If you’ve been waiting for a successor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 — and since it was released at the end of 2015, you have been for a while — there’s been no shortage of alternatives. But if a Surface Pro 5 is unlikely to “surface” (pun intended) anytime soon, as ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley speculates, HP has just launched a very appealing 2-in-1 that should demand your attention.
The updated Elite x2 1012 G2 outdoes the Surface Pro 4 in many areas. At just 0.36 inches thick, it’s skinnier than Microsoft’s convertible, and it packs the Intel Kaby Lake processors that weren’t available when the Surface Pro 4 was rolled out. HP’s also addressed one of the original Elite x2 1012’s shortcomings, boosting the resolution and size of its touchscreen display from 1,920×1,080 to 2,736×1,824 and 11.6 inches to 12.3 inches, which now match the Surface Pro.
Whereas the Surface Pro 4 offers a choice of sixth-generation (or Skylake) Core CPUs, the x2 1012 G2 can be equipped with either the Core i3-7100U, Core i5-7200U or i5-7300U, or Core i7-7600U. Note that none of these use Intel’s Iris integrated graphics, which the Surface Pro’s i7 chips include. Like Microsoft’s 2-in-1 tablet, the x2 1012 G2 can support up to 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of solid-state storage.
HP’s hybrid has a couple of further advantages over the latest Surface Pro. It’s built to MIL-SPEC rugged standards, and also includes the HP Collaboration Keyboard and a Wacom digital pen. The company makes it easier to open up the device for repairs/upgrades than the notoriously clamped-down Surface Pro hardware.
One area where the Surface Pro 4 still has an advantage is in base price. You can pick up the cheapest Surface tablet for $799, while the base Elite x2 starts $300 higher. You don’t get a keyboard or pen with the base Surface Pro 4, however, and you’re stuck with an Intel Core m3 processor instead of a more powerful Core i3. But you’ll still have to wait a little bit even for the new Elite x2 1012 G2, as HP says it will be released in July.