HP Pavilion x360 13z Touch

A Low Cost 13-inch Hybrid Laptop

HP Pavilion x360 13z Touch 13-inch Convertible Laptop
Pavilion X360 13z Touch. ©HP

The Pavilion X306 13z laptop has been discontinued by HP but they still produce a number of X360 models. If you are in the market for a compact laptop, be sure to check out the Best Lightweight Laptops for more current options including convertible models.

The Bottom Line

Jul 23 2014 - HP's Pavilion x360 13z Touch is a compromise system in many ways. It is designed as a hybrid laptop that can be used like a tablet but the size and weight make it difficult to do that often.

Performance is certainly better than more compact and affordable options even from HP but it still falls short when compared to a similarly priced straight laptop. So, while it may be best used as a laptop it isn't as fast as a 13-inch laptop rather than hybrid.

Pros

  • Better Performance Than Similar Low Cost 11-inch Hybrids
  • Comfortable and Accurate Keyboard Design
  • Available In Red As Well As Silver

Cons

  • Hard Drive Holds Back Performance Against Some Alternatives
  • Screen Brightness and Coating Suffers From Glare and Reflections
  • Heavy To Use As a Tablet For Extended Periods

Description

  • AMD A8-6410 Quad Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) Multitouch Display With 720p Webcam
  • AMD Radeon R5 Integrated Graphics
  • Fsat Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, SD Card Slot
  • 13.12" x 9" x .88" @ 3.97 lbs.
  • Windows 8.1

Preview - HP Pavilion x360 13z Touch

Jul 23 2014 - The HP Pavilion x360 name is derived from the hinge for the display that lets it fold all the way back to create a hybrid laptop that can also function like a laptop akin to what the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro does but at a much more affordable price.

The 13z Touch is not the first of the new hybrid laptops as this is a larger version to the 11-inch original but there are many internal differences. It comes in at .88-inches thick and weighs just under four pounds making it a bit heavy to use as a tablet but the primary use is going to be as a touchscreen laptop.

The system is available in either silver or red colors.

Rather than using the Intel processors, HP has elected to use the AMD A8-6410 quad core processor. This provides more performance than the quad core Intel Pentium N3520 found in the 11-inch version particularly when it comes to the graphics. This is still not a powerhouse system but it will run all basic web browsing, media streaming and productivity software just fine. It can do more demanding tasks like desktop video work but is slower than a traditional laptop and would benefit from a memory upgrade as the base 4GB while fine for Windows 8 will slow things down for heavy multitasking and demanding applications.

As this is designed to be affordable, storage is handled by a traditional hard drive. A 500GB model is standard which is sufficient for many users but it can be ordered with up to a full terabyte in size. The one downside here is that the hard drive does limit the performance when compared to a solid state drive or SSHD. Boot times for instance take nearly half a minute which is nearly twice as long as alternatives to the hard drive. If you need additional storage space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external drives.

The only downside is that these are on the right hand side middle which means that cables could get in the way of using an external mouse. There is no optical drive which means those wanting to read or write CD or DVD media will need an external drive.

The 13.3-inch display is larger than that found in the smaller Pavilion x360 laptop but it still uses the 1366x768 resolution typical of many budget class displays. It would be nice to see higher resolution displays start making their way into laptops as most tablets offer much better screens. The color and brightness are decent but it does have trouble overcoming the glare introduced by the touchscreen coating that is highly reflective.

Multitouch works well with little to no lag on the input. The graphics are driven by the AMD Radeon R5 graphics core built into the CPU. This is a step up from the Intel HD graphics in terms of 3D performance that allows the system to be used fro some light casual PC gaming at lower resolutions and detail levels. It also offers a broader range of acceleration for non-3D applications.

The keyboard design doesn't stray much from those used in many other HP laptops in recent years. It uses an isolated key design that is recessed slightly in the keyboard deck. It features nice large tab, caps lock, shift, enter and backspace keys. You just have to be aware of the few keys just to the right of the enter keys that normally would be located elsewhere on larger keyboards. Overall, it should provide a comfortable and accurate typing experience. The trackpad is a nice large size and features integrated buttons. It is fully multitouch compatible but this isn't a major concern as it does feature the touchscreen.

The battery pack for the HP Pavilion x360 13z uses an internal 43.5Whr capacity battery. HP claims that this will allow the system to run for upwards of six and a quarter hours. AMD's processors tend to not be as energy efficient as Intel's and this estimate is probably is on the high side. In a situation such as desktop video streaming, I would estimate the battery life to range from around five to five and a half hours. This is certainly a decent amount of running time but still well short of the Apple MacBook Air 13 that lasts over ten hours but does that on a much larger battery pack.

With a starting price of just $630, the HP Pavilion x360 13z Touch is in an interesting position. It is more expensive than options such as the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 of even the 11-inch version that are priced around $400 to $600. They offer many of the same features but in a smaller package. The only difference is that the 13z Touch has more performance from the AMD processor. On the other hand, the Acer Aspire V3 371 is priced at $700 and is a straight up laptop laptop with slightly better performance, more storage space and is a good deal lighter but without the touchscreen of course.