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Review: The HP EliteBook x360 Is Our Favorite Premium Laptop Right Now

The CRN Test Center finds lot to like in HP's new business-friendly, 2-in-1 notebook.

The HP EliteBook x360 isn't perfect, but it's pretty close.

At least if you're looking for a high-end laptop for workplace use. The 2-in-1 notebook is built with the needs of the business power user in mind, and while it's got plenty to offer for consumer-y purposes, it also has features you probably won't need outside working hours.

[Related: Review: Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 Is A Solid Option For Convertible Fans]

And it's got a premium price tag, too.

But with the lines between home and work getting ever-blurrier, the EliteBook x360 is a well-timed, well-executed device seizing on the trend.

In a lot of ways, the 13.3-inch laptop feels like the MacBook Pro refresh that Apple should have made last fall (rather than the one it did make).

The EliteBook x360 certainly has the appearance of a MacBook Pro, with a slick-looking aluminum body, and the touchpad is just as good as that of a Mac touchpad (a rare feat for a Windows machine).

But unlike Apple and the new MacBook Pro, HP doesn't shun work-friendly ports with the EliteBook x360 (it's got two USB-A ports, HDMI, ​USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, microSD and a smart card reader).

The laptop is also just about as thin as you can get -- 0.59 of an inch thick -- while still having those ports, and the weight is a manageable 2.86 pounds.

The performance is killer on the EliteBook x360, meanwhile; our model came with a seventh-gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, which enabled plenty of speedy multitasking.

And the battery life is terrific, too. We got seven hours and 40 minutes of battery life, after heavy usage (including of the touch screen) and setting the screen to 100 percent brightness. In our experience, that's superb battery life for a touch-screen laptop at full brightness.


The reason we set the brightness so high, however, is that the screen isn't one of the brightest we've seen. That's one of the few downsides of the EliteBook x360. Otherwise though, the 1,080p display is sharp and vivid enough for our liking.

The EliteBook x360 rates high on durability with MIL-STD-810G certification and Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen.

And as mentioned, it has a lot to offer in terms of business-friendliness. The laptop includes HP's self-healing Sure Start technology, Windows Hello facial recognition and a slew of other security features (such as TPM, HP SpareKey and HP Secure Erase). The laptop is also soon to get the Sure View integrated PC privacy screen, and it works with the HP WorkWise app, which allows you to monitor whether your EliteBook has been tampered with (as well as metrics such as its performance and temperature).

For easier workplace collaboration, the EliteBook x360 offers dedicated keys for launching Skype for Business, muting/unmuting your microphone, sharing your screen and answering or ending a call.

We like the keyboard a lot overall, too, with keys that are deep and responsive even though the laptop is so thin.

For fans of digital pens, HP says a full-sized Wacom pen will be included in the purchase price.

While we haven't historically been convinced that touch screens on laptops are a must-have, we're starting to come around thanks to laptops like the EliteBook x360. The 2-in-1 nature of the device can be a game-changer in cramped spaces such as airplanes. On a flight last week, for instance, we found that folding the display backward ended up being crucial to getting some work done.

For us, the bottom line with the EliteBook x360 is that HP has gotten nearly everything right in terms of building a premium laptop for business. The price certainly reflects that this is a swank device — the model we tested starts at $1,899 -- but we think the investment ought to be worth it for many businesspeople.

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