HP SlateBook x2 User Review

*This device is a loaned review unit from HP Malaysia*

Do you want a 10.1″ Android tablet, that comes with a physical keyboard (like a notebook) and has all the software support to be used as a portable work machine? Android device manufacturers hear ya.

There’s a growing list of products in this form factor – a tablet that docks to a keyboard to make it a portable notebook for work and heavy typing. The market for this type of Android tablet / laptop hybrid, have mostly been dominated by ASUS Transformer Pad series. But we shouldn’t forget about the once biggest notebook brand, Hewlett-Packard aka HP.

HP has a line of Android tablets on top of their staple Windows devices. And this HP SlateBook x2 is one from their arsenal of getting into the tablet space, but still staying true to being an Enterprise friendly machine. So, here I am, writing this review to you on the device, my full user review of HP SlateBook x2.

 

Hardware Overview

The HP SlateBook x2 is essentially a 10.1″ Android tablet / laptop hybrid. Detach it from the dock and use it as a tablet for portable reading, taking notes in meetings, checking emails, etc. When you get back to your desk, dock the screen to the keyboard, to charge the battery for more juice, to use the physical keyboard to type long documents and emails and do proper work.

HP SlateBook x2 Review
HP SlateBook x2

I think the form factor is a great idea – portable and light, dual function as a tablet and a notebook, and well (mostly) affordable.

The official product name for this device is HP SlateBook 10-h000 x2 PC, which I know, is quite a mouthful. But first, let’s look at the full hardware specs of the SlateBook x2:-

  • 10.1″ IPS LCD display (1920 x 1080)
  • 1.8 GHz quad core NVIDIA® Tegra® 4 processor
  • 16 GB / 64 GB internal memory (59 GB Box cloud storage offer) + 2 GB RAM
  • Powered by Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” OS
  • 2 megapixel Full HD (1080p) rear camera (no autofocus, no Flash), 720p front facing webcam camera
  • 2.05 cm thin (9.6mm thin tablet only), weighing 1.26 kg (0.6 kg tablet only)
  • 3,375 mAh non-removable battery (tablet only); 2,960 mAh battery (keyboard dock)
  • Connectivity : WiFi, SD/MMC card reader, HDMI, USB 2.0, Bluetooth
  • Build material : Matte plastic build quality (tablet back and keyboard)
  • Available in 2 colours : Smoke Silver (16 GB), Snow White (16 GB / 64 GB version)

For more technical specs and other variation of the HP SlateBook x2, check out the HP Malaysia Online Store product page HERE or the SlateBook x2 US Product Page HERE.

The unit that I’m reviewing here is the 16 GB version of the Snow White SlateBook x2. You can check the HP Malaysia product page here.

HP SlateBook x2
Unboxing the HP SlateBook x2

Inside the box packaging, you’ll find the HP Slatebook x2 tablet with the keyboard dock, 20W AC power adapter and 3 pin charger and Quick Start guide.

HP SlateBook x2 - tablet (back)
HP SlateBook x2 – tablet only (back)
HP Slatebook X2 - Hardware (tablet)
Buttons on the back of SlateBook x2 (tablet)

Looking around the tablet only part of the SlateBook x2, you’ll notice that  it’s rather minimal. At the back of the matte white tablet, there’s the 2 megapixel (yeah, poor quality, right?) rear camera (more on this later), Power On/Off button on the right and volume rocker on the left. It’s rather funny that these are placed at the back, instead of at the side of the device, like most tablets.

This is mostly due to the design of a curved sides of the tablet, hence no real room for buttons and ports.

At the bottom, you’ll see the ports for docking into the keyboard.

HP SlateBook x2 - front
Front is all screen with HP logo at the bottom

Front if all screen, with minimal branding of the HP logo at the bottom bezel in landscape mode. As you can see in the picture, the screen here is quite the fingerprint magnet.

HP SlateBook x2 - tablet

The tablet alone weighs 0.6 kg at 9.6 mm thin. It does feel quite hefty for me, to be honest.

HP Slatebook X2 - Keyboard dock
Keyboard dock is sized at 91% of a normal notebook keyboard

The other half of the device, the keyboard dock is sized at 91% of a normal notebook keyboard, to fit with the 10.1″ tablet screen size. Attached, it feels like I’m using a netbook again.

The keys are island style chiclet keyboard, which has good depth and actually feels quite nice to type on, even a little cramped. It even comes with the top row of shortcut keys like “Back”, “Search”, screen brightness, Voice activation, volume, Print Screen (screenshot) and Music controls.

