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Surface Pro 6 vs. HP ENVY x2 (Qualcomm): Which should you buy?

The Qualcomm-based ENVY x2 (there's also an Intel version that's not nearly as impressive) is a fine device for anyone who needs LTE connectivity and a lightweight computing experience. The Pro 6, which was the inspiration for the ENVY x2's design, has some perks — including better performance, higher-res display — which also makes it attractive. Let's compare the two to help you figure out which is best for you.

Surface Pro 6 vs. HP ENVY x2 (Qualcomm) tech specs

Surface Pro 6HP ENVY x2 (Qualcomm)
Processor8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel Core i7-8650U
Qualcomm
Snapdragon 835
RAM8, 16 GB4 GB
StorageSolid-state drive
128, 256, 512 GB
1 TB
Universal Flash Storage (UFS)
128GB
Display size12.3 inches
Touch
12.3 inches
Touch
Display resolution2,736 x 1,824
3:2 aspect ratio
1,920 x 1,280
3:2 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620Qualcomm Adreno 540
PortsUSB-A 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
3.5 mm audio
Surface Connect
MicroSD card reader
USB-C 3.1
microSD card reader
3.5 mm audio
SIM
LTENoYes
BiometricsIR camera for Windows HelloIR camera for Windows Hello
BatteryUp to 13.5 hoursUp to 19 hours
Dimensions11.5 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.33 inches
(292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)
11.53 inches x 8.28 inches x 0.27 inches
(292.86 mm x 210.31 mm x 6.86 mm)
WeightFrom 1.71 pounds (775 g)From 1.54 pounds (698.5 g)

Design and features

The Surface Pro 6 and Qualcomm-based HP ENVY x2 are both fine devices when it comes to build quality and design. They're both able to easily fit under your arm or in a laptop bag, but know that the ENVY x2 is slightly lighter and thinner than the Pro 6. In his review, Windows Central Executive Editor Daniel Rubino called the ENVY x2 "perfect hardware," noting precision machining on the metal, unibody design. Though heavier and thicker, the Pro 6 is still a premium device with a design that's been refined over the years (and from which the ENVY x2 no doubt took some design cues).

The ENVY x2 doesn't have a kickstand built into the tablet like the Pro 6, but instead relies on a cover folio for a kickstand. It still extends out from the middle of the back of the device, allowing for plenty of angles (unlike the Intel-based ENVY x2), but for a complete package, the Pro 6 is where it's at. The built-in kickstand can be used without a keyboard or cover attached giving you more versatility.

Surface Pro 6 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The included keyboard and folio cover for the ENVY x2 offers an excellent typing experience with a large touchpad using Precision drivers. Key travel is great, and there's a backlight for working in the later hours. The Pro 6's Type Cover, which is sold separately, will also get the job done, plus there's the option to have an Alcantara finish for a bit of extra comfort. You get Precision drivers for the Type Cover touchpad, and typing all day shouldn't be an issue here either.

Above the display on both tablets is an IR camera for quick logins through Windows Hello, and both have a rear-facing camera as well. Here the ENVY x2's 13 MP camera beats out the Surface with its 8MP camera. As for ports, you can get USB-C, a microSD card reader, and a SIM slot with the ENVY x2, while the Pro 6 is still stuck with USB-A, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, and a microSD card reader. LTE support might come to the Pro 6 eventually, but for now, you'll have to go with the ENVY x2 if you want to stay connected wherever there's cellular data available.

Display

The Pro 6 and ENVY x2 both have 12.3-inch touch displays with 3:2 aspect ratio for a boxier look that translates well to the tablet experience. There's enough bezel on both to get a good grip without accidentally hitting the touch portion of the screen, and both devices work with active pens. The ENVY x2 includes an HP pen with the price, and its N-Trig technology also works with other pens, like the Bamboo Ink or latest Surface Pen. The HP pen seems to hit about 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity for a great experience, but the Surface Pen (sold separately), with its 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity will make a better choice for anyone interested in creation and design.

Both displays offer excellent color reproduction, plenty of brightness, and great contrast, but the Pro 6's higher resolution is just going to look better when compared side-by-side to the ENVY x2. For general use, either display will be up to the job, though for specialized tasks the Pro 6 makes more sense (especially when you factor in the extra performance hardware available).

Performance

The ENVY x2 is a mobile, always-connected PC that keeps things light inside and out. It's using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU — the same type often found in smartphones — and has 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of UFS storage. These aren't particularly exciting specs, but they do allow for about 16 hours of battery life, no fan, and a super-slim build. The Snapdragon CPU performs close to an Intel Core i3 or m3, so don't expect any heavy lifting, but it can handle a light day of productivity tasks. This tablet is meant to be used on the go, so sitting down for some heavy video editing or gaming doesn't make much sense for most people anyway.

With 8th Gen Intel Core U-series CPUs, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB SSD on offer, the Pro 6 is much better suited to a variety of tasks. You won't get as good of battery life, but you'll be able to get into specialized work and even a bit of gaming with much better performance across the board. If it's more of a PC that can turn into a tablet you're looking for, the Pro 6 is likely the better choice for you.

Go with the Surface Pro 6 for superior performance

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 offers better versatility than the ENVY x2 thanks to faster hardware, more configuration options, and a superior inking experience. If you want a PC that can turn into a tablet, this is it. It does cost more, however, for a complete package, and anyone who's looking for an always-connected tablet they can carry around all day for light tasks will no doubt want to check out the ENVY x2 instead.

HP's ENVY x2 is perfect for anyone on the go

The bottom line here is that the ENVY x2 offers up an outstanding tablet experience, especially for those who need internet access at all times, but it has a narrow audience. If you don't need LTE connectivity, you can get a much more versatile PC out of the Pro 6 thanks to speedier hardware and a 2-in-1 design that's nevertheless quite mobile despite not yet having LTE capabilities.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.