Product Listing

HP Elite x2 review: A Surface device for business elites

By Koh Wanzi - 10 May 2016
Launch SRP: S$3099

Performance Benchmarking, Battery, & Portability

Performance Benchmarking

We tested the Elite x2 with our usual suite of benchmarks, comparing it against ultrabooks and convertibles from the various major brands.

Here’s a full list of the benchmarks used:

  • PCMark 8
  • 3DMark (2013)
  • Tomb Raider
  • Far Cry 2

We conducted our battery life tests using the built-in battery benchmark in PCMark 8 Home.

  HP Elite x2 1012 G1 (with Travel keyboard) Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Core i5-6300U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) Acer Aspire R13 Apple MacBook (Early 2015) Dell XPS 13 (2016) HP Envy 13 Lenovo Yoga 900
  HP Elite x2 1012 G1 (with Travel keyboard) Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Core i5-6300U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) Acer Aspire R13 Apple MacBook (Early 2015) Dell XPS 13 (2016) HP Envy 13 Lenovo Yoga 900
Launch SRP
  • From S$3099
  • From S$1999
  • From S$1998
  • From S$1788
  • From S$2299
  • From S$1699
  • From S$2299
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core m7-6Y75 (1.2GHz, 4MB cache)
  • Intel Core i5-6300U (2.4GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core M-5Y31 (1.1GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • Mac OS X Yosemite
  • Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • Windows 10 (64-bit)
System Memory
  • 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3
  • 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Video & Display
  • 12-inch 1,920 x 1,280-pixel IPS touchscreen panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 515
  • 12.3-inch PixelSense display
  • 2736 x 1824 pixels resolution
  • 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS touchscreen panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • 12-inch Retina display (2304 x 1440 pixels)
  • Intel HD Graphics 5300
  • 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800-pixel IPS touchscreen panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800-pixel IPS panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800-pixel IPS touchscreen panel
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
Storage
  • 512GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
  • MicroSD expansion (Up to 64GB)
  • 512GB (Dual 256GB SSDs in RAID 0)
  • 256GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11 ac/b/g/n/a
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wireless 802.11ac/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
Audio
  • Integrated speakers by Bang & Olufsen
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound
  • Integrated speakers with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater
  • Built-in speakers
  • Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio®
  • Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers
  • JBL® Stereo Speakers with Dolby® DS 1.0 Home Theater® Certification
I/O Ports
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3 port
  • 1x USB 3.0 Type-A port
  • 1x microSD card slot
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x MicroSD
  • 1 x Mini-DisplayPort
  • 1 x Headphones jack
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x HDMI port
  • Multi-format SD card reader
  • 1x audio combo jack
  • 1 x USB-C port
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port
  • 3-in-1 card reader
  • 1x audio combo jack
  • 3x USB 3.0
  • 1x HDMI port
  • Multi-format SD card reader
  • 1x audio combo jack
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB Type-C 3.0 with video-out
  • 1x DC-in with USB 2.0
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • 1x audio combo jack
Miscellaneous
  • Bundled HP Active Pen and Travel keyboard
  • Includes pen input
  • Bundled Acer Aspire Active Stylus
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Built-in fingerprint reader
Battery Type
  • 40Wh
  • Integrated 39wH
  • 48Wh
  • 39.7Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 56Wh
  • 45Wh
  • 66Wh
Dimensions
  • 300 x 213.5 x 8.05mm
  • 292 x 201 x 8.45mm
  • 343.8 x 230.4 x 18.5mm
  • 280.4 x 196.6 x 13.2 mm
  • 304 x 200 x 15mm
  • 326.5 x 226 x 12.9mm
  • 324 x 225 x 14.9mm
Weight
  • 824g
  • 786g
  • 1.6kg
  • 920g
  • 1.29kg
  • 1.27kg
  • 1.29kg

 

PCMark 8

Note: The Storage benchmark has since been updated to version 2.0 for better compatibility with NVMe drives, which means that scores will improve in certain cases (non-NVMe drives remain unaffected). However, the figures reflected here are all for version 1.0, as the scores produced by the new benchmark are not comparable with the older numbers. Incidentally, we also ran the updated Storage benchmark and got a score of 4911.

The HP Elite x2 performed surprisingly well in PCMark 8, even outstripping notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 that were equipped with a higher powered Intel Core i7-6500U processor (2.5GHz, 4MB cache) in certain benchmarks. The latter chip has a TDP of 15 watts, so we didn’t quite expect the 4.5 watt Core m7-6Y75 vPro processor (1.2GHz, 4MB cache) on the Elite x2 to perform so well against it (we even ran the tests a few times just to be sure).

Interestingly enough, it turned out an especially strong score in the Word benchmark, which tests a notebook’s ability to carry out basic office and work tasks, like web browsing, word processing, video chat, and spreadsheet handling. On the other hand, it fell behind in the Creative benchmark – albeit not by much – and it looks like the beefier Intel Core i series processors on the other notebooks are better at coping with more demanding tasks like photo and video editing.

