Can’t wait for a new Microsoft Surface Pro? HP’s upcoming Elite x2 might be for you

The Windows PC ecosystem is stronger than it has ever been, with a host of new form factors making their way to market, particularly in the mobile space. Windows 10 has features that work well with both touch-centric tablets and with the usual touchpad and keyboard, so the 2-in-1 market in particular is full of excellent options.

Most Windows 10 2-in-1s, from detachable tablets to 360-degree convertibles, are aimed at the consumer market. HP hopes to change this with the second generation of its Elite x2 2-in-1, which offers the usual tablet plus keyboard form factor, plus all the company’s business-focused security and management features.

In terms of specifications, the Elite x2 1012 G2 offers a 12.3-inch WQXGA+ (2,736 x 1,824) resolution display that’s protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4- and 10-point multitouch sensor. HP’s Active Pen is supported with a reinforced pen tip, 2,48 levels of pressure sensitivity, and reduced palm sensitivity for an optimal Windows 10 Ink experience.

The tablet portion is .36 inches thick and weighs 1.77 pounds, which rises to .57 inches thick and up to 2.94 pounds depending on which detachable keyboard is used. HP is offering two keyboard options, including the Collaboration Keyboard option that offers 1.5mm of key travel, and includes dedicated calendar, all end, present, and call answer buttons supporting Skype for Business functionality. Compared to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, the Elite x2 G2 is thinner and comes in at a similar weight.

Processor options include seventh-generation Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7, maxing out at the Core i7-7600U. Up to 16GB of LPDDR3-1866 RAM can be configured, and a variety of storage options are available up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. A 47 watt-hour battery powers the machine via either a 45-watt or 65-watt USB Type-C AC adapter, with HP promising a Surface Pro 4-beating 10 hours of battery life and a quick 30 minutes to charge the machine to 50 percent capacity.

A 5MP front-facing camera includes an infrared camera for Windows 10 authentication via facial recognition. An 8MP rear camera is also included. A fingerprint reader is also on hand for Windows 10 authentication.

Connectivity is provided by a USB Type-C 3.1 port with Thunderbolt 3, a USB Type-A 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, and a SIM slot for cellular connectivity. Wireless connectivity options are numerous, including Intel dual-band 801.11ac Wi-Fim Bluetooth 4.2, and various options for connecting to Global 4G LTE and WiGig mobile broadband networks.

In addition, HP touts the following business-specific features:

  • The first commercial detachable to pass Skype for Business certification, with HP Noise Cancellation and HP Audio Boost providing excellent voice clarity.
  • Class-leading serviceability that scored a 10 out of 10 from iFixit, compared to the iPad Pro’s3 out of 10 and the Surface Pro 4’s four out of 10.
  • HP multi-authentication technology that is hardened at the silicon level.
  • HP Sure Start Gen3 self-healing BIOS that provides for automatic recovery.
  • HP Manageability Integration Kit for deploying images, remote management, Microsoft SCCM plug-in, and Secure BIOS settings.
  • HP Workwise smart office solution that offers a smartphone app for remote PC management, including locking/unlocking the PC, tamper detection, a PC Dashboard, and more.

HP is releasing the Elite x2 1012 G2 in the U.S. in July 2017, starting at $1,099. When it arrives, it promises to offer a unique blend of power, portability, flexibility, and manageability that should appeal to small businesses and enterprises alike. With Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4’s replacement being so uncertain at this point, the HP Elite x2 G2 could offer a solid alternative.

Updated on 5-10-2017 by Mark Coppock: Added pricing and availability information.

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