Do you want a 10.1″ Android tablet, that comes with a physical keyboard (like a notebook) and has all the software support to be used as a portable work machine? Android device manufacturers hear ya.
There’s a growing list of products in this form factor – a tablet that docks to a keyboard to make it a portable notebook for work and heavy typing. The market for this type of Android tablet / laptop hybrid, have mostly been dominated by ASUS Transformer Pad series. But we shouldn’t forget about the once biggest notebook brand, Hewlett-Packard aka HP.
HP has a line of Android tablets on top of their staple Windows devices. And this HP SlateBook x2 is one from their arsenal of getting into the tablet space, but still staying true to being an Enterprise friendly machine. So, here I am, writing this review to you on the device, my full user review of HP SlateBook x2.
The HP SlateBook x2 is essentially a 10.1″ Android tablet / laptop hybrid. Detach it from the dock and use it as a tablet for portable reading, taking notes in meetings, checking emails, etc. When you get back to your desk, dock the screen to the keyboard, to charge the battery for more juice, to use the physical keyboard to type long documents and emails and do proper work.
I think the form factor is a great idea – portable and light, dual function as a tablet and a notebook, and well (mostly) affordable.
The official product name for this device is HP SlateBook 10-h000 x2 PC, which I know, is quite a mouthful. But first, let’s look at the full hardware specs of the SlateBook x2:-
The unit that I’m reviewing here is the 16 GB version of the Snow White SlateBook x2. You can check the HP Malaysia product page here.
Inside the box packaging, you’ll find the HP Slatebook x2 tablet with the keyboard dock, 20W AC power adapter and 3 pin charger and Quick Start guide.
Looking around the tablet only part of the SlateBook x2, you’ll notice that it’s rather minimal. At the back of the matte white tablet, there’s the 2 megapixel (yeah, poor quality, right?) rear camera (more on this later), Power On/Off button on the right and volume rocker on the left. It’s rather funny that these are placed at the back, instead of at the side of the device, like most tablets.
This is mostly due to the design of a curved sides of the tablet, hence no real room for buttons and ports.
At the bottom, you’ll see the ports for docking into the keyboard.
Front if all screen, with minimal branding of the HP logo at the bottom bezel in landscape mode. As you can see in the picture, the screen here is quite the fingerprint magnet.
The tablet alone weighs 0.6 kg at 9.6 mm thin. It does feel quite hefty for me, to be honest.
The other half of the device, the keyboard dock is sized at 91% of a normal notebook keyboard, to fit with the 10.1″ tablet screen size. Attached, it feels like I’m using a netbook again.
The keys are island style chiclet keyboard, which has good depth and actually feels quite nice to type on, even a little cramped. It even comes with the top row of shortcut keys like “Back”, “Search”, screen brightness, Voice activation, volume, Print Screen (screenshot) and Music controls.
The odd bit is the trackpad at the bottom of the keyboard. Traditionally, because Android tablets are optimised as a touchscreen device, using this trackpad might be handy with actual Office documents use like Word, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Nevertheless, the trackpad was overly sensitive but not exactly helpful all of the time. Somehow, using it, even with word processing, like typing this review post, seems off and annoying.
Align the 3 ports nicely to dock the tablet to the keyboard. Once aligned, you’ll hear a satisfying click sound when it’s in place.
There’s a slider release button at the centre of the keyboard dock, underneath the HP logo to release the tablet from the dock.
When docked, the SlateBook x2 looks just like a notebook, right? That’s the point of this tablet/laptop hybrid. When open, the dock connector portion pushed the keyboard dock off the table with a little space underneath for breathing room.
The keyboard dock comes with a number of handy ports – (Right) HDMI port, power charger port and SD card reader, (left) headphone and microphone jack, full USB port and nothing on the front and back.
The bottom has a nice rubber legs at the corners for non-slip goodness.
All together, at 1.26 kg measuring a 2.05 cm thin, the whole combination feels rather hefty for a tablet / laptop hybrid, but OK for a netbook or notebook machine.
The SlateBook x2 runs on Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” OS. Although not the latest Android 4.3 OS, it’s still good enough as HP kept it rather clean with minimal pre-installed apps.
Using the device as a tablet, the on screen keyboard is activated. When docked, you can just use the physical keyboard dock for typing. It’s intuitive, so no need to manually switch on your part.
HP’s pre-installed apps are mostly for productivity. There’s a HP Media Player allows multimedia playback for Music, Video and Photo.
Although the tiny speakers at the bottom of the tablet doesn’t quite produce awesome sound quality. I would suggest you plug in your headphones if you truly want to listen to music on this device.
HP File Manager is your file explorer and HP ePrint and Printer Control allows you to hook up your device with a HP printer. This is good – cos Android tablets are not always optimised for printing. *wink*
Most impressive pre-installed apps, of course, is the inclusion of Kingsoft Office that allows you to view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents. Because this is a tablet / laptop hybrid, HP packs great features and apps like this to allow you to make this a good work machine.
