Take one look at HP’s new Envy x2 and you’ll immediately want to call it the MacBook Air Windows 8 Edition. I couldn’t blame you. If not for the understated HP logo on the back, you’d be perfectly justified assuming this came from Cupertino.
Let’s start with the looks of this hybrid touchscreen tablet. Machined from aluminum and beautifully refined and stylishly appointed, the MacBook Air cues are ubiquitous throughout the Envy x2. The keyboard is a dead ringer for the Air, with full-size left/right arrow keys being the only obvious difference. More importantly, the base is tapered toward the front, giving it a natural slope. While the 11.6-inch screen is smaller than the 13.3-inch Air, and the Envy’s 3.1-pound weight (with keyboard) is heavier, it’s a gorgeous enough package to almost make you forget that you’re working with a tablet, not a laptop. Sliding a switch at the top of the keyboard releases the screen and sets you free with a 10mm-thick, 1.6-pound slate that contains a full Windows 8 (not RT) installation. Try that, MacBook!
Visual similarities to Apple gear aside, the reality is that the Envy x2 is actually more akin to the Acer Iconia W510 tablet than any MacBook, particularly when you consider the specs. Like the W510, the Envy x2 is an Atom-based tablet, designed to keep battery life high and heat dissipation low. But, as with the W510, that comes at the cost of performance.