Review: HP SlateBook x2

Review: HP SlateBook x2

The HP SlateBook x2 has too many flaws to recommend, including a lacklustre display and poor battery life

The HP SlateBook x2 has too many flaws to recommend, including a lacklustre display, a proprietary charger with an unnecessary, oversized power brick, and poor battery life.

Design & display

The SlateBook x2 looks and feels like a Windows netbook when the keyboard is attached. The design is best described as unassuming, and perhaps even a little boring.

The tablet has a thick, gloss black bezel surrounding the screen, while the back is finished in a smooth, matte surface.

The SlateBook x2 weighs 607g without the keyboard and 1.27kg with the dock attached, and this combination is significantly heavier than most other Android tablets on the market.

HP has placed the power and volume buttons on the back. The buttons sit flush with the surface, making them hard to feel.

The SlateBook x2 is comfortable to hold and use, and the evenly distributed weight is a nice touch.

The keyboard dock includes a QWERTY keyboard, a trackpad and comes with a built-in battery.

There's also a full-sized USB port and a standard headphone jack on the left side, along with a full-sized HDMI port, and a full-sized SD card slot on the right.

While the keyboard is a little cramped, it becomes comfortable to type on once you get used to the layout.

The spring-loaded keys have a matte finish and provide good tacility, while typing isn't very noisy. The trackpad is relatively large and also works relatively well, but it annoyingly can't be disabled.

Unfortunately, the tablet rocks when you tilt the angle of the display and does feel a little flimsy. The SlateBook x2 is also slightly top heavy, so you'll need to take extra care when using it on your lap.

It's almost impossible to open the SlateBook x2 with one hand. When closed, there's no space for your finger to effectively wedge between the tablet and the dock to seperate the two.

The SlateBook x2 is charged by a traditional laptop power brick. On a device that's been designed for portability, lugging around a power brick makes little sense.

The SlateBook x2's display is disappointing. The 10.1in, LED-backlit panel has a respectable resolution of 1920x1200 and displays crisp text, but it's not as bright as many competing panels.

There's also no automatic brightness setting and the display has a yellowish tint, particularly noticeable when reading Web pages on a largely white background.

Software & performance

The HP SlateBook x2 runs an almost completely stock version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

The only changes you'll see are a few extra options in the settings menu and a range of extra apps that HP has pre-loaded.

The SlateBook x2 offers fair, but not outstanding performance. We did experience the odd app crashing but general performance is smooth and fast.

The 1.8GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor and 2GB of RAM is clearly enough to keep the SlateBook x2 running pretty efficiently, despite the odd software hiccup.

HP pre-loads a number of apps on the SlateBook x2 including the Box cloud storage service, the Kingston Office suite and Splashtop, which allows users to remotely access Windows computers

The SlateBook x2's rear camera is one of the worst we've ever used. It suffers from excessive image noise, poor colour reproduction and a lack of detail.

Battery life is poor. The SlateBook x2 lasted around six hours on its own, while adding the dock added approximately two hours of further use.

While just over eight overs of battery life doesn't sound too bad overall, a number of other tablets on the market achieve more than this figure without the aid of a keyboard dock.

The HP SlateBook x2 is available now in Australia online through HP's Web site and through selected retailers including JB Hi-Fi and Bing Lee.

The 16GB model sells for $649, while the 64GB version retails for $749.

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