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Chromebooks seem to come in two flavors: kids and grownups. The recently announced Acer Chromebook Tab 10 Chrome OS tablet is the latest innovation for the former, while HP's new 12.3-inch Chromebook x2 clearly targets the latter. It also beats the rumored Samsung "Nautilus" as the first detachable running Chrome OS, though the x2 uses an old mobile processor (Intel Core M3-7Y30), not the as-yet-unseen Cannon-Lake-based version the Samsung will supposedly have.
What makes the x2 for grownups? The price, for one: When it ships in June, HP will be asking $600 for it, including the bundled HP Active Pen which uses Wacom AES technology. (Though we don't have other pricing or availability yet, that directly converts to £425 and AU$780.) That's in the same territory as Samsung's convertible Chromebook Pro, also for adults. And of course, HP compares favorably to the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro with its extra-cost Apple Pencil and keyboard.
HP sees cheaper-than-Apple prices as only one reason people buy Chromebooks, especially with its tablet design. Other Chromebook features are the ability to run Android apps, relatively long battery life for the money, walled-garden security and simplicity. Also, like most tablets, the x2 is an optimal form for passive media consumption, such as streaming video. That doesn't require a complex operating system.
Unlike many detachables, the x2's ostensibly designed to work well as a clamshell, not just a tablet. HP added a thin metal layer inside the keyboard to make it rigid and lap-friendly, something many detachables aren't. It also has a large hinge built into the keyboard, so it can flip over like a convertible if you don't want to detach it, easier for single-handed operation.
The x2 also sports elements of HP's premium designs, such as a 235 ppi 3:2-aspect ratio display, metal unibody construction and the company's popular anodized electrodeposition coating in ceramic white.