The EliteBook Revolve joins the ElitePad as the second member of HP's Windows 8 arsenal to steal business customers away from the iPad. Where the ElitePad is a tablet first, the Revolve is a traditional convertible tablet with a touch display that swivels around the keyboard and folds flat on the deck. The 11.6-inch device packs a third-generation Intel Core processor inside a sturdy magnesium design. We spent a bit of hands-on time with this device, which is arriving in March for an undisclosed price. Here's our initial impressions.
Weighing a fairly light 3.06 pounds and measuring .86 inches, the Revolve isn't the thinnest Windows 8 device we've seen but it's fairly light given that this system features a touch screen. The Revolve also feels built to last, thanks to its all-magnesium body (which has a soft-touch like feel) and Gorilla Glass 2 display. Opting for an 11-inch display instead of a 10-inch panel allowed HP to include a full-size, backlit keyboard that provided snappy feedback during our hands-on time.
The 1366 x 768-pixel screen is bright and responded well to our taps and swipes. We also like that HP included a physical Start button beneath the display. And, unlike the ThinkPad Twist, the EliteBook Revolve did a better job of automatically re-orienting the display when we held the convertible in different positions.
Notebook shoppers will have a wide range of component options, including Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, 4 to 12 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of SSD storage. Other features includes a 720p HD camera and dual-microphone array for smooth and clear video chats. The port selection includes two USB 3.0, DisplayPort and Ethernet, and you can enjoy more connectivity options via the side-mounted expansion dock.
Given that the Revolve is targeted at the business crowd, HP is emphasizing its enterprise IT tools for managing and deploying devices as well as for locking down data. Those businesses not keen on Windows 8 can opt for Windows 8 Pro. You can also spring for an optional digital pen, which will come in handy for taking notes and filling out forms. Unfortunately, there's no holster for the pen on the chassis.
Based on our time with the EliteBook Revolve, it looks like a well-designed and secure Windows 8 business touch notebook that makes it easy to switch from notebook to tablet mode. But without knowing the price--or the battery life--we'll have to wait until March to find out whether HP's ninth-generation convertible is a winner.
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