A bigger, better pull-apart hybrid from HP (hands-on)

The Pavilion x2 moves its magnetic pull-apart hinge into a 12-inch model.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

There are many ways to build a hybrid PC that shifts between laptop and tablet modes. Some models have displays that fold back 360 degrees, others have physical latches or switches that hold the two halves together, allowing you to separate the display from the rest of the system. One of the most practical and easiest to use is a magnetic connection, which holds the display and keyboard base together securely, but then pulls apart with a firm tug.

The original HP x2 series was one of the early examples of the overly complicated hook-and-latch style, but it eventually shifted to a magnetic hinge, as seen in the system's late 2015 update.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That previous Pavilion x2 was a very small 10.1-inch hybrid, good for portability, but too small for more than occasional on-the-go use. Here in Las Vegas at CES 2016, HP has announced a larger version, bringing a more mainstream 12-inch display to the Pavilion x2. This larger version of the x2 allows for more powerful components and higher-end features, which still may not make it an all-day, every day PC, but should give it a shot as a travel system that hits a good balance between power and portability.

Besides the low-power Intel Atom processors found in many ultraportable laptops and hybrids (systems with 10, 11 or 12-inch displays), you can also get Intel's second-generation Core M processors, which are much closer to the performance found in the mainstream Core i-series chips. The display gets a full 1,920x1,280 resolution, rather than the 1,280x800-pixel screen found in the last 10-inch Pavilion x2 we reviewed.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like many of the new laptops and hybrids we're seeing at CES 2016, the system also includes a USB-C connection, which will allow it to plug into all sorts of accessories, as long as you have to proper dongles to connect them.

Despite the larger screen and better components, the HP Pavilion x2 will start at $499, which converts roughly to £340 and AU$690, when it goes on sale February 7 in the US.

See our complete CES 2016 coverage here.