I have four Windows laptops, which may be no surprise, after I left a laptop behind at Stockholm airport and the airport charged me me $440 to get it back. In retrospect, it would have been cheaper to abandon it, and purchase a reconditioned one for the same or lower price.
The one I lost (and recovered) was the 14" HP Spectre X360 (see image at left), their top of the line laptop at the time I bought it in 2015. But it has one glaring flaw: the keytops are silver, which, combined with the built-in backlighting, make the keys hard to see in any light. I am a touch typist, but even touch typists need to glance at the keyboard from time to time.
So four years later, fed up with the badly designed keyboard, I bought a 14" Dell Inspiron, not top-of-the-line in prestige but pretty close to the top in specs. I subsequently outfitted it with 32GB RAM and 2TB solid state drive. It, too, has a major flaw: it has a hard time connecting with WiFi after starting up from sleep. Irritating, but nevertheless a top-notch laptop otherwise.
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And so, it came as much surprise to me that a lesser computer is now my favorite. It, too, has flaws, but there is just something about it, how it and I connect that I have not experienced with a computer in a long time. It is the unnoticed HP X2 G2 Windows tablet, complete with backlit keyboard and stylus, which cost me $500, reconditioned. It normally goes for $2,500. See figure at right. I subsequently upgraded the solid state drive from 256GB to 1TB.
After I first bought it, I realized that HP had a newer model with some better specs, the X2 G3 (generation 3). I got it for $250, reconditioned. And yet, it is the older G2 that I prefer. Here's why:
- G2 runs faster at 2.5GHz base speed
- G3 runs slower at 1.5GHz base speed
In practice, I do not notice a difference in the base speeds, probably because booth can shoot up to 4GHz when the software load demands it.
- G2 has 1 USB-A and 1 USB-C
- G3 has 3 USB-C
You would think three ports is better than two, but in practice I find that the USB-A port is still used by an awful lot of peripherals. The sole USB-C port on the older G2 is needed by the power supply, but I got around that by buying a port doubler for $15 -- turns one USB-C port into two.
- Identical on both G2 and G3, but the one I have for the G2 is brand-new, while the one I have for the G3 is battered-looking.
In a surprise to me, HP's tablet keyboard is mildly better to type on than the one with my Dell laptop. The HP ones do have those crazy keys dedicated to Skype that take away the Insert key.
- G2 easy-access
- G3 hidden, hard to press
HP really goofed when they moved the X2's power switch from the side to the top in a V-shape groove. I find it really hard to (a) find the button; (b) press it to turn on the computer and (c) tell if the computer has been turned on.
- G2 runs Windows 10, cannot be upgrade to Windows 11
- G3 runs Windows 11
The more I try Windows 11, the more I dislike it. I am content to stay on Windows 10 until Microsoft gets its act together.
In the end, I realized that I prefer the G2 model because...
- Brand-new looking keyboard (vs beat-up looking one)
- Faster base CPU speed
- USB-A port built-in
- Sensible power switch
- Runs familiar Windows 10
And I prefer the HP X2 G2 over the Dell Latitude because of that certain je ne sais quoi. Also, because the HP has the taller 3:2-aspect screen, which makes the Dell's 16:9 screen feel scrunched down.