HP Envy x2 vs. Microsoft Surface Go: Which should you buy?

eMMC vs. SSD storage: What's the difference?
eMMC vs. SSD storage: What's the difference?

When you need something that has everything in one package, including the ability to upgrade to normal Windows and install all the software you want, go with the Surface. The HP Envy x2 is best for LTE connectivity and when you don't need to use any apps that aren't available in the Microsoft Store.

Envy is great on the Surface

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface GoHP Envy x2
ProcessorIntel Pentium Gold 4415YSnapdragon 365Intel Core i5-7Y54
Storage64GB eMMC128GB SSD128GB, 256GB UFS (ARM)12GB M.2 SSD (Intel)
Display size10-inchTouch12.3-inchTouch
Display resolution1800 x 12003:2 aspect ratio1920 x 128016.9 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615Adreno 540Intel HD Graphics 615
PortsUSB-C 3.1microSD3.5mm jackSurface ConnectTwo USB-C 3.1microSD3.5mm jackSIM tray
LTERow 7 - Cell 1
BiometricsIR cameraIR camera
Dimensions9.6 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches245 x 175 x 8.3mm11.54 x 8.28 x 0.31 inches293.1 x 210.3 x 7.9mm
WeightTablet: 1.15lbs (0.52kg)With keyboard: 1.7lbs (0.77kg)Tablet: 1.57lbs (0.71kg)With keyboard: 2.67lbs (1.21kg)

Battle of design

Both the Surface Go and HP Envy x2 look stunning. HP has matched Microsoft's Surface design and then some. The main difference between the two is the weight, with the Surface Go being almost a full pound lighter. That doesn't seem much on paper, but when you're holding a tablet for an hour or so, it makes all the difference.

That said, the HP Envy x2 isn't heavy by any means. Both have kickstands, and while the Surface Go has its stand integrated into the chassis itself, you need to have the keyboard cover attached to the HP Envy x2 in order to have it sit up for media consumption. Both devices have a webcam with support for Windows Hello and USB for charge and hooking up compatible accessories.

If you find yourself frequently on the move without stable Wi-Fi connections, the Envy x2 is the only true option if you seek 4G LTE support — Microsoft is expected to add an LTE version of the Surface Go at some point in the future. When it comes to the keyboard, you'll need to try both in person to find out which you prefer. Just don't buy the Intel HP Envy x2 because HP managed to make the keyboard worse.

Gazing at portable internals

Surface Go

The two tablets are aimed at portable use, but they have their own strengths in this area that sets them apart. Take the HP Envy x2, which comes with an ARM processor — the same Snapdragon 835 you'd find in smartphones. There's an Intel version available with a zippy Core i5, while the Surface Go is lumbered with the Pentium Gold.

The latter isn't a slow CPU, but it doesn't offer quite the same levels of efficiency than that of the Snapdragon, nor does it yet have LTE for use outside of your network boundaries. Both tablets have great displays and solid capacity options. There's even the choice of up to 8GB of RAM, which is handy when you want to run more than a single app.

It really comes town to the price and if you need LTE. If you don't care for LTE and need to run your own software, go with the Surface Go. If you want to be always connected, the HP Envy x2 is a solid option. Just don't go with the Intel-powered Envy x2.

Windows is more fun on Surface

Microsoft's Surface line of products is meant to be a demonstration of what Windows can do and offer partners a base to work with. The Surface Go is the company's latest iteration of the affordable tablet running Windows 10 S. It's probably the most fun you'll have with Windows on the go.

Always connected with ARM

HP decided to do something different by including a Snapdragon CPU inside the new HP Envy x2. There's an Intel version available, but you'll be sacrificing a lot for the extra horsepower. The 4G LTE with the ARM processor makes for quite the portable tablet that just keeps on going after a busy day.

If you want to save some money and get more for your buck, go with the Surface.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

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.