HP is going right after the iPad with the SlateBook x2, the first Android detachable tablet with Nvidia’s powerful Tegra 4 processor inside. Available in August, this hybrid slate has a full HD 10.2 inch display and a keyboard dock with its own battery. HP has priced the SlateBook x2 aggressively at $479, which is $20 less than the iPad without a keyboard.
Together, HP estimates that the SlateBook x2′s tablet and dock should yield up to 14 hours of juice, making this a tempting buy for students and road warriors. We spent a little hands-on time with the SlateBook x2 and came away mostly impressed with HP’s effort.
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We noticed right away that the SlateBook x2 detaches fairly easily from its base via a latch, similar to the original Envy x2 powered by Windows 8. The slate itself weighs 1.4 pounds, while the dock weighs 1.48 pounds.
The keyboard on the SlateBook x2 offers plenty of travel and is fairly spacious for a 10-inch layout, while the touchpad is nice and large. We appreciate the dedicated Google Now button on the keyboard for quick searches, as well as the Recent Apps key for multitasking. Unfortunately, HP decided to keep the power button on the back of the tablet portion of the SlateBook x2, similar to the Envy x2. We’d prefer a button on the dock as well.
The port selection on the SlateBook x2 includes a USB port for connecting peripherals as well as a power jack. When closed this hybrid looks fairly sleek, like a traditional clamshell device.
The right side of the SlateBook x2 houses an HDMI connector, an SD Card slot and a docking connector.
The 2-MP camera on the back of the SlateBook x2 doesn’t wow. In our brief testing the camera offered bright but grainy images. However, thanks to the HDR capability of Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip, you should expect evenly lit video chats via the front camera.
HP keeps things fairly light in terms of skinning Android Jelly Bean 4.2. However, you will find plenty of useful pre-loaded apps in the 64GB of pre-loaded storage. HP File Manager lets you toggle between files stored on the device or Google Drive, while Kingsoft Office software enables users to view, edit and create Office documents. As you might expect, HP offers its own ePrint software as well.
The HP SlateBook x2 has all the makings of a very compelling value. In fact, the $479 price is so aggressive for this tablet and keyboard combo that some shoppers may think twice about getting an iPad. The SlateBook x2 is also $30 cheaper than the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and its optional keyboard. Stay tuned for our full review.