HP Pavilion x360 11-Inch Review: Flawed But Still Worth Considering

The HP Pavillion x360 is a small convertible notebook that I didn't expect to like at all. At first glance, it reminded me of a netbook I used to own which was a hunk of crap and I'm not a huge fan of 11-inch devices because there just isn't enough screen space for me to use effectively. This story doesn't have a fairy tale ending. I didn't fall in love with the X360, but I did (surprisingly) walk away without loathing it.

The unit I received was an older version that is no longer available, but the newest one isn't all that different so this review should still be useful for potential buyers.

First, The Specs

HP Pavilion x360 11-inch (k041tu)
OS Windows 8.1 64-bit
Dimensions 30.6cm x 20.8cm x 2.25cm
Weight Starting at 1.46kg
Storage 128GB M.2 solid state drive (SSD)
Display Screen: 11.6-inch diagonal HD anti-glare WLED-backlit touch screen  Resolution: 1366 x 768
Battery life Unspecified
Processor Intel Core M-5Y10c (800 MHz, 4 MB cache, 2 cores))
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5300
Memory 4GB LPDDR3-1600 SDRAM (onboard)
Wireless 802.11 b/g/n (1x1) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo
Ports 2 x USB 3.0 (1 HP USB Boost)  2 x USB 3.0  1 x USB 2.0  1 x HDMI  1 x RJ-45  1 x Headphone/microphone combo  1 x Full-sized Ethernet port
Cameras, video and audio HP TrueVision HD Webcam (front-facing) with integrated dual array digital microphone, B&O Play with 2 speakers

Design & Handling

The first thing you'll notice on the HP Pavillion X360 is the bold colour. The unit I reviewed was bright red with a metallic sheen and had a nice finish. I found myself rubbing my hands all over the keyboard like it was a long lost lover just because it felt so nice (yes, I know I sound like a huge pervert here).

The surface isn't slippery and the tapered design of the chassis makes it easy to carry around with just one hand. It is a bit heavier than what I expected from an 11-inch notebook, but doesn't make it less comfortable to lug around.

As the name suggests, the X360 is a convertible laptop where the screen can rotate 360 degrees and be used as a tablet. I can tell that the hinges are well engineered, but the way the rest of the laptop is designed makes them go to waste. The biggest problem is that the laptop doesn't have a finger divot at the front where I can slip my thumb in to push the screen open so if you try to use one hand to do it, get ready for some frustration.

I found myself running my thumb around the edges of the X360, waiting to find a spot that I could grip on to and gently shaking the screen like a piece of paper just to edge it open. It wouldn't be an issue if you didn't have to do this every time you wanted to open the laptop while you're up and about. I almost dropped it once when I was trying to pry the damn thing open.

While the usable screen does measure 11.6-inches, there is a bezel area that is designed so that you can grip onto the sides in tablet mode without accidentally activating the display. It's something that is common among hybrid devices but I found the blocked out edge to be too wide and the laptop ends up looking more like a 14-inch device. It's also not exceptionally comfortable to hold in tablet mode. This is where that extra bit of weight is particularly noticeable.

Since we're already talking about the screen, one thing you should know is that it is pretty crummy. With a 1366 x 768 resolution, image quality is low so if you're hoping to use this primarily for things like photo editing and making video calls, you might want to consider another option.

The HP Pavillion X360 wins points on the Chiclet keyboard which is spaced out nicely and pleasant to type on. In my recent review of the HP's Star Wars Special Edition laptop, I complained that the trackpad was crap at handling multi-fingered touch gestures. Thankfully, the X360 doesn't suffer the same plight. The trackpad is responsive and easy to use. Coming from a die-hard mouse user, that's saying something.

Features & Performance

One of the more impressive things about the Pavillion X360 11-inch is that it has a full-sized Ethernet port, something that I miss dearly after buying an Ultrabook as my main laptop.

The touchscreen worked well but, as mentioned before, using the laptop in tablet mode isn't really all that comfortable. I generally don't bother with using the touchscreens on notebooks in laptop mode either.

When using JetStream, a JavaScript benchmark suite, to gauge the computing performance of the X360, even an iPhone outperforms this laptop. Having said that, I found the computer to be pretty fast. It didn't really lag during my time with it. Despite not having a fan (Intel Core M processor notebooks generally don't), the X360 didn't heat up to much during standard use.

I really can't fault the X360's performance when it comes to doing basic tasks, but one thing I will criticise is the storage. While it does come with a 128GB SSD, there is only about 60GB worth of usable space available. (The rest of it is used for the OS and recovery.) So for people who are constantly required to save large files for work or study, you'll run out of storage space pretty quickly.

Conclusion

Let's face it. The HP Pavillion X360 11-inch isn't going to blow your mind if you're hunting for a high performance machine; it wasn't built for that purpose. What it does do is serve up a nice little hybrid notebook perfect for people who need a device for when they're on the go.

I can see students using it at school and taking it to different classes during the day with ease. With an RRP of $990 for the latest version of the X360 11-inch, the laptop is a bit too expensive for what it is. But if you want a handy laptop for taking notes and other basic computing tasks that you can carry around comfortably, then the X360 11-inch is one that you can consider.

LH Reviews is a new weekly feature where we test new productivity software and hardware to see if it's worth the money.


Comments

    Specs say 'no touchscreen'....

    Weird that they called it the X360. I guess they can call the next one the X1.

      Sorry, I JUST saw this message.

      Fixed the mistake. Better late than never :P

    I scored (basically) one of these versions https://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers-tablets/laptops/hp/hp-pavilion-x360-11-k132tu-11-2-in-1-laptop/772116/ for just over $500 just after tax time last year, and it works a treat for what it is, a portable internet item I can carry around, take places and play a few older games (yay MAME) and take videos to keep the kids entertained and quiet when out and about. Better value for the dosh than an ipad, thats for sure. Hell, I can even play TF2 on it!

    TL;DR: Getting the $900 top end model may leave you disappointed, the $500 - 600 range is much better value and the turny part seems to work great now its a few generations in.

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