Windows 8 may not have been a mass success that Steve Ballmer and Microsoft hoped for but it did force PC manufacturers to innovate with design. The result was convertible devices whose screen came apart or crazy hinge-based devices which flipped or did yoga, pioneered by Lenovo.
HP Pavilion x360
HP was not an early bird to embrace the idea of devices that had a flipping hinge but when it made one, it was reassuring and everyone, including us, praised the device. That device was Spectre x360, a premium HP notebook that flipped into tablet mode, tent mode, etc.
HP Spectre x360 was not just premium in looks, it had premium pricing too. So how do you cater to an audience seeking similar aesthetics but at a mid-range pricing? Meet HP Pavilion x360, a Spectre turned into a mid-budget offering.
Specs: 64-bit Windows 10 Home OS | 13.3 inch FHD LED BrightView Anti-glare Screen (1920x1080p) | Intel Core i5-6200U (2.3 GHz with Turbo Boost Upto 2.8 GHz) | 16 GB DDR3 | 1GB Intel HD 520 GPU | 1 TB HDD | 469.9 x 304.5 x 75.9 mm (1.71 kg) | 6-cell, 62 Wh Li-ion
Price: Rs 56,990
What is good?
Honestly the most delightful aspect of this device is its build quality and that rotating hinge. HP Pavilion x360 sports a hinge similar to the one seen previously on Spectre x360. It flips 360 degrees, becomes a tablet (giant one at that), gains tent mode and whatever weird position you would want to use it for; and this particular flipping hinge has many use cases. For instance, you can read Kindle books in tablet mode and when an email pops-in, you can respond to that in regular laptop mode.
The tent mode for me was the most interesting position the HP Pavilion x360 could transform into; in the tent mode, HP Pavilion x360 becomes an extremely versatile media consumption device. My little niece preferred this over the iPhone for her bedtime stories.
While the hinge is unique, it will cease to excite you after sometime and HP covers that up with a performance that is second to none in this price category. The sixth-gen Intel Core i5 based on Skylake chipset keeps everything running smoothly. Multitasking, opening and closing multiple Chrome tabs, Photoshop, Microsoft Office suite – everything works efficiently. There was not one moment when I noticed any significant lag or stutter on this machine.
I was not extremely impressed with the keyboard on HP Envy 17 and this time HP doesn’t disappoint. The chiclet style keyboard layout is a breeze to type on. The keys are punchy and they offer decent travel too. While the lack of backlight on the keyboard would be a downer, it’s definitely not a deal-breaker. I wrote the entire review on this notebook rested on a small traytable in my flight and I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever.
A great keyboard needs support from a decent trackpad for a perfect PC experience. While the trackpad on Pavilion x360 may not be the best, it is certainly the finest you can get on a Windows machine right now. Two finger scrolling works and a gentle press at the bottom right corner does exactly what right-click on a mouse would do. Power users take note, the three finger swipe from the bottom of the trackpad shows the Taskview which makes switching windows extremely easy.
With Apple buying Beats, HP had no option but to pair with new partner and in Bang and Olufsen, they have found a really valued-partner. The Bang and Olufsen speaker setup sounds great. It may not be loudest considering it is positioned at the bottom of the machine, but the sound was never distorted or tinny for that matter. Taking into account the way this PC is going to be used, the B&O Play is set to entice users.
What is not that good?
For most part of my time reviewing this notebook, I had the display set at 100 percent brightness which is against my preference of lighter settings. For me, the display didn’t seem adequately bright and even the colours were more on the warmer side.
While Windows may have embraced touch as an input, the experience is not really fluid here. There were occasional misses and typing on that virtual keyboard is nothing short of a nightmare. While Windows 10 may well be the best iteration of Windows yet, the lack of tablet-optimised and top quality apps just puts me off.
The battery was definitely not impressive. First, I had display set to max for pleasing my eyes and second it lasted not more than five hours of mixed use which involved Twitter, Facebook syncing in the background over WiFi and few Chrome tabs open.
Gaming is another area where Pavilion x360 is not meant to win hearts. I was not even able to download Asphalt 8: Airborne from Windows Store and some other PC games ran relatively slower. The lack of dedicated graphics and heavy reliance on that Intel HD 520 chip is to blame.
Should you buy?
I am convinced that this is the best HP could do for the price. Throwing in a backlit keyboard and dedicated graphics would have made this a beast of a convertible offering, but then only HP can answer how much of a price difference that would have been.
If you are looking at a convertible notebook that flips, turns into a tablet and can be set like a tent in your bed for watching YouTube, you should definitely look at this one. But if you don’t care for these feature, then look at traditional Windows notebooks or you could simply do great with a Macbook Air.
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