HP Undercuts Surface 3 with $299 Pavilion x2

Looking to appeal to students of all stripes, HP has redesigned the Pavilion x2, its budget 10-inch 2-in-1, as well as its high-end Envy line of entertainment notebooks. Available in July, these notebooks will feature Intel and AMD's latest CPUs and GPUs, audio from Bang & Olufsen, and increased battery life in thinner and lighter designs. Here's a quick look at each of the new models being introduced. 

Available July 21 and starting at $299, the HP Pavilion x2's 10-inch 1366 x 768 IPS display detaches from the keyboard via magnets; it's sturdy enough so that I was able to hold the device by the screen and not have the keyboard fall off. It's also reversible, so that you can turn the screen around 180 degrees to face someone else, or to turn the x2 into a large tablet. Combined, the X2 weighs 2.48 pounds, and the tablet alone is 1.29 pounds. That's a little heavier than the iPad Air, but slightly lighter than the Surface 3.

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The  Pavilion x2 will be powered by a quad core Intel Atom Baytrail processor, and be configurable with up to 64GB of storage. In addition to an SD card slot, it will have one USB-C port, as well as a USB 2.0 port and microHDMI. HP estimates that the x2 will last up to 10.75 hours on a charge. 

For such a small system, the x2's keyboard felt fairly comfortable to type on; HP says the keys have 1.5mm of travel, which is the minimum we like to see on notebooks. Additionally, the x2 will come with one year of Microsoft Office 365 Personal, as well as 60 minutes of Skype premium minutes per month and 1TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage. 

HP's higher-end Envy notebooks, available in 14, 15.6 and 17.3-inches, also got a bit of a makeover. In addition to being thinner than last year, a new drop hinge elevates the rear of the notebook when you open it, which not only angles the keyboard towards you, but also provides an air channel that helps cool the system. All Envy systems now feature Bang & Olufsen audio, and the Intel models will have quad speakers (AMD models only get dual speakers). 

On the 15.6-inch Envy, shoppers will be able to choose from either 5th-generation Core i5 and i7 processors, as well as 6th generation AMD FX and A10 processors. Graphics options on the 15-inch Envy will include either an Nvidia GeForce 940M or GTX 950M, or AMD Radeon R6 or R7 GPUs. Additionally, the 15.6-inch Envy can be configured with a Quad HD+ touch display. 

Despite all this power, HP expects that the 14-inch Envy will last up to 10.3 hours on a charge, and the 15-inch Envy will last up to 9.5 hours (or 7.5 for the AMD version). 

The 17-inch Envy gets a bit of a special treatment. Its keyboard deck is made from linear carbon fiber, which helps reduce weight (6.22 pounds isn't bad for this size display) and is a nice visual touch. The 17-inch Envy can be configured with 5th-gen Intel Core i7 processors, Nvidia GeForce 940M or GTX 950M GPUs and up to 4TB of storage. While it comes with a 1080p IPS touchscreen, there is no 4K option, as there is with the 15-inch Envy.

The 14-inch Envy will start at $629; the AMD version of the 15-inch Envy will start at $629 and the Intel model will start at $799. The 17-inch Envy will start at $999. All will start shipping in July.

LAPTOP Reviews Editor