Perhaps the most notable improvement was in the Adobe applications benchmark, where the Elite x2 raced ahead of the 2015 Apple MacBook by nearly 62%. That put it more or less on par with the Intel Core i notebooks, which is an encouraging sign for anyone hoping to use it for some Photoshop work. As we’ll see later, part of this is probably a result of the more powerful Intel HD Graphics 515 iGPU.

With that said, the Core m7-6Y75 processor and 8GB of RAM on the Elite x2 appears up to dealing with daily productivity tasks with few hitches. Web browsing in Chrome with multiple tabs went smoothly, and application transitions and launches were quick and fluid.

 

3DMark (2013)

Our gaming benchmarks are merely a formality when it comes to devices like these, meant more to assess the graphics performance of the integrated GPU than to evaluate gaming performance. The Intel HD Graphics 515 on the Core m7-6Y75 is a significant step up from the original Core M’s iGPU. Compared to the Intel HD Graphics 5300 on the Apple MacBook’s (2015) Core M-5Y31 (1.1GHz, 4MB cache) processor, the newer iGPU managed to more than double its performance in 3DMark Cloud Gate.

However, it still lagged behind the Intel HD Graphics 520 iGPU in the other notebooks by around 14%.

 

Tomb Raider

The performance jump for the Elite x2’s iGPU over the previous generation Core M chip was less drastic in Tomb Raider – at High settings, there was also no significant difference between the two. In addition, the Intel HD Graphics 515 also turned out to be around 20% slower than notebooks equipped with the Intel HD Graphics 520. Nevertheless, we’re still talking about relative differences here, and none of the notebooks are capable of delivering a smooth, playable experience.

However, one thing to note is that the first-generation Core M chip on the 2015 Apple MacBook didn’t take to heat well at all, and would produce steadily lower frame rates in Tomb Raider as the notebook heated up. This issue wasn’t present in the Elite x2 – even after looping the Tomb Raider benchmark for around 20 minutes and running successive tests, the scores remained consistent and varied little. This might be to the credit of Intel or a good design on HP’s part (probably a mix of both), but even though the back of the Elite x2 did get quite hot to touch, performance didn’t seem to be adversely affected.

Far Cry 2

As in our previous two graphics benchmarks, the weaker iGPU on the Elite x2 fell behind the Intel HD Graphics 520 on the other notebooks in Far Cry 2. However, it performed quite favorably against the 2015 Apple MacBook, and was around 36% faster on Medium settings.

All in all, the new-generation GPU on the current Core M processors amounts to quite a nice upgrade over the original chips. As we saw earlier in PCMark 8, the Elite x2 acquitted itself quite well in the photo editing benchmarks, a feat that can probably be attributed to the much improved iGPU.

 

Battery Life & Power Consumption

The Elite x2 has a typical-sized four-cell 40Wh Li-ion battery pack, around the same size as that on the Surface Pro 4. The 2015 Apple MacBook had the best battery life, but that comes at the price of halting performance. On the Elite x2’s part, its battery life is actually quite impressive when compared to the other notebooks that come equipped with larger batteries, even managing to outlast the Acer Aspire R13 and HP Envy 13 that have 48Wh and 45Wh batteries respectively. Sure, it didn’t beat them by a mile, and the results might be reversed if we repeated the test because of the small margin, but the fact that it managed to produce this result is testament to the power efficiency of the Core m7 processor on the Elite x2.

When it came to power consumption, the Elite x2 was second only to the Apple MacBook, which only goes to prove our point about how efficient the Core m7 chip is.

 

Portability

Our portability index takes into account battery life, weight, and volume to provide a measure of how easy a notebook is to carry around relative to other compared systems. In this case, we’re more interested in how the Elite x2 fares with its Travel keyboard attached, because that’s how you’re most likely going to be using it. It came in behind the Surface Pro 4 and Dell XPS 13, which, all things considered, is fairly decent. The Surface Pro 4 is lighter while the XPS 13 is absurdly compact and has good battery life, so their strengths in these areas helped them edge ahead.

However, setting the figures aside for a moment, we can say that you shouldn’t have any gripes about how carrying the Elite x2 around. You might begin to feel the weight a little if you’re the type to use it as a tablet for reading, but when it’s being used as a regular notebook, there’s really little to complain about.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
8.5
  • Design 9
  • Features 9.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 7.5
  • Mobility 9
The Good
Solid build quality and attractive design
Bundled HP Active Pen is a pleasure to write with
HP Travel keyboard feels close to actual notebook keyboard
Efficient and fairly powerful processor
Wide range of add-on accessories and docks
Decent battery life
The Bad
Expensive
Middling 1,920 x 1,280-pixel display and thick bezels
Lackluster speaker quality
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.