HP has rarely been afraid to copy good design. The company's Envy laptops have long resembled Apple's MacBooks, and last year many of the company's mid-range touchscreen machines adopted the detachable Asus Transformer style. Today, HP is announcing a computer cut from a slightly different cloth: the new HP Pavilion x360 is clearly inspired by Lenovo's successful Yoga lineup of backflipping convertible PCs. Like the Yoga, the x360 lid is on a hinge that rotates all the way around the machine, so you can hold it flat against the back like a tablet, or prop it up in "tent" or "stand" modes when there's a flat surface within reach. And just like Lenovo's most recent addition to the lineup, the Yoga 2 11, the computer runs Windows 8.1 on an Intel Bay Trail processor, in an 11-inch, three-pound laptop with 4GB of RAM, 500GB of magnetic storage, and a fairly low-resolution 1366 x 768 multitouch screen.
Undercutting the originator
Where they differ is price: the nice part about the Pavilion is that it starts at just $400, compared to the $550 you'll pay for the Lenovo today. Mind you, you'll be getting a laptop that's five millimeters thicker and may not have nearly the same battery life. HP offered an estimate of over four hours for the Pavilion x360, while the Lenovo Yoga 2 11 will allegedly do six hours on a charge. For the price, you might not mind, though, and the Pavilion offers full-size HDMI and ethernet jacks in the bargain.
HP VP Mike Nash tells us the company won't necessarily be switching from detachable computers to convertible computer for future hybrids. According to the company's research, consumers are interested in both.
Update: we just got a chance to take an early look at HP's Pavilion x360 at Mobile World Congress. The x360 doesn't sport an IPS display so the viewing angles could be difficult if you're planning to flip the 11-inch display and use it as a tablet. The hinge is also a little too flexible, meaning the screen feels a little wobbly if you touch it while it's in notebook mode. HP's Pavilion x360 is a little chubby once it's converted into tablet mode, and it doesn't feel particularly light either. The price appears to be the biggest selling point on this particular notebook.