In the PC world, we’re seeing a resurgence of the convertible tablet form factor thanks to Windows 8. However, most of these new tablet/laptop hybrids employ a new take on the idea, flipping around, or sliding, or making the keyboard and display two separate pieces altogether. The only place we’re still seeing old school conversion – where you twist the display around on a hinge – is the business world. Case in point: HP’s new EliteBook Revolve.
This 11.6-inch laptop is very Ultrabook-esque, so it’s not completely retro. The overall package is thin and svelte yet maintains the typical Elitebook aesthetic. It’ weighs 3.04 pounds thanks to a magnesium chassis – an acceptable tradeoff for a machine made to last, even under the rigors of travel. It feels lighter than it looks and most will hardly feel it in a briefcase. Still, when you turn this baby into a tablet, it won’t be the kind you’ll want to hold in one arm for too long.
Like any self-respecting Ultrabook, the EliteBook Revolve comes with a backlit, island-style keyboard and buttonless touchpad. The keys are nicely spaced and offer good travel and tactile feedback. The touchpad felt good and responsive in our short hands-on time with the machine, but that was on a pre-production model. If the twisting hinge isn’t old school enough for you, there’s also an optional pen for precision input.
Specs-wise, you’re getting an HD touch screen protected by Gorilla Glass 2, a choice of Intel Core i processors, up to a 256GB SSD, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and NFC. An optional mobile broadband module is also available. For people who often do the telepresence thing and check in via video chat, the 720p HD camera and dual-microphone array mean everyone will both see and hear you clearly.
HP will also sell docking options for this EliteBook so that when users get to their desk at work or home they can easily connect up to an external monitor, printer, and anything else they need.
Given that business users are a more conservative lot – thus the more traditional form factor – we’re not surprised that HP is offering customers both Windows 8 Pro and Windows 7 Pro as options.
The EliteBook Revolve won’t be out until March of next year, so HP doesn’t have any pricing for us at this time. We expect to learn more at CES in January.