HP SlateBook x2 review: A fine tablet not quite worth its asking price

Software features
The SlateBook x2 ships with the Android 4.2.2 operating system and includes proprietary HP versions of a camera app, a media player, a file manager, and HP ePrint.

View full gallery (15 Photos)
An included file system is always appreciated. Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

The tablet also includes Miracast support and a DTS Sound+ preset option for movies, music, and voice. These options however don't seem to change the sound quality at all, at least according to my non-audiophile ears -- except that you will want to make sure DTS is switched on, as the sound is incredibly muffled without it.

The HP Imagepad software adds multitouch gestures to the touch-pad-like pinch and zoom, and the ability to scroll through Web pages using two fingers. It works about as well as multitouch gestures on laptop touch pads.

View full gallery (15 Photos)
The tablet's ports are accessible only when it's detached from the keyboard. Josh Miller/CNET

Hardware features
The 10.1-inch SlateBook x2 houses a 1.8GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor with a 72-core GPU. It has 2GB of RAM and includes support for 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, but has no GPS hardware.

The tablet starts at $480 (currently available with a $30 rebate from HP) for 16GB of storage. Its microSD card slot supports cards of up to 64GB and it features a small power-brick-style AC adapter for charging the battery.

With superhigh-resolution screens like the Nexus 10's and Toshiba Excite Pro's around, it's difficult to not be disappointed by the SlateBook x2's 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution screen. It's still sharp enough, but the real problem is the overabundance of yellow tint. This is especially noticeable on Web sites with white backgrounds and makes the screen appear dimmer than its actual luminance would lead you to expect.

View full gallery (15 Photos)
On the left, the HP SlateBook x2. On the right, the Google Nexus 10. One of these screens looks really yellowish. Guess which! Josh Miller/CNET

The 1.8GHz Tegra 4 inside delivers fairly high frame rates in games, but doesn't come near the performance of the Nvidia Shield and its 1.9GHz Tegra 4. The SlateBook x2 struggles to match the performance of the new Nexus 7 in games like N.O.V.A. 3, likely because Google's tablet houses the latest version of OpenGL. 3DMark scores were disappointing, but the tablet performed admirably in GFXBench and its Riptide GP 2 performance was about as smooth as that of another Tegra 4-powered tablet, the Excite Pro.

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
GFXBench (1080p, T-Rex HD, C24Z16)  
GFXBench (native resolution, T-Rex HD, C24Z16)  

The SlateBook x2's screen is responsive and menus zip by in a flash; however, apps are noticeably slow to load compared with on other high-end tablets. N.O.V.A. 3 took over 50 seconds to load, whereas most fast tablets top out at around 35 seconds.

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
N.O.V.A. 3 Level 1 load time (in seconds)  

Tested spec HP SlateBook x2 Google Nexus 10 Microsoft Surface RT Asus Transformer Tab Infinity TF700
Maximum brightness IPS mode (Super IPS) 350 cd/m2 368 cd/m2 391 cd/m2 422 cd/m2 (644 cd/m2)
Maximum black level, IPS mode (Super IPS) 0.36 cd/m2 0.44 cd/m2 0.27 cd/m2 0.34 cd/m2 (0.53 cd/m2)
Contrast ratio 972:1 836:1 1,448:1 1,241:1 (1,215:1)

The front-facing camera is moderately sharp, but appears to struggle with bringing in enough light and blacks get crushed at the low end of the grayscale as a result. The back camera suffers from the same issue with the added drawback of egregious color bleeding, where the camera seemingly takes the dominant primary color in the shot and fills the entire screen with it. It doesn't do this 100 percent consistently, but more than enough to be a complication worth discussing.

The HP SlateBook x2 is a fine tablet that does nothing exceptionally well and is saddled with a noticeably bad color tint problem. While $480 may seem like a deal given the inclusion of the keyboard, the overall experience offered here doesn't quite match that price. I suggest waiting for a significant price drop or holding out until later this year to see how well Asus' revision of the Transformer Infinity stacks up.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Apple iPad Air 2

    Starting at: $409.99
    4.5 stars

    Even thinner, even lighter, even faster, the iPad Air 2 is definitely better, but it's...

  • Google Nexus 9

    Starting at: $305.14
    4 stars

    Google has partnered with HTC to serve up its greatest pure Android tablet yet.

  • Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

    Starting at: $639.90
    4 stars

    In addition to being one of the thinnest and lightest tablets around, the Sony Xperia...

  • Dell Venue 8 7000

    Starting at: $349.00
    4 stars

    Rocking a stylishly slim design and depth-sensing cameras, the photo-friendly Dell Venue...


Discuss: HP SlateBook x2

Conversation powered by Livefyre