HP Pavilion x360: A Holiday Gift To Myself

HP Pavlion x360  Image: Dakster Sullivan
HP Pavlion x360. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

Coming in at 13.12 inches wide, 9 inches in diameter, and 3.7 pounds, the HP Pavilion x360 was designed to be a tablet in disguise. The power button and volume buttons are on the side to make sure you have easy access to them, no matter if you have it in laptop, stand, or tablet mode. The specs are pretty basic for a laptop computer, but it gets high markings in the memory and processor departments.

The AMD A8-6410 APU with AMD Radeon R5 Graphics, 2.00GHz is a 64-bit processor and will run your normal everyday office/internet tasks without issue. I’ve read that it can handle a few older PC games, but not being a gamer myself, this isn’t something I can confirm. I can tell you that with the 8GB of memory, I can run my favorite programs like Manga Studio 5, Office, WordPress, and several others without issues. In terms of ports, the HP Pavilion x360 includes: (2) USB 3.0, (1) USB 2.0, (1) HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card reader. There is no CD/DVD player in this model, but I’m not really missing it.

The WLED-backlit touchscreen display has a resolution of 1366 x 768 and is crispy clear. Even though it’s a touchscreen, I prefer not to use that feature when it’s in laptop mode. It just makes more sense for me to use my mouse.

Left side ports  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Left side ports. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

One of the cool features of this laptop is the ability to flip the screen 360 degrees. That means you can use it in “stand mode,” most commonly preferred for watching movies, or in “tablet” mode. I haven’t used the stand mode and quite frankly, find it to be rather pointless. I have played with the tablet mode and found it to be a bit bulky in terms of use, but useful for when I need to carry it around my office at work.

Right side ports  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Right side ports. Image: Dakster Sullivan.

This laptop has a major downside for me and that is in the physical design. In my experience, computer designers have this bad tendency to design something that even they wouldn’t want to work on if it breaks. For some reason, the designers of this model decided that it would be a good idea to put everything, including the hard drive, battery, and memory, under the keyboard. That means to get to any of those components, you have to pop off the keyboard to get to them.

The battery being on the inside is the biggest downside, in my opinion. For the average user, that means if you ever call someone for tech support and they ask you to pull the battery and let it sit for a minute, you can’t do it. For me, this is a real pain because if the battery dies, there is that much more work involved to replace it. For the everyday consumer who doesn’t have the skills I have, this will mean more money to pay out for someone to repair it. Something else I’ve realized about the battery is that it doesn’t stay charged as long as the HP Envy that I reviewed this year. I can leave that puppy on for days and it won’t die on me. This one, on the other hand, if you don’t use it or charge it, it won’t stay alive in hibernation for more than a day or so. The way to work around this is to take care of the laptop a little better. If you know your child has a football practice or dance class and you want to be able to work, charge it up a few hours ahead of time.

The memory is not upgradable, but since it already has 8GB to start, I’m okay with not being able to add more.

Look mom! No battery!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Look mom! No battery! Image: Dakster Sullivan.

The 500GB hard drive is nice, but for the most part, I don’t store any files on my laptop. Instead, I save them to one of my many cloud accounts and work from that. With me not saving any of my files to the hard drive, that space will get put to good use with installing my favorite programs like Manga Studio 5 and Office Professional (two programs I practically live in). I work wirelessly 99 percent of the time and have had no problems connecting to the internet at home or at work. In fact, I think this laptop works better than my previous ones, because it finds the wireless network quicker and without me having to turn Wi-Fi on and off to get it to see something.

Since the Pavilion x360 is so small in comparison to my other laptops, I like to use this one as my “go with me everywhere” laptop. I carry it to work, my mom’s house, and pretty much everywhere but the grocery store (and that’s only because I’m not allowed in there…something about buying too much junk food one time).

My bag of choice to carry my Pavilion in is my ThinkGeek Flash diaper bag that I received from a friend for Christmas. I use the changing pad as a makeshift laptop sleeve, the terrycloth burp cloth (AKA “cape”) for a screen cleaner, the insulated bottle holder to keep my cables organized, and the zipper pouch to keep my pens and small change. Even with all that, there is still room for diapers, a change of clothes, and snacks.

Image: Daxster Sullivan.
I’ve let my son hold this laptop a few times and he didn’t seem to have an opinion on it. He prefers larger screens for playing Minecraft and watching videos. In his mind, once you go big, you don’t go back. For me though, the smaller size works because it’s easier to transport than a 15-inch brick. Even if he doesn’t like the size of the screen to compared to other laptops I’ve let him play with, this one sits nicely in his lap without too much overage on his legs and isn’t too heavy for him to carry by himself (of course, I’m right behind him with a pillow in case he trips…to catch the laptop).

Image: Daxster Sullivan.
In summary, the HP Pavlion x360 is a great laptop for parents on the go. The size is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want a brick to lug around and weighs enough to know it’s in your bag—but not enough to make you need a back brace when carrying it around. Of the three modes—stand, laptop, and tablet—I find myself using it in laptop mode the most, but appreciate the ability to switch it around, if I ever want to. I didn’t notice any special software on this laptop and that’s okay, because it means there is less for me to uninstall before I get my feet wet with using it.

The HP x360 line is available at select retailers and starts at around $549.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.