Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but something tells us Microsoft isn’t going to be flattered that HP has ripped off the overall design language and versatility of the Surface Pro 3.
The new Envy x2 convertibles run Windows 8.1, so Redmond can’t get too pissed. And at the end of the day, the company’s making money off Surfaces as well as these Envy clones. Besides, isn’t tech progress all about “borrowing” nifty concepts, and taking them to the next level of functionality? That’s exactly what HP is doing, with an Envy x2 13/15-inch pair that can be used in laptop mode, with a soft keyboard attached, as tablets, when the docks aren’t needed, and in all-in-one PC style.
Microsoft doesn’t have that last use case covered as standard, which is a shame, because they’d only need a Bluetooth keyboard capable of staying connected to the touch screen from a distance. HP also cranks up the flexibility of its Envy x2 hybrids with a unique, seamless keyboard linking mechanism.
It’s probably not the most robust ensemble around, but switching from tablet to laptop to AiO is clearly a piece of cake. And yes, you even get a Surface-aping adjustable built-in kickstand. Intriguingly, the keyboard cover can fold over the display for easy transportation.
Portability isn’t however the strongest suit of the upgraded 13-inch Envy x2, which tips the scales at 2.8 pounds sans the “base”, measuring 0.54 inches thick. In comparison, the Surface Pro 3 starts at 1.76 pounds and 0.36 inches.
And we really can’t excuse the bulk, since there’s a 14nm Intel Core M processor under the hood and no fans required for cooling the frugal chip. The same goes for 15-inch Envy x2 variants, equipped with Intel “Broadwell” power and tipping the scales at a whopping 4.04 pounds and up.
If you don’t mind picking up entry-level configurations, the newest entries in the Envy franchise can be quite affordable. The cheapest 13 incher is $800 with 720p screen resolution, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
$750 scores you a 15-inch Envy x2 with a 1,920 × 1,080 pix res IPS panel, 4GB memory, and 500GB hybrid hard drive. Higher-end, pricier models come with more memory, slightly faster Core M processors and, in the case of the Envy x2 13, Full HD display resolution and larger SSDs.