HP's return to the tablet market hasn't exactly set the world on fire just yet, with only the budget-focused Slate 7 filling in the spaces on retail shelves. Today the company aims a little higher with the StateBook x2, a riff on ASUS' Transformer series with high-end specs and a high-end price to match them. The tablet comes bundled with a keyboard - there's no tablet-only option - for $479. HP will sell you one on the company website now, and it should arrive at online and brick-and-mortar stores soon.
The core specifications in the SlateBook x2 are pretty good: it runs NVIDIA's brand-spankin new Tegra 4 SoC with a quad-core 1.8Ghz processor and 2GB of RAM, plus a 1920x1200 10" screen. Like the Transformers, the tablet can run off the primary battery in the main housing and get a boost when docked with the keyboard. HP claims that the tablet alone gets ten hours of life, with the combination providing a further eight. Software is Android 4.2, which is actually a bit surprising - not that we're complaining. Kingsoft Office and various HP apps are included.
The rest of the hardware is a a bit disappointing. Storage is a standard 16GB, with a MicroSD card slot in the tablet itself and standard SD in the keyboard dock, along with full-sized USB and HDMI ports. A webcam and rear-facing camera of indeterminate quality round out the hardware. Right now only the gray model is available for purchase.
HP does not have a stellar reputation when it comes to consumer PCs, at least in terms of quality, and the Slate 7 was poorly-received in initial reviews despite a rock-bottom price. But the company seems to consistently deliver impressive retail sales in the US, and the SlateBook x2 is being aimed as a competitor to full-powered Windows laptops. It will be interesting to see how well it does at the intersection of Android and Windows 8, both in price and functionality.