360° Of Versatility – HP Pavilion x360

By Tom LedfordThe Practical Computer

The HP Pavilion x360 is a “convertible” notebook computer with a touch screen, that can change from a laptop to a tablet. Just the thing, if you can’t decide between the two. Or, if you can’t decide which to get your wife for Christmas.

The Competition

The x360 is up against stiff competition. Most all of the major computer manufacturers have some type of convertible. The Lenova Yoga 3 and Acer Aspire Switch are 11″ convertibles that will appeal to many who are intent on buying a convertible. The Yoga 3 is my gold standard for this type of device. Although it is almost twice the price as the HP x360, I may invest in one soon.
The Aspire Switch is an interesting Laptop/tablet combo. It has a detachable screen, and with a 64GB flash drive, it costs about the same as an HP x360. With a slower processor but a flash drive, some say the Aspire Switch is a decent, but slow performer.
The x360 makes room for a 500GB, albeit a 5400 rpm one. Hence its sturdy and hefty feel. With an Intel N3540 2.16Ghz dual core Celeron processor, and twice the RAM as the Aspire Switch at 4GB I would suspect, I would suspect it is a better performer. A half terabyte of hard drive storage outweighs a 64GB flash drive in more than one way.

Display Screen

The x360 is a great device that takes advantage of Windows 8.1, with its touchscreen and keyboard in the best way. Normally I wouldn’t be looking at a laptop with less than a 14″ screen, but the 11 inch screen on the HP x360 is just the right size when it is in tablet mode. I need reading glasses for any size screen, so it’s really not size that matters. 
HP x360 Start Screen
You may notice on the above screen, the mail app is Gmail. The Gmail app, as are 500,000 others, is available in the Microsoft “Store.”  This is the start screen for this laptop or tablet. I usually go straight to the desktop though. I have installed Classic Shell because I wanted the feel of Windows 7’s start menu.
HP x360 Desktop with Classic Shell
The 11.6″, 1366 x 768 display is good for it’s size.  The resolution is the same as the 11 inch MacBook Air. And it’s multi-touch!


The keyboard has a very good feel for me. It seems durable but perhaps that is the heft of the system unit that makes it so. I don’t like many chiclet style keyboards, mostly because they lack good tactile feedback, but the x360 lets you know you’ve hit a key.


The x360 comes with Beats Audio for whatever that’s worth with its small speakers. I’ve not connected to anything other than a small Bluetooth speaker, but Bluetooth is a nice feature too. Maybe the trick is to buy a $200, Beats Audio Bluetooth speaker.

Battery Life

Most reviewers don’t rate the battery life very well. I’ve not put a stop watch to it, or ran it down, nor has my wife. As far as I know, she’s happy. I’ll let you know better as soon as the weather improves enough to watch a movie or two, on the patio at night. 

Other reviewers have rated the battery time at 5 hours or better, of continuous use. Not long ago, that would have been impressive a laptop. But the x360 may be outclassed by its competitors in that power metric.

Disk Storage

The HP x360 has a 5400 rpm, 500 GB hard drive. It’s not the fastest storage in the world,but it holds a half terabyte in a small package.
Though not as small and light as an SSD drive, that amount of SSD storage would push the price up considerably.


As I have mentioned, the HP x360 isn’t exactly a speed demon. But my needs aren’t such that I need one. As aren’t, I suspect, most others. The Intel, 64bit, quad core processor will provide the multimedia performance required by the way most people will use the x360. 


The x360 is small enough to fit in many purses. It would fit easily into most backpacks too. At 3.1 lbs, it isn’t the lightest in its class, but even so, it is far lighter than the laptop I used to carry. The x360’s good keyboard notwithstanding, it’s still a bit heavy for me. I’m trying to pare down my necessities enough to carry only a tablet. 
I believe the x360 will be well liked by those requiring a good keyboard in a small package and its heft makes you want to believe in its durability. 
Maybe most important of all – it comes in red!
HP x360 in red!



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