The odd bit is the trackpad at the bottom of the keyboard. Traditionally, because Android tablets are optimised as a touchscreen device, using this trackpad might be handy with actual Office documents use like Word, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Nevertheless, the trackpad was overly sensitive but not exactly helpful all of the time. Somehow, using it, even with word processing, like typing this review post, seems off and annoying.

HP SlateBook x2 - tablet & keyboard
Docking the tablet to the keyboard
HP SlateBook x2 - keyboard dock
Connecting ports for the tablet and keyboard

Align the 3 ports nicely to dock the tablet to the keyboard. Once aligned, you’ll hear a satisfying click sound when it’s in place.

HP SlateBook x2 - tablet release
Slider to release the tablet from the keyboard dock

There’s a slider release button at the centre of the keyboard dock, underneath the HP logo to release the tablet from the dock.

HP Slatebook X2 - Hardware 2
Docked tablet and keyboard of the SlateBook x2

When docked, the SlateBook x2 looks just like a notebook, right? That’s the point of this tablet/laptop hybrid. When open, the dock connector portion pushed the keyboard dock off the table with a little space underneath for breathing room.

HP Slatebook X2 - Hardware (docked)
Hardware, ports and buttons of docked tablet and keyboard

The keyboard dock comes with a number of handy ports – (Right) HDMI port, power charger port and SD card reader, (left) headphone and microphone jack, full USB port and nothing on the front and back.

HP Slatebook X2 - Hardware 1
Top and bottom of the closed HP SlateBook x2

The bottom has a nice rubber legs at the corners for non-slip goodness. 🙂

HP SlateBook x2
Hefty for a tablet/laptop hybrid, but OK for a netbook

All together, at 1.26 kg measuring a 2.05 cm thin, the whole combination feels rather hefty for a tablet / laptop hybrid, but OK for a netbook or notebook machine.

 

Software Overview

HP Slatebook X2 - Home, Navigation
Rather clean Android install, with some HP bloatware

The SlateBook x2 runs on Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” OS. Although not the latest Android 4.3 OS, it’s still good enough as HP kept it rather clean with minimal  pre-installed apps.

HP Slatebook X2 - Software apps
Android’s staple of Google Now, Chrome browser, stock keyboard and Gmail. HP added it’s Calendar and HP File Manager

Using the device as a tablet, the on screen keyboard is activated. When docked, you can just use the physical keyboard dock for typing. It’s intuitive, so no need to manually switch on your part.

HP Slatebook X2 - HP Pre-installed app
HP pre-installed apps like HP Media Player, HP ePrint, Printer Control

HP’s pre-installed apps are mostly for productivity. There’s a HP Media Player allows multimedia playback for Music, Video and Photo.

HP SlateBook x2 - Speakers
Tiny speakers at the bottom of the tablet

Although the tiny speakers at the bottom of the tablet doesn’t quite produce awesome sound quality. I would suggest you plug in your headphones if you truly want to listen to music on this device.

HP File Manager is your file explorer and HP ePrint and Printer Control allows you to hook up your device with a HP printer. This is good – cos Android tablets are not always optimised for printing. *wink*

HP Slatebook X2 - Kingsoft Office
Kingsoft Office to view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents

Most impressive pre-installed apps, of course, is the inclusion of Kingsoft Office that allows you to view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents. Because this is a tablet / laptop hybrid, HP packs great features and apps like this to allow you to make this a good work machine.

I tested some sample docs, spreadsheet and presentations with Kingsoft Office apps. I don’t quite like it. While it has a number of features for mobile computing, the touchscreen and even trackpad don’t seem to work too well for hardcore work. Minimal work and edits, yes. Real, detailed work, not quite there.

Note : Traditional Android tablets (like Samsung) comes with Polaris Office instead. If you have Microsoft Office 365 purchased, you can also use the newly announced Office Mobile for Office 365.

HP Slatebook X2 - Splashtop
Splashtop is a service that allows you to mirror your desktop

The SlateBook x2 also comes with Splashtop pre-installed.

What is Splashtop? It’s a mobile remote desktop app that allows you to mirror your desktop on your portable tablet or mobile device. With the app installed on both desktop (or notebook) PC or Mac and mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) you can use your mobile device to control everything on your desktop on-the-go.

Basically, what you see on your mobile device is your desktop at home/work. You can control your desktop from your mobile! So, basically, you can leave your heavy laptop at work, and use this SlateBook x2 at home and when you’re out of the office. More reasons why HP has made this SlateBook x2 a great device for the working professional!

