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HP Elite x2 1012 G1 review: Intel's Core m gets the job done in this sturdy convertible

Mark Hachman | May 17, 2016
Just be a bit careful when using it on your lap.

How it performs

HP’s Elite x2 competes well with the new crop of convertible tablets, which provide a compelling argument that they represent the next iteration of mobile productivity—smartphones aside, that is. We mixed in a small number of notebooks as well, just to gauge whether the tradeoffs are worth it.

The Elite x2 is passively cooled, and all that aluminum dissipates heat superbly. I stress-tested the x2 under 100-percent CPU load for 15 minutes, and noticed absolutely no thermal throttling, as measured by Intel’s Extreme Tuning utility. The rear of the tablet grew warm, but not excessively so. HP says that’s due to the Intel Power Framework, a technology that knows the orientation of the tablet and can rev it up when the keyboard is attached and it’s in laptop orientation.

That said, the Elite x2 delivers adequate performance for most tasks—sufficient for an office environment. Using the PCMark 8 Work Conventional (native resolution) benchmark, we can see that the Core m chips deliver dramatically better performance than the Atom processors Microsoft shipped with the Surface 3. At the time, we felt those chips were adequate; now performance simply continues to increase ever higher. Note that since we did not have a Surface Pro 4 with a Core m chip inside to test, we used a Core i5 model.

HP elite x2 performance pcmark work
(Click for larger image).

Given that the Elite x2’s native resolution pushes fewer pixels than its competition, you might think its benchmark scores would rise accordingly. But at 1080p resolutions, the X2 outperforms its competition by a similar amount.  

We then threw our standard CPU-intensive tasks at it, including the Handbrake 10.2 video transcoder benchmark as well as Cinebench, a content-creation benchmarking tool that stresses the CPU further as it renders a photorealistic scene. 

HP elite x2 review handbrake encode
(Click for larger image).

In each test, you can see that the Core m chips carve out their own niche, somewhat beneath that of the Core-based notebooks. Overall, the Elite x2 outperformed my expectations.

HP elite x2 review cinebench
(Click for larger image).

Though I doubt you’ll be playing any high-powered 3D games with the Elite X2 (even the recent free game for Windows 10, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, requires a dedicated GPU) we tested the Elite x2 against its competition using the 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark. Again, note how close it comes to Core i5-based systems, including a version of the Surface Book without a dedicated GPU. (We also ran the Sky Diver benchmark; the Elite x2 returned an overall score of 3,277, which compared rather similarly against other systems.)


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