Now that we live in a world where Chromebooks can run Android applications as natively as a Google Pixel 2, it makes sense that we’re starting to see detachable, hybrid Chromebooks that double as tablets. Acer, for example, announced the first Chrome OS tablet just two weeks ago, which sports a high-resolution touch screen and the same $329 price as the new iPad.
Now HP is leading the charge in the 2-in-1 detachable Chromebook space with its Chromebook x2. Like the HP Spectre x2 before it, the HP Chromebook x2 is a thin and lightweight tablet that can be magnetically hinged to and unhinged from its included keyboard at will. That’s where the similarities end between the HP Chromebook x2 and its Windows-based forebear, however.
Priced at $599.99, similar to the smaller iPad Pro, and available from Best Buy starting June 10, the HP Chromebook x2 is designed to be affordable without compromising on looks. To no one’s surprise, then, it comes equipped with a seventh-generation Intel Core m3 processor, and a relatively skimpy 4GB of soldered RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage. A higher-end model with 8GB of RAM will also be available.
HP is a little more generous with the display, a 12.3-inch, QHD+ (2,400-by-1,600) WLED-backlit touch panel with a 5MP HP Wide Vision camera located above it. There’s also a 13MP rear camera devoted to mirror selfie loyalists.
Boasting a “sleek design” that can be taken “from room to room or on the road,” the HP Chromebook x2 weighs just 1.62 pounds in tablet mode and 3.07 pounds when the keyboard is attached. It measures 12 by 2.72 by 17.68 inches (HWD).
Within those dimensions, you’ll find a modest array of ports. There are two USB-C ports, both of which can be used for charging, transferring data, and outputting to external displays. There’s an audio jack for headphones and stereo speakers, too, along with a microSD card slot, an increasingly rare appendage, which supports expansion up to 256GB. Fortunately, you may not have to worry about plugging it into a wall outlet frequently, as HP promises all-day use from its 48 watt-hour battery.
The finish on the HP Chromebook x2 is ceramic white anodized aluminum. For that reason, it reminds me of the alpine white Dell XPS 13, captivating the eye similar to the way the MacBook Air did in its early days. The backlighting on its leather-like Oxford Blue keyboard adds to its appeal, making it not only easier to use in the dark, but also giving it a primo flair.
In addition to its proclivity to dock to the keyboard in a forward-facing orientation, the HP Chromebook x2 can be positioned in the opposite direction as well. In doing so, you can use the tablet in a number of different modes, including a tent mode and a tabletop display mode in which the keyboard essentially serves as a kickstand.
As is the case with many of HP’s convertibles, the Chromebook x2 supports an active pen that is enclosed in the box. The two-button stylus is meant for drawing, underlining, writing, and highlighting, though it might come in handy for doodling in class (or even more ambitious creative pursuits) because of its 255 pressure levels.