So I've had the fortune of spending a day with this, the HP Envy x2. The device itself measures in at just 6.9mm, but even with this soft leather keyboard cover, it's no thicker than a DVD or Blu-ray case. To carry, it's not dissimilar to a hardback, weighing approximately 1.2kg, although the slimmer profile makes it much easier to slip into a bag.
The ability to produce such a slim, lightweight detachable is thanks in no small part to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile PC platform that powers it. Yes, that's the same mobile platform that powers numerous bestselling smartphones, and its hyper-efficient design is key to the Envy's best-in-class battery life and streamlined architecture.
As a detachable PC, the Envy can be used in either laptop or tablet configurations. As someone who regularly works wherever I'm able to, I found the laptop mode a joy to work with; the rear magnetic hinge is reassuringly robust, holding at whatever angle it's positioned in and clamping satisfyingly to the back. This quick adjustability makes it perfect for viewing from a variety of angles--which the Envy's screen copes with admirably--so it's as well suited to working and browsing as it is to slouching back and enjoying a film or TV show.
The low-profile keyboard snaps into an elevated position so it's easier on the wrists and offers a pleasing and surprising amount of travel, which makes it ideal for prolonged typing sessions. It's also backlit, so posting updates on social in low light isn't entirely reliant on my mediocre touch-typing skills. The cover also features a wider trackpad than I'm used to, which now makes the one on my current laptop feel cramped by comparison.
For me, if anything is going to be deemed 'ultraportable' it shouldn't only be easy to carry around, it should also be ready to go when I need it to be. This is another area where the Snapdragon 835, paired with the Envy's rapid RAM and solid-state drive, shines, with the PC good to go once the cover is removed. And as I've already hinted, it has a remarkable battery life – up to 22 hours – which means that in the day I've spent with it, I've not had to plug it in once; and there isn't a single laptop I've ever used for which the same could ever be said.
The other jewel in the Envy's crown is its Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. I'll save you the tech spiel, because all you really need to know is that this is why you can use this PC practically anywhere. With a SIM installed, that means you get both Wi-fi and 4G LTE connectivity, with the latter promising download speeds up to an astounding 1 Gigabit per second. This should be music to the ears of anyone who, like me, spends most of their days using cloud-based apps and collaboration tools, or often needs something to while away the time in places served only by overpriced Wi-fi.
The Envy is remarkably well-equipped for a device of this size. Typically, laptop speakers have me immediately reaching for my headphones, but here the nearly invisible Dual HP Speakers, custom tuned by the audio geniuses at Bang & Olufsen, pack a surprising amount of punch. There's also a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera, which is great for filming and taking snaps or, my personal primary use, Skype chats with my mum.
Talking of the camera, it's possible to sign into your Envy without ever having to type a password again thanks to Windows Hello's facial recognition. It's just one of the many benefits of the Windows 10 S operating system, which offers a plethora of secure Microsoft-verified apps through the Microsoft Store.
For me, the real revelation is Windows Ink. It's a real showcase for Envy's tablet mode, and is match made in heaven with the bundled HP Digital Pen. Scribbling digital sticky notes and having Cortana Insights not only recognise key dates and other keywords but intelligently integrate them into my calendar is pure wizardry. I'm also a huge fan of being to annotate screen grabs; it's often so much more intuitive than trying to express feedback purely through emails, but let's be honest, it's also a great way to doodle on photos.
With the HP Envy x2, I feel as though I'm witnessing the dawn of a new laptop age; it's everything a truly mobile PC needs to be: light, fast, long-lasting, always connected and adaptable. Right now, it feels exceptional, but it won't be long before this becomes the standard.