HP Chromebook X2 11 review: Are premium Chromebooks a thing now?

Quick verdict: HP brings a premium touch to the Chromebook world with the HP Chromebook X2 11, an interesting competitor to the likes of Apple's iPad Pro or the Surface Go line. But it's inherently limited by a slower processor.

  • Keyboard included
  • 4G-capable
  • Good speakers
  • Stylus available if you need it
  • Great battery life
  • Middling processor performance
  • High price for a Chromebook
  • Terrible camera

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HP Chromebook X2 11

Chromebooks are typically seen as "cheap" computers, primarily pitched at the education crowd because they're easier to manage and work within set-ups like Google Classroom natively. That's not what the HP Chromebook X2 11 is.

It's a premium-priced Chromebook that more directly takes on devices such as the 11-inch Apple iPad Pro, or Microsoft's Surface Go 3. You still get the advantages and disadvantages of the Chrome OS experience, but in a more premium style and with a few extra goodies thrown in to justify its price point.


HP Chromebook X2 11 review: Design

HP Chromebook X2 11 review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

The HP Chromebook X2 11 is at its heart, an 11-inch tablet with a 2160x1440 IPS LCD display. You could totally just use it that way because it's touch-enabled and built on Chrome OS.

However, that's not all you get in the box. One of the key ways that HP differentiates itself from the likes of Apple or Microsoft is that you don't have to pay extra for a keyboard. It's supplied in the box, as is the rest of the casing for the HP Chromebook X2 11. These snap onto the base and back of the device, giving it a very familiar appearance.

Extremely familiar, in fact, because like the Lenovo Duet Chromebook, this is a simple copy of the design idea for the Surface line, right down to the rear casing folding out to form a kickstand. While Microsoft has said many times that it viewed the Surface design as something of a reference platform for other PC makers, it probably meant those shipping devices with Windows on them, not Chromebooks.

HP Chromebook X2 11 review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Be that as it may, it's a design that gives you a lot of flexibility on how you use the HP Chromebook X2 11. Like the Surface devices it apes, the kickstand isn't super comfortable on your lap for any length of time, but it's very good if you have a flat surface handy to drop it onto.

While the keyboard casing gives it the feel of a Surface, the rest of the design is rather more akin to the iPad Air if anything, with rounded corners and a power button that also doubles as a fingerprint sensor for authentication. A nice design touch is that the left-hand side houses not 1 but 2 USB-C ports, either of which can be used for charging. That makes it much simpler to attach other peripherals while charging, something you can't as easily do on competing single-port devices.

HP giveth and HP taketh away here it seems because while the sides are thick enough to accommodate it, there's no available 3.5mm headphone jack if you're the wired headphones type.

The HP Chromebook X2 11 also supports stylus input via the HP rechargeable USI pen, which connects magnetically to the top of the tablet. HP didn't supply 1 for review, so I can't comment on its quality. On the plus side, that means you're spared the sight of any of my frankly awful "artworks" as I try to assess it. It exists, and in Australia you'd be looking at spending $69.99 if you needed it.


HP Chromebook X2 11 review: Performance

HP Chromebook X2 11 review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Chromebooks have typically stayed cheap by keeping their processing power low. That works acceptably when you're talking purely web apps within the browser. However, the shift towards allowing more pure Android apps to run on Chromebooks has led to a number of devices that feel a tad underpowered, depending of course on your app needs.

The HP Chromebook X2 11 somewhat bucks the trend of matching up low power processors with Chrome OS, shipping with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor and 8GB of onboard RAM on the unit as tested. Storage is light at 128GB, but then you could expand that either via microSD or an external USB drive. The entire point of a Chromebook is that most of your stuff would live in the cloud anyway.

However, while the HP Chromebook X2 11 brings a little more grunt than comparable Chromebooks, it's not as though it's the only device you could buy at its asking price, even within the tablet space.

HP Chromebook X2 11 review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

There are drawbacks to direct CPU comparison here because it's not as though ChromeOS is Windows 11 or iPadOS to speak of, and all 3 have different approaches to apps, storage and memory management.

However, throwing the cross-platform Geekbench 5 CPU benchmark at the HP Chromebook X2 11 does show where it sits in the relative pecking order:

It's no surprise at all that the iPad Pro 11 dominates in that test because its M1 processor is an absolute beast. So is its asking price, but the smaller iPad Mini could come with a keyboard for around the same asking price as the HP Chromebook X2 11, albeit with an obvious limitation in terms of screen size.

