In the realm of detachable Chromebooks, there are few at this point. Two, specifically, and we’ve been asked time and again to pit them against one another to determine which is the best purchase. Between the Pixel Slate and the HP x2, there are lots of similarities and just as many differences. While it isn’t as simple as one over the other, we want to break down both devices and help you decide which you should spend your money on.
For these versus videos, we keep things pretty simple and keep to our standard 5 sections: build quality, screen, keyboard/trackpad/pen, internals/ports, and user experience. We’ll pick a winner in each and then an overall winner in the end. So, let’s get started.
Both of these devices are well built, but they have differences, too. The HP x2 is made of aluminum and glass for the tablet portion with a white, anodized aluminum back plate that looks great from just about any angle and the aluminum edges around the sides look fantastic. They are a bit more boxy and angled than the Slates edges, and I actually like that. Thought the two weigh in around the same, the HP x2 actually feels lighter due to those less-rounded edges that are easier to grip.
The Pixel Slate is similar with aluminum and glass all around, but the soft-touch coating on the back plate picks up fingerprints like a monster. The edges are way more rounded and overall, the Slate just feels a bit more premium and high quality. With its perfect symmetry and balance, it’s clear that a ton of engineering went into putting this tablet together. The smaller bezels and rounded edges may look nice, but they make the Slate a bit harder to hold in one hand. It is simply difficult to get a grip.
Though there are similarities, the win here has to go to the Pixel Slate. That’s not to say this is a runaway win, though: the HP x2 feels great and looks great in its own right. I wouldn’t really knock either of these devices for the way they are constructed, but if I have to choose a winner between them, the win has to go to the Pixel Slate.
This is also a diffifcult comparison. Again, I wouldn’t really find fault in either of these devices on their own. Both have excellent screens at a 3:2 ratio with a diagonal measure of 12.3-inches. Both have excellent colors and viewing angles and brightness. Both are a pleasure to use.
The key differences are bezels and resolution, and neither really matter that much in day-to-day use. The Slate has smaller bezels, but not by a lot, and it also has a higher resolution (3000×2000 vs 2400×1600) that your naked eye cannot detect in the slightest.
The Slate does, however, have a certain quality about it that just looks a bit better when it comes to colors and contrast. It isn’t night and day, but it seems Google’s “molecular display” does make things look a tad better on the Slates screen. Again, this category is really close, but the win goes ever so slightly to the Pixel Slate.
Here’s where we get a bit of real separation. As detachables go, there are basically two ways to attach a keyboard: a stiff hinge or a folding case. Folding cases usually involve some way to fold the keyboard case in a way that props up the device. This is what the Pixel Slate does. The stiff hinge approach gives you more of a laptop keyboard deck with a clamshell hinge that the screen portion snaps on to. This is what the HP x2 does.
There’s not a right or wrong, here. It is more a matter of preference. For me, I want my device to be versatile and usable wherever I am. Folding cases don’t perform this way. Though the Pixel Slate’s keyboard does allow for adjustable angles unlike the iPad Pro, the entire thing is too flimsy and wobbly when used anywhere other than a desk or table.
When on a table, things are good and the keys/trackpad feel and look great. I use my Chromebooks in lots of places, though, and the minute I leave the desk, the experience with the Slate falls apart.
The HP x2 – while it feels a bit top heavy and a tad wobbly when attached to its excellent keyboard and decent trackpad – is a much better solution in varied working environments. I can drop it on my lap and work just like I would from a dedicated laptop. The keyboard portion is a bit more flimsy than I’d like, however, and picking up the whole thing from one corner isn’t advised. The flexion is enough that the bottom corner of the trackpad actually comes up out of the frame a tad and that isn’t very confidence-inspiring.
Both of these keyboard/trackpads are honestly better than you would expect from devices that are actually tablets, so I am happy with them both in the right scenario. However, with the HP x2 being better in multiple environments and conditions, the win has to go to the HP x2.
This category goes back and forth a bit. First, we’ll talk about internals. The HP x2 comes with a 7th-gen Core m3, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. The Pixel Slate comes in an 8th-gen Core m3, i5 or i7 and anywhere from 8GB to 16GB of RAM. If we compare the closest versions, the Slate still wins with the Core m3/8GB/64GB setup versus the HP x2’s paltry 4GB/32GB setup.
The HP x2 does allow for expanding that storage, though, with an SD card slot whereas the Slate is only working with what you buy it with. That port supremacy continues for the HP x2 in the form of a headphone/mic jack that is missing on the Pixel Slate for some unknown reason.
Speakers, however, are a clear cut win for the Pixel Slate. This thing has the best speakers on any portable device I’ve ever heard. I just love them. Sure the HP x2 has front-firing speakers, but I can tell you there is no test where the HP’s speakers even come close to matching the volume and depth of the Pixel Slate’s speakers. The are that good.
So, where does that leave us, here? The Pixel slate is more powerful and has far better speakers, but the HP x2 is more versatile with its ports. Though there are tradeoffs on both sides, I feel like the overall winner in this category has to be the Pixel Slate with its more powerful processor, more RAM, larger internal storage, and superb speakers.
When we talk about overall user experience, we get to step away from the spec sheets and stats and just talk about using these Chromebooks on a daily basis.
If you can get over the smaller amount of RAM and storage (neither bother me, honestly), I think the better overall usability lies with the HP x2. From the flexibility of the clamshell design to the way it feels as a tablet, I simply enjoyed using the HP x2 more than the Pixel Slate. Don’t get me wrong, they are both great, but I felt like I had to think about the HP x2 less when it was actually time to get some things done. I don’t have to think about where I’m using it or how to hold it when I’m using the tablet portion.
I love the Slate’s fingerprint scanner and the speakers are so good when I want to watch shows on its excellent screen, but my use of Chromebooks is more than simple content consumption, and when doing my job on a daily basis, I’d prefer to be doing it from the HP x2.
So, if you’ve kept score, the Slate wins 3-2. While I’d love to keep these versus videos cut, dry, and simple, I have to throw in another factor that comes into play between these two Chromebooks: price.
If we look at the similarly spec’d models, the Slate is $799 plus $199 for the keyboard and $99 for the pen. That is $1100 all together and thus far, we’ve not seen any price breaks on the Slate.
When we talk about the HP x2, however, the MSRP is $599 and that includes the keyboard and pen. As I’m writing this, Best Buy has a sale on this device for $399 and we frequently see it dip down to $499 and $449. Even at the MSRP, you can almost get 2 HP x2’s for the price of a single Pixel Slate.
There’s simply no way I can say that the Pixel Slate is 2-times better than the HP x2. At the current sale price, the Slate is actually almost 3X the price of the HP x2! So, you could buy one Slate or 3 HP x2’s!
When you put it that way, there’s just no way I can recommend anyone buy the Slate over the HP x2 unless speakers or RAM are your absolute sticking points. If you can get over 4GB of RAM and mediocre speakers, I think it is pretty clear that the better overall device for most people is the HP Chromebook x2. I know if I was deciding which to spend my money on right now, HP would be getting mine.Buy the HP Chromebook x2 from Amazon Buy the Pixel Slate from Amazon