to 1 TB.
Thinner and lighter. The Elite x2 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor and Surface Pro 4.
Battery improvements. Battery life is rated at 10:15, and HP claims that its fast charge capabilities can restore half of the device’s capacity in just 30 minutes.
Connectivity. Described as “best in class connectivity,” the Elite x2 offers a full-sized USB 3 port, a USB-C 3.1 port, and WiGig, global 4G LTE, and 2×2 WAN/802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Audio improvements. The Elite x2 features front-firing stereo speakers and is the first business class detachable to be certified for Skype for Business. HP noise cancellation and audio boost aid performance in noisy environments.
Improved display. Where the original x2 featured a 12-inch 3:2 1920 x 1280 display, the new version utilizes a larger (12.3-inch) and higher resolution WQXGA+ (2736 x 1824) display with smaller bezels.
Serviceability. The Elite x2 was highly-rated for its serviceability—iFixit awarded it 10 out of 10, compared to 4 out of 10 for Surface Pro 4—and the new version continues this tradition.
Security features. The Elite x2 features a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader and IR camera, both of which are integrated into the device. It also includes HP SureStart (Gen 3).
Expansion. HP is selling a number of docking solutions, including the Elite 90W Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, HP Elite USB-C Dock, and HP USB-C Travel Hub.
Price. $1099 and up.