Attractive and versatile design; Snappy keyboard; Loud speakers; Affordable
Poor battery life; Dim display
The HP Pavilion x360 is an affordable and stylish touch-screen laptop with loud speakers and a bendable design, but its battery life and display are lacking.
HP is looking to make the hybrid more affordable than ever with the HP Pavilion x360 ($399 starting, $484 as reviewed). This notebook's 360-degree hinge allows its 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display to be used in laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes. Factor in its loud Beats Audio speakers and a snappy keyboard, and you've got an apt companion for work and play. However, with similar notebooks available at the same attainable price, is this the 2-in-1 to take home?
Like an affordable sports convertible, the HP Pavilion x360 is stylish, compact and can transform itself in a few seconds. As with other flexible notebooks, you can fold the x360's keyboard back for an entertainment-friendly stand mode, put the notebook in tent mode for tabletop use, or condense the whole thing into an 11.6-inch tablet.
Keeping consistent with HP's flair for colors, our x360 came in a speckled cherry red finish (also available in black) around the lid and underside, which open up to reveal a slick aluminum-brushed deck with black island keys. The only potential eyesore is the massive Beats Audio branding on the right side of the hinge, which you'll find unpleasant if you're not a fan of Dr. Dre & Co.
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The x360 is fairly easy to lug around at 3.08 pounds, though it's a bit heftier than competitors such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11 (2.8 pounds), Toshiba Satellite NB15t (2.8 pounds) and ASUS K200MA (3 pounds). This can be partially attributed to the notebook's 12.12 x 8.46 x 0.86-inch build, which is wider than the Yoga 2 11 (11.7 x 8.12 x 0.67 inches), Satellite NB15t (11.2 x 8.2 x 0.9 inches) and K200MA (11.9 x 7.9 x 1.2 inches).
The x360 was able to preserve much of the bright and colorful action in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trailer. However, a close-up on tree-person Groot looked fuzzy. We also saw our own reflection in the screen throughout much of the trailer. Fortunately, the clip remained viewable at around 80 degrees from the screen's left and right edges.
The x360 produced 57 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is on a par with the K200MA but less than the NB15t (61 gamut), Yoga 2 11 (68 gamut) and 70-percent ultraportable average. The x360's Delta-E score of 7.4 was similarly lacking in terms of color accuracy (lower numbers are better). The Yoga 2 11 (6.6), K200MA (6.9) and NB15t (5) all proved more accurate.
The notebook's 10-point multitouch display was highly responsive, allowing us to doodle with 10 fingers at once in Paint and perform functions like pinching to zoom and swiping between apps with ease.
You can tinker with the sound via the included Beats Audio app, which lets you adjust details like bass, treble and center for music and dialogue clarity for podcasts and music. Beats enhanced audio is on by default, and music playback sounded significantly hollow with the feature turned off.
If you're recording on the x360, the app allows you to toggle background noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation for optimal clarity. You can also activate advanced settings, such as the ability to play back two different audio streams simultaneously using the x360's built-in speakers, as well as a set of external ones.
Since the notebook's speakers are placed at an upward curve at the edge of its underside, audio quality remained fairly consistent as we transitioned between laptop, stand, tent and tablet modes.
Scoring an impressive 90 decibels on our audio test (sound output from 23 inches away), the x360 out-cranked the NB15t (84 decibels), Yoga 2 11 (83 decibels), K200MA (82 decibels) and the 82-decibel ultraportable average.
Keyboard and Touchpad
With a travel of 1 millimeter and an actuation (required pressure) of 50 grams, the notebook's keys provided snappy feedback, though some areas near the G and H keys felt strangely shallow. Even so, we were able to type at a brisk 74 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, besting our usual speed of about 70 wpm.
We weren't entirely satisfied with the x360's glossy plastic touchpad, as we occasionally found our fingers getting stuck to its surface when we slid the cursor around. Despite this, the touchpad was responsive for gestures like swiping in from the right for the Charms menu and pinching to zoom.
