Just weeks after the annual, HP is already announcing a new lineup of PCs and tablets. This batch is targeted at business and enterprise customers, including the education and healthcare markets, but HP is also known for making business systems that have strong potential consumer appeal.
The flagship of these early 2015 products is the Elite x2 1011 G1, a Windows 8 tablet that takes a few cues from Microsoft's Surface tablet line and other hybrids. HP calls it a cross between a tablet and an ultrabook, and it can run as either a standalone slate, or as something close to a clamshell laptop when adding an optional snap-on keyboard.
The 11.6-inch screen is smaller than on the Surface, or on most ultrabooks (those are typically, but not always, 13-inch systems), and it will be available with either 1,366x768 or 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. Both versions are IPS screens that typically offer excellent wide viewing angles.
Like many new PCs in 2015, the Elite x2 will run CPUs from Intel's new Broadwell family, which is a codename used for both the fifth generation of Core i-series processors, as well as the new Core M line, which is designed for thin, light, premium-priced laptops, tablets and hybrids. While we've seen some very thin-and-light upcoming systems with the new fifth-gen Core i5, this system will only use the Core M. It hasn't been as speedy in our initial tests, but seems fine for an 11-inch ultraportable hybrid.
As a hybrid pitched to large and small businesses, the Elite x2 will be available with a TPM (trusted platform module) chip, extra HP security software, and Intel's vPro technology -- all features required by many IT departments, but missing from most consumer laptops and hybrids.
HP also says this system is more rugged than typical hybrids, and has undergone MIL-STD 810G testing, which is a series of tough physical tests designed for hardware used by the military. Despite this, the standalone slate weighs a reasonable 1.9 pounds (860 grams), with either 1.2 or 1.7 pounds (540 or 770 grams) for the snap-on travel or full-size keyboard.
In addition to the Elite x2, HP also announced the Pro Slate 8 and Pro Slate 12, which the company calls "commercial-grade Android tablets." These Qualcomm-Snapdragon-powered tablets have 8-inch (2,048x1,536) and 12-inch (1,600x1,200) screens, respectively, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, which HP says is better suited for business applications. The Slate 8 is also one of the first products to use Corning's tough Gorilla Glass 4.
Both tablets will include a new stylus called the Duet Pen. Based on Qualcomm technology, it works as both an on-screen stylus and a traditional pen. When writing on paper, your work can be captured in digital form by the special HP Folio app.
An 8-inch Windows version (without the pen), called the Pro Tablet 408 G1, runs Intel Atom processors and is just 9mm thick.
The HP Elite x2 starts at $899 in the US and will be available in late January. The Pro Slate 8 and Pro Slate 12 are also coming in January, starting at $449 and $569 in the US, while the Pro Tablet 408 G1 is available now and starts at $299. International price and availability details were not yet available.