I tested some sample docs, spreadsheet and presentations with Kingsoft Office apps. I don’t quite like it. While it has a number of features for mobile computing, the touchscreen and even trackpad don’t seem to work too well for hardcore work. Minimal work and edits, yes. Real, detailed work, not quite there.
The SlateBook x2 also comes with Splashtop pre-installed.
What is Splashtop? It’s a mobile remote desktop app that allows you to mirror your desktop on your portable tablet or mobile device. With the app installed on both desktop (or notebook) PC or Mac and mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) you can use your mobile device to control everything on your desktop on-the-go.
Basically, what you see on your mobile device is your desktop at home/work. You can control your desktop from your mobile! So, basically, you can leave your heavy laptop at work, and use this SlateBook x2 at home and when you’re out of the office. More reasons why HP has made this SlateBook x2 a great device for the working professional!
For more information on Splashtop, check out their website at http://www.splashtop.com/
One of the bigger selling points of this device is that it’s processor is powered by a 1.8 GHz quad core NVIDIA® Tegra® 4 processor. Tegra 4 processors are build for great speed and performance especially for gaming. With that, the SlateBook x2 comes with the Tegra Zone app store pre-installed, allowing you to browse highlighted games that are optimised for a Tegra 4 device.
Other than highlighted games, you also get to catch up on mobile gaming news. This is just a collection of games, optimised for Tegra 4 devices, for browsing. To download, you’re directed back to the Google Play store for (purchase and) download.
Who says a device targeted for the working professionals cannot include some awesome mobile gaming features?
Yes, it is a disappointing spec for a machine like this. Only 2 megapixel rear camera. Although, HP did say that the rear camera can take Full 1080p pictures and videos, the rear camera comes with fixed focus lens (no autofocus) and no LED flash (so no low light pictures, folks). As HP calls it “Rear-facing Full HD camera (f2.0, 2.0MP, 1080p, fixed focus, low light enhancement)”.
Based on this spec, as the device is mostly targeted at more work than play, the rear camera is good to capture pictures of whiteboard scribblings, occasional pictures for work stuff and not truly for mobile photography.
The front camera, sadly does not reveal it’s megapixel count, with only indication that it records in 720p resolution. Specifically, HP calls it, “(Front-facing) HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated digital microphone (f2.0, 720p, fixed focus, low light enhancement)”. Which, to be honest, really don’t sound all that impressive as well. Likely only good for Skype video calling.
Here are some sample images taken with both the rear and front camera. Images are in its original size and not edited, so click to view original, enlarged version:-
The SlateBook x2 comes with 2 batteries – one 3,375 mAh non-removable battery on the tablet only PLUS a 2,960 mAh battery on the keyboard dock. Feel free to do mobile computing with just the tablet alone, and when you get back to the keyboard dock, plug it in and you’re charging your tablet, while you continue working!
In my review, I managed a full day using the tablet alone, without any indication of being low on battery. But I kept the tablet plugged into the keyboard dock, so no major issues with battery life, especially with the keyboard dock almost permanently plugged in to the power adapter.
Overall, I’m rather happy with the battery life of the SlateBook x2.
PS. Sorry, no screenshots of battery life here.
The HP SlateBook x2 is now available for sale at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) starting from RM 1,499. It’s available either with HP retailers as well as online at HP Malaysia’s Online Store with 3 different versions available (as of time of writing):-
Understandably, HP has always been a major player in the enterprise market, with good devices and solutions for the working professionals. This is another device that fits within this profile.
|Country of Origin||America|
|Country of Manufacturing||China|
|Processor||1.8 GHz NVIDIA Tegra T40S 4-Plus-1 Quad, 1 MB L2 cache|
|Operating System||Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)|
|Chipset||AMD SoC FCH|
|Dimension||25.8 x 19.38 x 2.05 cm|
|RAM||On-board 2GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM|
|Hard Disk||64 GB eMMC|
|Display||10.1" diagonal WUXGA LED-backlit IPS Touchscreen (1920 x 1200)|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Camera||(Front-facing) HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated digital microphone (f2.0, 720p, fixed focus, low light enhancement) Rear-facing Full HD camera (f2.0, 2.0MP, 1080p, fixed focus, low light enhancement)|
|Audio||dts Sound+ Audio Playback, Dual speakers|
|Pointing Device||HP Imagepad supporting multi-touch gestures|
|LAN and WiFi||802.11a/b/g/n Bluetooth|
|Connector Interface||Multi-Format Digital Media Card Reader for Secure Digital cards # 1 USB 2.0 # 1 HDMI # 2 headphone-out/microphone-in combo jacks|
|Battery||2-cell Li-Ion polymer, 12Hours Backup|
|Weight||Starting at 1.26 kg|