For more information on Splashtop, check out their website at http://www.splashtop.com/

HP Slatebook X2 - Nvidia Tegra Zone
Nvidia Tegra Zone for high performance gaming on your tablet

One of the bigger selling points of this device is that it’s processor is powered by a 1.8 GHz quad core NVIDIA® Tegra® 4 processor. Tegra 4 processors are build for great speed and performance especially for gaming. With that, the SlateBook x2 comes with the Tegra Zone app store pre-installed, allowing you to browse highlighted games that are optimised for a Tegra 4 device.

Other than highlighted games, you also get to catch up on mobile gaming news. This is just a collection of games, optimised for Tegra 4 devices, for browsing. To download, you’re directed back to the Google Play store for (purchase and) download.

Who says a device targeted for the working professionals cannot include some awesome mobile gaming features? 🙂

 

Camera

HP SlateBook x2 - rear camera
2 megapixel rear camera only

Yes, it is a disappointing spec for a machine like this. Only 2 megapixel rear camera. Although, HP did say that the rear camera can take Full 1080p pictures and videos, the rear camera comes with fixed focus lens (no autofocus) and no LED flash (so no low light pictures, folks). As HP calls it “Rear-facing Full HD camera (f2.0, 2.0MP, 1080p, fixed focus, low light enhancement)”.

HP Slatebook X2 - Camera Settings
HP Slatebook X2 – Camera Settings

Based on this spec, as the device is mostly targeted at more work than play, the rear camera is good to capture pictures of whiteboard scribblings, occasional pictures for work stuff and not truly for mobile photography.

The front camera, sadly does not reveal it’s megapixel count, with only indication that it records in 720p resolution. Specifically, HP calls it, “(Front-facing) HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated digital microphone (f2.0, 720p, fixed focus, low light enhancement)”. Which, to be honest, really don’t sound all that impressive as well. Likely only good for Skype video calling.

Here are some sample images taken with both the rear and front camera. Images are in its original size and not edited, so click to view original, enlarged version:-

 

Battery Life

The SlateBook x2 comes with 2 batteries – one 3,375 mAh non-removable battery on the tablet only PLUS a 2,960 mAh battery on the keyboard dock. Feel free to do mobile computing with just the tablet alone, and when you get back to the keyboard dock, plug it in and you’re charging your tablet, while you continue working!

In my review, I managed a full day using the tablet alone, without any indication of being low on battery. But I kept the tablet plugged into the keyboard dock, so no major issues with battery life, especially with the keyboard dock almost permanently plugged in to the power adapter.

Overall, I’m rather happy with the battery life of the SlateBook x2.

PS. Sorry, no screenshots of battery life here.

 

Pricing and Availability

HP SlateBook x2

The HP SlateBook x2 is now available for sale at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) starting from RM 1,499. It’s available either with HP retailers as well as online at HP Malaysia’s Online Store with 3 different versions available (as of time of writing):-

  • HP SlateBook 10-h013ru x2 PC (16 GB Smoke Silver) at RM 1,499 HERE
  • HP SlateBook 10-h014ru x2 PC (16 GB Snow White) at RM 1,499 HERE
  • HP SlateBook 10-h015ru x2 PC (64 GB Snow White) at RM 1,799 HERE

For more technical specs and other variation of the HP SlateBook x2, check out the HP Malaysia Online Store product page HERE or the US Product Page HERE.

 

Conclusion

Understandably, HP has always been a major player in the enterprise market, with good devices and solutions for the working professionals. This is another device that fits within this profile.

Writing the review on HP SlateBook X2 on the device itself. #gadget #review #android #slatebook

A photo posted by Winnie Chen-Head (@winniekepala) on

If you’re wondering if this is a device for you, then picture this-

You want a tablet to check emails, view/edit Office documents and take notes in meetings or when you’re away from desk. Then, you wanna leave your heavy work laptop at the office (or desktop PC) and use this to work at home with good Microsoft Office support and a keyboard for lots of typing. This is the tablet/laptop hybrid for you.

Alternatively, if you’re one who wants a good powerful machine for you to do your mobile gaming with its powerful Tegra 4 processor, as well as a device that you can use for real work and heavy typing, then this SlateBook x2 could be it, too.

Starting from RM 1,499 this is about the same price as a mid range smartphone or tablet, but is so much more with its keyboard dock, for long form typing. Rather perfectly priced, I must say. If this hybrid device fits what you’re looking for, the price tag is quite alright.

On the flip side, I believe HP has a bigger challenge of winning this market segment with the likes of ASUS Transformer Pad already (somewhat) dominating this market.

Read more about the HP SlateBook x2 on their US website’s product page at http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/x2/slatebook-x2.html and HP Malaysia’s Online Store page HERE.

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