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HP Unveils Always-Connected Envy x2 to Fight Surface Pro

Can a 2-in-1 have a good work ethic? This one does.

Arriving this spring, the new HP Envy x2 is one of the first 2-in-1s to offer Connected Modern Standby mode in Windows 10. That means it can keep downloading emails and other data in the background even while the system is asleep. And this system offers optional LTE, so you can stay connected without a hotspot.

 We went hands-on with the Envy x2 ahead of CES 2018, and it looks promising—depending on how HP decides to price it.

HP’s new detachable features a 12.3-inch display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with a Gorilla Glass 4 finish for durability. The fanless design weighs 1.69 pounds and measures 0.31 inches thick. The Surface Pro has a much sharper 12.3-inch screen (2736 x 1824 pixels), though it’s a bit thicker at 0.33 inches.

However, unlike the Surface Pro, HP will include both a keyboard cover and pen when the Envy x2 ships this spring. Those accessories cost an extra $159 and $99, respectively, with Microsoft’s 2-in-1.

We generally liked the Envy x2’s leather-like textured case, which comes in an attractive Oxford Blue. The backlit keyboard offers a solid 1.3 mm of key travel, which made for comfy typing during our brief hands-on session. I also appreciated the little built-in loop for the pen, so it’s less likely to get lost.

However, the bundled case props up the tablet in a single position. Ironically, HP has another Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Envy x2 on the way with a kickstand that’s adjustable.

In terms of specs, you’re looking at 7th-generation Core Y-Series processors, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of PCIe SSD storage.

HP says to expect up to 16.5 hours of battery life, but we’ll see how well it holds up in our web surfing test. HP’s Qualcomm-powered Envy x2 is rated for an even higher 20 hours of juice, but it also has a weaker Snapdragon 835 CPU and runs the more limited Windows 10 S.

Stay tuned for our full review of the new Envy x2.

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.