That's where Apple's other tablets might also be worth considering. They have the same locked-down appeal of a Chromebook but within Apple's own walled garden instead.

However, if you're in the market for a Chromebook, the HP Chromebook X2 11 is a generally capable device. The model as tested and sold in Australia comes with 4G LTE compatibility, giving it further scope for true portability wherever there's a 4G network signal. In my own tests on the Telstra network, I typically hit between 50–150Mbps from my home office, but there's certainly scope for a little more speed than that depending on your network coverage.

HP Chromebook X2 11 review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

It's also a decent tool for essential office productivity tasks, with the keyboard and trackpad offering good response to back up the touchscreen interface. Obviously Google's own suite of work applications is the go-to position. But with so many applications having a web variant these days, there's a lot of scope for the HP Chromebook X2 11 to do a lot of work.

That's as long as that work doesn't involve much in the way of photography. It's true to say that the HP Chromebook X2 11 has cameras – 8MP at the rear, 5MP at the front – but neither are anywhere even approaching mediocre.

You'll need a lot of patience to get any kind of acceptable image out of them because capture speeds are glacially slow. I lost countless shots simply because I thought the HP Chromebook X2 11 had finished shooting, but it hadn't, turning my delicately framed compositions into blurry pictures of my feet instead. Even when it did behave, results were less than compelling.

HP Chromebook X2 11 sample photos

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Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

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Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

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Image: Alex Kidman/Finder


HP Chromebook X2 11 review: Battery

product review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

ChromeOS keeps things simple, but the inclusion of a slightly-more powerful CPU made me wonder about how well the HP Chromebook X2 11 might stand up to a sustained workload. HP claims that it's capable of up to 11 hours of battery runtime.

In my own tests, looping a locally stored 1080p video file at maximum brightness, the HP Chromebook X2 11 fell a little short of that, with just over 7 hours of runtime. That's no doubt due to the brighter and finer than usual screen, but in more anecdotal use I could stretch that up to around 9 hours of typical usage, mostly browser-based rather than apps. Predictably if you do want the HP Chromebook X2 11 for its 4G LTE coverage, you'll take a battery hit in return.

product review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

The onboard USB-C charger adds those tasty electrons at up to 45W, so topping it up is relatively rapid. As it's USB-C based, it's also feasible to top up the HP Chromebook X2 11 from other compatible chargers in a pinch.


Should you buy it?

  • Buy it if you need a premium Chromebook – and if you can score a discount.
  • Don't buy it if you're not wedded into the Chromebook ecosystem.

Premium Chromebooks are absolutely a category now, and within that niche there's a fair amount to like about the HP Chromebook X2 11. The design is good, the screen is exceptional and you pay no more for an included keyboard case of fair quality.

However, at its base $999 asking price, the HP Chromebook X2 11 isn't exactly fast compared to other tablet and 2-in-1 style offerings. That's problematic unless you're in the situation where only a Chromebook will do.

You don't have to spend too much more (and in some cases less) to match up an Apple iPad with a keyboard for the same functionality, if not more thanks to their performance edge. You may find that the Surface Go 3 is also a worthwhile contender.

That $999 asking price appears to have some flex within it depending on where you shop. During the process of this review I've noted it on sale, sometimes for hundreds of dollars less, so if you are keen, make sure you shop around for the best deal.
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product review

Image: Alex Kidman/Finder


HP Chromebook X2 11 review: Pricing and availability


How we tested

The HP Chromebook X2 11 was tested over a 2-week period, using it for both productivity and entertainment tasks. It was benchmarked for comparative purposes and battery tested to gain an understanding of its likely battery endurance.

The writer has been testing and writing laptops and tablets for more than 2 decades now and can draw on extensive experience when testing. The HP Chromebook X2 11 used in this review was supplied by HP.


Specifications

Specs

Display Size
11
Display Type
bezel touchscreen
Emmc Storage
128
Graphics Processor
Qualcomm Adreno 618
Processor Cores
8
Processor Family
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Compute Platform
Ram
8
Screen Resolution
2160x1440

Features

Bluetooth
v5 combo
Card Reader
WWAN LTE card slot
Operating System
Chrome OS
Touchscreen
Yes
Usb C Ports
2
Webcam
HP Wide Vision
Wifi
802.11a/b/g/n/ac

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