It’s been four years since Microsoft introduced its first Surface tablet and at least two since they coined the term “lapability,” which is another way of saying, “This device is really comfortable on your lap.”
In that time, Windows system manufacturers have slowly but surely adopted Microsoft’s strategy of stuffing full-blown Windows PCs into tablets that can marry with keyboards and turn into lap-friendly ultra-portable devices. In general, Microsoft’s designs for the Surface Pro 3 and 4 have been the range’s apex, and most partners have offered only pale imitations.
There are, increasingly, exceptions.
The new HP Pro x2 612 G2, which HP unveiled on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, takes that Surface Pro design language and deftly adjusts it for the millennial business set.
“There’s a new idea of life where you intermingle personal and professional together,” said HP Vice President of Product Management for Mobility, Carol Hess. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2021, Hess said, and they demand the kind of flexibility provided by “detachable” products like the G2.
The last edition of the HP Pro x2 also featured a detachable screen, but lacked elegance and, yes, “lapability.”
For this new device, HP trimmed the weight and thickness by 25 percent (it weighs 1.87 lbs. with keyboard), and added a kickstand that can fold back to give users an up to 165-degree screen angle.
The full-sized keyboard, which includes a track pad and mouse buttons, connects magnetically (it even has the Surface Type Cover keyboard-style magnets and fold that bring it closer to the screen and put it at a more typing-friendly angle) and has a smooth back for easy cleaning. It also has custom collaboration buttons, including one that will let you present to other screens by pressing the “Present” button.
The 12-inch full-HD display is covered in Gorilla Glass 4 and backed by Intel Integrated graphics. Running Windows 10, the HP Pro x2 612 G2 also comes with a Wacom Active Pen that will let you touch the screen and draw on it at the same time. If you’re wondering where you’ll put that pen when you’re not using it, HP chose not to go the magnetic route and instead created a keyboard with a pen loop attached. While this solution looks like the loop we used to attach our Surface Pens to the first Surface Type Cover keyboards (and that eventually fell off), this one is permanently attached to the G2 keyboard.
The display will also feature two cameras: a 5 MP of the front and 8 MP on the rear; both can shoot 1080p video.
The system will also support Windows Hello login security via a fingerprint reader. And for the business crowd, it includes TPM and NFC for secure payments, a smartcard reader and even a removable SSD drive (a true rarity for these detachable systems).
HP is also promising the system has up to 11 hours of battery life. Our guess is that rating is for streaming video. Your mileage may vary if you run multiple applications and browse the web.
The ultraportable device will use USB-C for power and data and also includes a USB-3 port, a micro SD card slot and SIM slot for LTE connectivity.
The HP Pro x2 612 G2 starts at $979 (including the keyboard and pen) with an Intel Core M 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. There will also be Pentium and Core i5 and Core i7 options (both 7th generation). It’s on sale now.