While Microsoft may have dominated the headlines this week with not one, but two new Surface devices, HP has its own ideas on how to make a multi-function hybrid and is putting them into practice with the 12-inch HP Spectre x2.
The Spectre x2 looks to optimize both business productivity and portable entertainment with a two-piece design featuring a bright, 12-inch 1920 x 1080 display, detachable keyboard, 4 or 8GB of RAM, a range of SSDs and Intel's 6th Gen Core M CPUs. However, unlike the Surface, the X2's keyboard is included in its price, which starts at just $800.
That isn't the only difference though. On the X2, HP shied away from having a sheet of folding metal serve as a kickstand. Instead, the X2 features a single hinged-bar that pops out from the body of the device by pressing a button on the side. HP says that the bar helps it better utilize the full thickness of the device, which in the X2's case, leads to more room for a bigger battery. (HP claims the X2 should last up to 10 hours on a single charge.)
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Another difference that sets the X2 apart is its three cameras. There's a single 5-megapixel camera in front for selfies, a 8-MP shooter in back for general photography, and a rear-facing Intel Real Sense R200 3D camera with depth sensing tech. The X2 is among the first devices to feature the rear-facing RealSense, which allows you to make 3D scans of objects or people.
Recently, HP showed off X2 at an event for its new fall 2015 devices, which gave me the chance to see how the X2 stacks up against the Surface and the legion of soon-to-be-released detachable hybrids like the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700. On the outside, the X2 is finished in a lovely brushed aluminum with polished silver accents to add a little sparkle. I really liked the inclusion the two USB Type-C ports, one on each side, which allow you to connect the X2 to an eternal monitor while leaving a port open for recharging.
In case you need extra storage, there's a microSD card reader positioned on the side, next to a SIM card slot, which allows you to stay connected all the time via Verizon's LTE network. Like all of its new premium consumer devices, the X2 comes with Bang & Olufsen audio, which can be heard coming from the four stereo speakers located on both the tablet itself and the detachable keyboard. There's also stylus support (although the stylus will cost you an extra $50), and even a hidden magnetic strip which provides a place to store the stylus when not in use.
But the X2's biggest win may be in terms of 'lapability.' The X2's keyboard features much stiffer construction than what you get on the Surface keyboard, which leads to less flex and a more stable typing experience when your away from a desk or table. The keys also feature a full 1.5mm of travel distance and built-in backlighting to help you hunt and peck in poorly lit environments.
The HP Spectre X2 will be available starting November 8 direct from HP or from Best Buy.
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