We had fun tinkering with the included CyberLink YouCam app, which lets you put your mug on city billboards, movie screens and hot air balloons. The app also allows you to control digital avatars, such as dogs and statues, with your face. It's equal parts creepy and entertaining.
For the most part, the x360 stays at a manageable temperature throughout long periods of use. After 15 minutes of streaming HD video, the touchpad reached 77 degrees Fahrenheit, while the G and H keys became a warmer 87 degrees. Both of these sections stayed below our 95-degree comfort threshold, which was exceeded only by the notebook's underside at 97 degrees.
The x360 scored 3,248 on the Geekbench 3 general performance test, more than doubling the Toshiba NB15t's 1417 (2.0-GHz Intel Celeron N2810, 4GB RAM) and ASUS K200MA's 1517 (1.86-GHZ Intel Baytrail-M N2815, 4GB RAM). However, the HP fell short of the Yoga 2 11's mark of 3348 (2.16-GHz Intel Pentium N3520, 4GB RAM) and the 4,218 ultraportable average.
HP's hybrid took 27 seconds to boot Windows 8.1, chugging behind the K200MA (16 seconds), Yoga 2 11 (17 seconds), NB15t (19 seconds) and the 12-second average.
The x360 took 16 minutes and 34 seconds to complete our OpenOffice spreadsheet test, which consists of matching 20,000 names to their addresses. HP's notebook got the job done faster than the K200MA (18:41) and NB15t (18:57), and it was just a few seconds behind the Yoga 2 11 (16:19).
The x360's 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive transferred 4.97GB of mixed media at a rate of 26 MBps, barely edging out the NB15t (24 MBps, 500GB/5,400-rpm) and falling behind the K200MA (27 MBps, 500GB/5,400-rpm) and the Yoga 2 11 (38 MBps, 500GB/5,400-rpm).
The x360 is a perfectly capable entertainment device for movies and music, but you definitely won't be playing any high-end games on it. "World of Warcraft" ran at a sluggish 20 frames per second (we consider 30 to be playable) at 1366 x 768 with autodetect on. The game crawled to an even more unplayable 7 fps on Ultra settings.
The x360's poor graphics performance still outperformed the NB15t (12 fps on auto, 4 fps on Ultra) and K200MA (17 fps on auto, 6 fps on Ultra), while the Yoga 2 11 provided similar results at 20 fps on auto and 8 fps on Ultra.
HP's convertible netted a 12,047 on the 3DMark Ice Storm graphics benchmark, outperforming the K200MA (7,600), NB15t (6,141) and just losing out to the Yoga 2 11 (12, 745).
Software and Warranty
As far as first-party software goes, HP Connected Drive allows you to upload and share files with up to nine other devices, including Android smartphones and tablets that have the Connected Drive app installed. HP Connected Music allows you to play your existing library, listen to radio stations or buy new songs, while HP Connected Photo allows you to look at pictures from your hard drive, Snapfish or Facebook and order cards or prints.
HP SimplePass allows you to store all of your website logins to a single password or PIN, while HP Recovery Manager lets you reinstall drivers or restore your machine.
There's a wide gamut of Cyberlink apps preloaded on the x360, including PhotoDirector for photo editing, PowerDirector for making movies and Power2Go for creating data discs.
The x360 ships with a one-year limited warranty.
The HP Pavilion x360 starts at $399, which gets you a 2.16-GHz Intel Pentium N3520 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive within a smoke silver shell. Our $484 configuration kicks the RAM up to 8GB for $75, and adds the brilliant red coloring for $10. You can also turn the 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive into a hybrid hard drive for an additional $50.
Lenovo's Yoga 2 11 is a better alternative, providing longer battery life, a brighter display and similarly dynamic design for as low as $435. We still prefer the x360's speakers and keyboard, so choosing between the two affordable hybrids comes down to what features matter most to you.
|CPU||2.17-GHz Intel Pentium N3520|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Native Resolution||1136 x 768|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Kensington Lock|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone/Mic|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||DC-in|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 2.0|
|Card Slots||SD/SDHC Card reader|
|Warranty/Support||1 Year Limited Warranty|
|Size||12.12 x 8.46 x 0.86-inch|