HP EliteBook x360 G2 (2017) review: Stylish and powerful business laptop

HP EliteBook x360 G2 (2017) review: Stylish and powerful business laptop

– Typically speaking, business laptops are kind of boring. But that’s all changing lately. Take for instance, the HP EliteBook x360. As the name implies, it borrows a lot from the Spectre line, and even though I’m non Enterprise, I like it a lot. Here’s why. (upbeat music) All right, when it comes to technology, the EliteBook x360 is a premium machine. In fact, it’s one of the nicest laptops I have used. It’s very similar to the Spectre line, but make no mistake, there are some core differences here with this laptop, and to be honest a lot of them are really nice changes that I wouldn’t mind seeing in the Spectre line. Let’s take a look at the display. First of all, this is a 13 inch full HD display. There will be a 4K version that will be appearing later, I believe in April. That’s also a really nice panel. You get some pretty thin bezels here on the side, but definitely not the thinnest ones.

The Spectres are actually slightly thinner. There are also bezels on the top and bottom. Now, that’s not a big deal here on top, because you do get a 720p web camera. It’s not a great web camera, but it does the job. You also get dual IR lenses up there for Windows Hello and bioauthentication, which is always a nice touch. Notice the thicker bezels actually help when using this as a tablet.

Display is pretty good. It’s gets 96% SRGB when we ran our calibration on it. The 4K I’m not really too sure, but it may be similar to the Spectre line. We’ll have to see. And perhaps the killer feature of the EliteBook is gonna HP SureView. Have you ever been in a coffee store or on an airplane looking at a sensitive document or your bank account? Worry about onlookers? No worries. With the full HD version there is an option for SureView, and what it does is allows you to hit the F2 button and it’s gonna partially obscure your display, so that onlookers can’t do what’s called visual hacking.

They just don’t see anything. It looks white and washed out. But to you, you can of course continue your work. Very impressive technology. We’ll be doing a deeper dive on it in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to this channel for it. And when it comes to the CPU this is running an Intel Core I7 7600U. That’s actually really interesting because the Spectre line has a 7500U. All that means is this processor is actually clocked slightly higher both for its base frequency and turbo. That’s actually really nice. You also get some VPro technology in there. That’s for Intel and specifically businesses and remote management. Really important stuff. If you’re a consumer, it doesn’t matter. Really good processor, dual core KBLA. You get 16 gigs of RAM, 512 gigs of storage. Really good performance for all of those. You can get a SATA three drive, which will save you some money, but don’t forget the performance is not nearly as good as the PCIE version. Let’s talk a little bit about this keyboard. If you have noticed, it does not look like the Spectre’s keyboard, which is really interesting. This one is actually pretty different.

It actually reminds me very much of a MacBookPro from 2015. In fact, between the design and the way the keys travel, it feels very much like a Mac, and that’s actually a really good thing, ’cause ironically Apple has changed their keyboard to their new Butterfly Switch a lot of people don’t actually like. This keyboard is really fantastic though. The travel’s really good. It’s kind of stiff, but it’s very consistent, which is a really nice thing. I think HP has been absolutely nailing keyboards lately, and this one carries over.

Being a business laptop, they did change some of the top keys here, which is really interesting. So you do get hang up keys for video conferencing. Now that only works with Skype Business, and not the Skype UDP app, but still kind of interesting. You can also mute your microphone with one touch, which is pretty helpful, but not very consumer facing features, obviously. This is built for the mobile office and they work very well. The keys are also back lit, and being that these are black keys the back lighting shows very well with it. So you get a really good contrast. IF you notice on the silver Spectre, they use silver keys, and you have that issue with the back light. Let’s take a look here at the lower half of the keyboard deck and you do have a track pad which is really nice in size. It’s not as elongated as the Spectre, which always looked a little weird. So this is a little bit more normal looking. Now this track pad is Precision.

I’m so excited about that. It works very well. You do get a little drop off here which is really nice, because it allows you to feel the edges of the track pad when using it. It’s smooth and glass, just a really excellent design. And what makes this track pad also super interesting is its Alps GlidePoint which is a slightly different driver set then Precision, and you can actually dynamically change it whenever you want. I don’t think most people will do it, but you can. All Alps does is give you a few more adjusters, and a few more tricks and configuration options, but Precision is the way I think it should go.

Being a business laptop, there’s a fingerprint scanner on board, as well. Now you can use that in conjunction with the IR camera. So both work together. You can use either or. Now, the fingerprint scanner’s pretty good at synaptics. The size is a little small, but I do like the design a lot. It looks great, but you can also feel it without having to look for it. I found the accuracy not as good as I would prefer. It’s kind of hit and miss, but it’s nice to have it there, and it also works with some of the HP security software, which I’ll touch upon later. Let’s talk about the overall design here. Very beautiful. All CNC machined aluminum unibody design. Very solid, no creaks, and I have no complaints whatsoever. There is this line running across the top here, in case you’re curious, that’s for the WiFi and Bluetooth.

It’s basically an antenna. Now, HP calls this Diamond Cut, so it’s a very sharp, and just beautiful looking design here. You get some mirroring on the edges which looks really good. Turning to the back now, you can see they changed things up a little bit here. Instead of the barrel design it is a little bit flatter. You also have the EliteBook logo here, nice and subtle. The hinges are basically the same as the Spectre. They just look slightly different. For ports you can see here on the left side we have a USB type A.

That’s a so you get power on there as well. You do have the power button you can see it blinks on occasion as the device is in standby or charging. You have of course the volume rockers here on the side, because this does turn into a full tablet, so you’ll wanna use those. Here’s where the SIM card would go. Now this one’s just a dummy one, so that’s a pop out. I believe that will be available in some markets, so you can get 4G LTE as an option, as well, which is pretty neat. Smart card reader for those who need them, and turning around to the right side, we can see some other ports here as well.

