When you hear the word laptops, HP is one of the names that crop up in your mind, and why not. They’ve pioneered that segment of computing devices for a long time. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, especially the premium tablets such as the iPad Pro and Samsung Tab S3, traditional laptops have faced a strong challenge in terms of proving the “ease of mobility” of these devices. While the likes of Microsoft Surface are priced really high, HP’s Pavilion X360 series has been around for a year or two with various models in it. It is essentially a laptop with a touchscreen and a 360-degree rotatable display that turns it into a tablet (well, sort of!).
We got to use the 2017 version of the 14-inch HP Pavilion X360 for three weeks or so. And we now bring you the detailed review of the same. Read on.
When it comes to the design, it’s the typical X360 you would have seen from before. That means it’s a silver laptop that aims at being simple in its design, not shooting for flamboyance. HP has saved all those for bringing in a sturdy aluminum build that is worth 1.8 kilograms almost. On the right side, there is an HDMI port, a couple of USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, and a full-blown SD slot. On the other side, there is a volume rocker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, power button and a charging port.
Much like Lenovo Yoga, the X360 screen can be rotated 360 degrees, and it is pretty smooth and holds up to to the position you want it to stay. This has been a hallmark of the X360 series and its good to see its smoother than before – no noise or clunks. The only issue is when you move the screen fully onto its back to convert it into a tablet, the weight makes it slightly uncomfortable to use, and we wish the edges were smooth or slightly more rounded, just like how an iPad is made, for a better user experience.
The keyboard is well made, with the keys having a traverse of 1.3mm. The movements are very smooth and noiseless. Being more of a Macbook user myself, I didn’t find it hard to get adjusted to the usage here, which is a good sign. The spacing is also comfortable for varied hand sizes. The Synaptics powered touchpad measures 5.5-inch x 2.5-inch and is well positioned – one doesn’t have to stretch the thumb too far to get those swipes going without having to lift the hand. It supports up to three finger gestures.
The display is made of a 14-inch 1080p panel and doubles as a touchscreen. The color output is sharp and easy to the eyes. While the display itself is highly reflective, the viewing angles are quite good at the edges when tilted, important for a rotating screen. The touch sensitivity too was free of issues, inclusive with the usage of the pen, which we will come to in a bit. With an overall brightness close to 350 nits, the display does well overall.
Under the hood, the variant of Pavilion X360 we used packed an Intel Core i5 7200 U, which is a 7th generation processor clocked at 2.2 GHz. This, along with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of internal storage, and a Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB for graphics is a good combination for a varied set of tasks one can use it for. My office work usually demands me to have some 20+ tabs on the browser open with mail clients, SharePoint pages and folders, media streaming and uploading and so on, the X360 never showed any signs of stutters. With games like Smite, League of Legends, playing well, it was a cake walk for the X360 with games such as Counter-Strike – thanks to the NVIDIA graphics card.
The sound output via the speaker and the earphones was immersive but cracked down at the highest volume with significant distortions. There are two issues with heavy multitasking on this laptop – first is the heating issue, rather over-warming to term it as. The top left portion gets significantly hot, and the fan tries really hard to keep the temperature at bay. While attempting that, it goes very noisy, enough to scare you at the start if something is going to give up. Secondly, the battery drain during gaming is significantly faster. The Lithium-Ion battery is stated to last for 12-15 hours but was nowhere near the claim. Up to 6 hours on light loads and 3 hours of gaming and heavy multitasking are what we noticed.
The pen that is supplied with the laptop is a very handy tool. It is compatible with Windows apps such as OneNote and some drawing tools. We found it very handy when we put it in the tablet mode and used it navigate across screens and making some presentations using it as a pointer. This also helps in keeping the screen free of smudges that start piling up when touched with hands. In certain applications such as Gmail and Facebook, we faced a fraction of a second lag for the first few clicks to be registered and then on it was fine. Not sure why, but it was consistent with some of the apps.
Priced at around Rs 70,390 (with a starting price of Rs 55k for core i3 variant), for what it offers, the HP Pavilion X360 is a good all-rounder. Good build, decent display, good touch screen, professional looking design that is neither too old nor too flashy, good sound output, a handy pen and solid performance for varied usage patterns. This is something for the professionals on the move. Be it a designer or a freelancer pounding in some code, or an artist going about their work or simply a gamer using it for their needs. It’s a convertible laptop that caters to a wide range of use cases which is hard to come by. Lenovo’s Yoga series is something that can compete, but we feel it is not a heavy hitter. Barring the battery life and over warming during heavy gameplay, the X360 will find our recommendation for sure. Especially with the many different screen sizes that are offered. If you are not into gaming, then the Lenovo’s Yoga series may suit you more and offers more stylish designs and colors as well. Which one would you choose? Do let us know!