We were lucky enough to get some of the first HP Revolve 810 Ultrabooks to arrive in Australia. I have been for some time an enormous fan of Windows 8. I’ve been runinng it on my 8470 since just prior to the general release and have enjoyed the experience. Running a surface at the same time I was conscious that I was not getting the whole experience on may laptop as there was no touch interface.
While there have been some strange marketing decisions at Microsoft such as the removal of the Start button and the insistence on trying to compete directly with the ipad through the Surface RT, the base platform is stable and fast and builds on Windows 7 quite effectively. In our eagerness to integrate Windows 8 into our environment we made the mistake of utilising an Envy X2 as an interim step for our MD. The product wasn’t very well received and a number of issues came out of trying to run Windows 8 Pro on a device that was only ever designed to be an ‘arm chair laptop.’
So with the Envy experience in mind I was reluctant in deploying another beta product to the Managing director and decided I would spend a week with the device prior to considering a further roll-out. On receiving the HP I was immediately impressed with the excellent set up and system integration, the OS integration is top notch and just works well with the device. The build quality is excellent and the end platform is very light and attractive. While not as light as the Surface or the iPad, the device certainly competes with the other Ultrabook offerings on the market. I was slightly surprised though to find that the ‘revolve’ mechanism only turns one way. I can see a few of these being returned in the future by an over zealous user mistaking their left and their right.
The Gen 3 i7 processor is fast and responsive. It comes paired with the SSD and the 8Gb of RAM in the top of the line model we are running. Out of the box it’s a machine that is performing at our production standards. The weakest link is the display adapter which is an integrated job. This drops the Windows Experience Index down to 5.3 for desktop graphics which is about 1.0 below everything else. The latest driver update got me up to 5.4 & I guess you cant really expect a top notch Radeon/ATI in something this thin. That said I’m running it with 3 screens with 2 at 1920×1200 and the laptop at 1366×768, so its getting there and its not like it needs to play Call Of Duty, but I can see how it will struggle.
I have seen a couple weird things with the OS behaviour when docked, the screen stops auto orienting when the dock is repositioned (this may be a multi-monitor thing in Windows 8) and if the laptop is set as the primary screen it starts launching the browsers as the tablet version rather than the desktop version (I can’t really explain why this occurs and while @microsofthelps are quite helpful there is limited information available on multi-monitor set ups.) In the context of the picture it means I use the large monitor as the primary (i..e where the task bar icons live) and the tablet screen as the start menu (adjusted using WIN + PGUp & PGDown) this means I can use my finger to launch programs from the start menu which is a gymick & not quite as cool as minority report but getting there. It would be great if the Start menu could be left open on the touch screen as a permanent launch pad, but it seems this is not in the current Windows 8 design. Ideally this should be paired with some ability to ‘flick’ open program windows between screens. While you can drag windows apps between screens with your mouse, flicking them with your finger tends to just dock them into a smaller view on the tablet screen. More a Windows 8 problem than a HP one.
The biggest concern I found was that the Revolve runs very hot, probably because of the i7 processor. With great power comes great responsibility, or great heat syncs…. I couldn’t see myself using it as an ipad/surface replacement as I cant work with the thing on my knee without blistering myself, but as an armchair device, to read email at home its quite usable. Thinking back to the first half of 2011 where I spent my life on aeroplanes around the country, this would have been a God send. Theres also a built in sim card slot if you swing that way with your data plans. To be honest as much as I try and avoid giving people a separate data plan (thats what Hotspots are for) there are times when it is tremendously useful.
I had some early experience with USB randomly sleeping on the dock, which stops the mouse and keyboard. A redock fixed this, I’m not exactly sure what it was and it hasn’t represented, so Im thinking it might have been fixed with an update (there are a lot of updates out there for both Windows and the on-board drivers)
It’s not quite the lightest Ultrabook I’ve seen and probably about the same as the Envy X2, but compared to my dear old 8470, or even the new HP 9470 its phenomenal, and I actually don’t notice it in my laptop bag. I know that will change in a week, but its surprising what a difference 1KG makes.
The Keyboard is as per the 9470 & really nice to work on. I actually prefer it better to the 8470’s. I’m not a highly mobile user anymore, but its nice to know that if youre caught on the road you can be productive and respond intelligently to an email
The screen res is a bit low at 1366×768, but that’s a compromise for the size. As per the picture using the touch screen as a start menu interface means that you can quickly slide the screen around and launch an app to a main window which is great.
The Dock (which is common with the 9470 to assist with compatability) has the limitation of a Displayport and a VGA. Who the H@ll still uses VGA…. They could have at least fit a DVI port on there to be useful. My
monitors have a displayport which is the new standard but honestly its too smart for itself. Mostly we run Displayport->HDMI which I think might address some of the attempts to try and figure which monitor is active all the time (this is a gripe about display port and active-display port monitors not the HP) but the VGA port is a pest especially if you’re running a 1080p or above screen resolution (I’m amazed that the VGA cable even thinks about doing 1920×1200, but it is giving it a go) Still that issues common to the 9470 and will continue until HP start shipping the dual displayport dock to Australia.
We have 2 more in stock one for the MD and one for his assistant. After a week with the device I have no issues in pushing it across and believe this will address a number of the issues they are currently ha
ving running Windows 8 on devices that aren’t really designed for them
I have used the 8360-8470 exclusively over the last 3 years here because of the reliability and I am quite happy that the build quality on this is at a standard we can accept into production & the addition of the touch screen really makes Windows 8 start to make sense.
All in all a solid effort from HP that lifts the standard on the converged device. I would give the product 8.5/10 with the main points lost being around the graphics adapter and the heat.