So, we have of course a Micro SD card reader. You have a full USB type C Thunderbolt port, and I can say this does work with an EGPU. I plugged it into a Razor Core, using an Nvidia GTX 1080 TI, which of course is over kill, but it totally worked. You can play video games with that. And you have your lock slide, HDMI 1.4, so it’s not 2.0, which I wish it would use, but will give you 4K output on there, which is really nice, and you have your second USB type A port, also 3.1. Over here you have the barrel charger. Now, HP also uses their fast charge system, so you can basically replenish about 50% of the battery in 30 minutes. If you don’t wanna use that you can of course use the USB type C port. In fact, when you’re ordering this device, you can order either or charger. This one’s a little bit more. I believe it costs about $18 more for that charger, but if you’re into USB type C feel free to use that as well.

All right, let’s talk a little bit about this pen. It is optional when you order this direct from HP, but I highly recommend it. It is a Wacom pen, which is really nice. In fact, you get two buttons here, which are configurable. There’s actually a third button here on top, which you can also use to quick launch things. Really nice design. If it looks like a Surface pen, you would be right. It feels very much like a Surface pen. I’m totally fine with that. Why change something that works so well? This is probably one of the best active pens I’ve used that’s actually not part of the Surface line. I really like it. Now Wacom actually includes their software with this, which allows you to configure it, and do all sorts of cool things, like a radio menu on the screen.

And one of the biggest problems with active pens is what do you do with them when you’re not using them? It’s a real big problem when you have super thin laptops. So what HP did, they gave you this. Now, this may look kind of goofy, but what it is, it’s a pen loop, and it goes into the smart card reader, which is really smart. I don’t use the smart card reader, so this actually helps a lot. I have to admit, it’s really changed the way I’ve used a pen, ’cause it’s just right there whenever I need it. Now, if you do use a smart card reader, not a problem either. HP gives you also a pen loop which you can stick to the body itself. When it comes to audio the HP EliteBook has four speakers. They are Bang and Olufsen too, which is always a big thing with HP.

Now this differs a little bit from the Spectre where the Spectre had them on the top deck, at least two of them over here, the EliteBook seems to put all four on the bottom, which is kind of interesting. It works very well though. In fact when the laptop is placed down, the sound ricochets and comes through the body. Note that it feels like it is on top. Overall, a really good design, and it works well when it’s tablet mode or tent mode as well. I should also mention that the speakers and audio and microphones are all tuned basically for conference calls, which is what you would expect in a device for Enterprise, but the B and O software allows you to tune also for music and movies, and there’s a graphic equalizer as well.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the audio. It’s very crisp sounding. I would like a little bit more bass, but it is a 13 inch laptop, so you can only do so much. All right, now one of the things that makes this device so special of course is all the security software that’s involved, and there’s a ton of it. HP does a lot of stuff for things like bios, which secures it. You can even use a fingerprint reader to access the bios, or even to get passed by for logins, which is really impressive stuff. That is all done here through the HP Client Security App, which is pretty robust. You can do things like manage your Bluetooth to turn it off, manage your virtual card. There’s an HP Spare Key which is another way to log into the system. You can even override Windows Hello, if you don’t prefer to use it, but even HP says Windows Hello is good enough for Enterprise and business, and they recommend using it. Now while Enterprise security and management stuff may be kind of boring, this app is actually really interesting. It is called HP WorkWise. It’s available on iOS, Android, and yes it will be coming to Windows 10 Mobile later.

What it does is it connects up using Bluetooth to the EliteBook and what it does is it gives you all sorts of neat security things, like for instance, if someone is tampering with your laptop, and this thing is so sensitive that it will tell you if someone is opening your laptop, powering it in, putting a USB stick into it, or even just moving the laptop. More than that though, you can go to PC dashboard. You can look at your battery life, the core temperature of the device, how much memory is in use, and you can even go to my PC and see the full specifications of your device. In terms of power and performance this laptop does very well. Now, it does have a dual core Core I7. It’s one of the fastest on the market, so it shouldn’t be a surprise it tops our charts.

The RAM is also very fast at 2133 megahertz, so that’s impressive. It does have a Toshiba NVMESSD, which is not the fastest on the market, but it gets the job done. Now, for battery, very good. Now, this is a full HD model, so that shouldn’t be too surprising, but this easily gets nine to 10 hours of usage. Now HP quotes 16 hours, but that is with video playback, which is never realistic, but it is very good battery. I do not need to bring the charger with me, and it just lasts forever. Now if you do go for the 4K option, of course, you’re going to take about a 30% hit on that battery, so keep that in mind. All right, let’s bring it all in. The HP EliteBook is a fantastic laptop. Now HP’s goal here was to make it so employees who wanted to take this home, and use it as their main laptop all the time. I think they succeeded. It’s got a great touch pad, has an awesome active pen. It’s a two in one tablet.

It weighs under three pounds. You also get very good battery life, and exceptional performance. There’s nothing not to like here, folks. It’s also Mil-spec tested for endurance and durability. Just really awesome stuff. Now, if you’re a prosumer you may want this as well for the extra security. It’s a really great choice. I think Enterprise and business users though will be very happy with this. So there’s my review of the HP EliteBook x360. It is now available, and it starts at $1500, and goes up from there. If you wanna read the full review, head to Windows Central for all my bench marks and photos as well. If you like this video, give us a thumbs up, and don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching. Take care everybody. (upbeat music) Overall, impressive laptop. I’m glad to see HP bringing their real, oh fuck I screwed up.

It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine. What happened to the pen? Almost had it..

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