HP is launching its own version of the Surface Pro 3 today. No, it hasn’t taken over manufacturing of Microsoft’s tablet, it’s merely imitating it. HP’s new Envy x2 has a multi-angle kickstand, a fabric keyboard cover that clicks into place with a stylus holder loop, and it all adds up to something that looks eerily similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 tablet. There’s a 13.3-inch model and a 15-inch version, and both ship with Intel’s latest Core M processors in a variety of configurations. Although the 13-inch model has a base display that’s 1366 x 768 resolution, it can be upgraded to match the 1920 x 1080 resolution of the base 15-inch model.
While the similarities are clear, HP’s tablet hybrid is significantly heavier and thicker than Microsoft’s tablet despite it using a fanless design and no visible venting. The 13-inch Envy x2 is 13.7mm thick compared to the 9.1mm Surface Pro 3, and it weighs 2.81 pounds without the keyboard, compared to the 1.76 pounds of the Surface Pro 3. HP is trying to match Microsoft on price, too, with the 13-inch model starting at $799 and the 15-inch version starting at $749.
HP has made some subtle changes, and those include an SD slot at the side, Beats Audio speakers, and an interesting keyboard design. The keyboard folds away and the trackpad has been strangely positioned to the side of the keyboard on the 15-inch model. If there’s one trick that Microsoft has missed and HP has capitalized on it’s a Bluetooth-powered keyboard to let you use the keyboard when it’s detached from the tablet. Microsoft has accessories for this, but it’s good to have this built-in if you want to work further away from the screen. HP’s offering of a 15-inch version will also appeal to the masses of consumers that still buy a lot of 15-inch laptops. Oddly, the 15-inch model also has a traditional 500GB hard drive rather than the solid-state storage found on the 13-inch model.
HP might not be a stranger to mimicking competitor designs, but it’s still unusual to see a close partner of Microsoft offer a product that’s clearly inspired by the Surface Pro 3. Both HP Envy x2 models go on sale today.