Is the HP ENVY x2 good for gaming?
Intel best for gaming on the HP ENVY x2?
The HP ENVY x2 can be configured for Windows 10 S with an ARM processor, or Windows 10 with an Intel Core i5. On paper, you'd think it should be capable of running some games with the settings turned down low, and while this is certainly true, you can't just jump right into it. This device simply wasn't designed for gaming.
There are two processors that can power the HP ENVY x2 and while both offer some kind of graphics processing for Windows and any installed apps, you won't want to do much gaming here. I'll start with the Intel-powered version, which comes rocking a Core i5-7Y54 (7th Gen). That's an i5 CPU, sure, but it's a low-powered processor, drawing just 4.5 watts.
This low-power CPU coupled with Intel HD Graphics 615 doesn't make for a powerful gaming rig, obviously, and it's not the integrated GPU that's the issue here either. The HD Graphics 615 can play a bunch of games competently when matched with an equally capable processor. The i5-7Y54 falls short.
Because of the ENVY x2 design, HP opted for this Intel processor since it doesn't require any form of active cooling, namely a spinning fan. This means the processor is passively cooled and when put under some form of stress it will get hot and we found the system to throttle the available headroom to keep everything within acceptable levels.
How about the Snapdragon 835 for gaming?
The Snapdragon 835 (with Adreno 540 integrated graphics) is a little different where it certainly gets hot, but simply doesn't offer the performance required by games you'd likely want to play in the first place. This is the same CPU used in mobile devices so you shouldn't expect to do any intense stuff on the x2.
You'll be good with some Windows Store games, but anything more than that will be a challenge. Still, you may enjoy a smoother experience in games than the Intel version of this tablet, so be sure to check the ARM model if you are dead set on picking up the HP ENVY x2.
Surface Pro has enough power for a better gaming experience while on the go.
Instead of rocking an ARM or low-power Intel CPU, the Surface Pro comes rocking more advanced internals and sports active cooling to keep everything under the safe operating temperature limit. Sure, you won't be able to max out Forza on the tablet, but you can enjoy some serious downtime without spending a fortune on a gaming laptop.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.