Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Toshiba Chromebook 2stars
For its second Chromebook, Toshiba shaved off as much chassis as possible without sacrificing...
brings a whole bunch of and fancy, colourful live tiles. You'll need a touchscreen if you want to have some real fun with it, but you'll probably need a keyboard too if you plan to settle in to some real work.
It packs an Intel Atom dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM, for which you'll have to pay the spicy price of £800.
Should I buy the HP Envy x2?
No. Not until the price tumbles dramatically. As it stands, the x2's low-powered dual-core Intel Atom processor and measly 2GB of RAM deliver very poor performance, which would barely be acceptable on machines at less than half the price.
For £400, you can buy HP's Pavilion G6, which boasts significantly burlier components. If you particularly want a touch-enabled laptop for swiping around Windows 8, the Asus Vivobook can be had with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and only costs £580.
Dell's XPS 12 and the Lenovo Yoga 13 are slightly more expensive -- around £1,000 -- but both have convertible designs for touch operation and both provide a lot more power. Either model would give you much more than the Envy x2 for not much more cash.
It's not all bad though -- the detachable design is handy and its aluminium shell is both attractive and sturdy. Sadly, that's really not enough to justify the price tag.
Design and build quality
When both the tablet and keyboard sections are plopped together, you'd be hard pressed to distinguish it from a bog-standard laptop. Both sections are clad in an attractive silver metal with a brushed effect, similar to the kind you'll see on.
It's quite attractive without trying too hard to pull off any kind of crazy style. The silver shell is neutral enough to look good in a meeting room or being pulled out of a messenger bag in a fancy Soho coffee shop.
It's 303mm wide, 206mm deep and 19mm thick, making it small enough to slide into all but the tiniest of bags -- and with a weight of 1.41kg it's not going to drag you down. If weight is a huge issue you can just take the tablet section with you, reducing the weight to 700g.
It might be weightier than tablets like the Google Nexus 10, but the metal shell helps make it feel very sturdy. There's very little flex in the chassis, nor is there any to be found in the keyboard tray or wrist rest. I also wasn't able to find any unpleasant creaking or rattling so I'm confident that it can put up with a good few knocks and bumps -- good to know, considering the high price.
Around the edge of the tablet section you'll find a microSD card slot, with two USB 2.0 ports and a full-size SD card slot. An HDMI port appears on the keyboard section. You'll spy an HD webcam on the front for Skype calls and an 8-megapixel snapper on the back for showing Twitter what you're eating for dinner. Oddly, there's what looks like a flash next to it, but no amount of hunting through settings could get it to fire up.
HP has only opted for a 64GB SSD drive in the Envy. While that's enough for your essential apps and photos, if you make a habit of storing a lot of video locally, you'll quickly start to run out of space. 128GB SSDs can be found in both Dell's XPS 12 and Lenovo's Yoga 13.