I used to take a tablet with me. Everywhere. But every once in a while, I’d still have to whip out my laptop to get serious. The ENVY x2 does more than just double as both, it’s funky and functional. So, I decided to share with you what I’m doing with the ENVY x2 and give you a realistic breakdown of what you can actually pull off.
Memory Cards: The Only Peripheral You’ll Need The only thing you might want to consider getting with your new x2: a couple high-capacity, high-speed MicroSD cards. I picked up a couple 32GB cards cheap. I plugged one directly into the slot in the screen….and the other goes into the SD card slot in the base. When more memory becomes cheaper, I’ll probably upgrade these. For now, though, I’ve essentially upgraded this 64GB device into a 128GB device for 40 bucks. On that end, I use the MicroSD card plugged into the tablet half for stashing music and videos. The card slot in keyboard base? I use that for some emulators….but I’ll get to that in a minute.
The Win 8 Apps It’s a Windows 8 device, so of course, you’ve got access to the Windows 8 App store. The Apps that I have set up on mine, so far? I’m glad you asked!
Social-like: MetroTwit; Skype; The “People” and “Messaging” apps in Windows 8. The later two tie into Facebook and other social sites….and I’m still experimenting with others.
News: TechCrunch, CNET, Appygeek, The New York Times, News Bento, USA Today
Misc. Reading: Kindle and Comixology
Media: Hulu Plus, Netflix, ABC Player, Music Maker Jam for HP, Xbox Smartglass
Free Games: Guns 4 Hire and Zen Pinball FX2 (“Mars” table is free, others bought separately) *One note: I love Pinball FX2 – LOVE IT – but there currently is no offline mode. It means that you need to have a net connection to play tables you already paid for. The developer is working on it.
Paid Games: Draw a Stickman EPIC, Reckless Racing, Hydro Thunder Hurricane (yes, the Xbox 360 game), Game Developer Tycoon, The Gunstringer: Dead Man Running, Ultraviolet Dawn…. (And I’m REALLY looking forward to checking out Skulls of the Shogun when it comes out this week.)
Photo work: Fhotoroom, Fresh Paint, HP Scan and Capture (the later is a quick-n-dirty capture app that works great with the x2’s touch screen and makes it really easy to control your scanner.)
Food Apps: Whether I’m cooking (iFood.tv, HP Recipe Box, Everyday Cooking) or I’m too lazy to cook (UrbanSpoon), I’m covered.
Obviously, there are more apps to explore. If there are some go-tos that you use, lemme know!
Other “Apps” Then, of course, the other benefit of having a full-fledged version of Win 8 is that you’re not limited to what’s available in the app store. You can install….the full version of Office, Steam…a couple games (within reason)….and other stuff. One big thing to keep in mind: You're working with a 32-bit version of Windows 8. Make sure you download the right version of software. Here are the other apps that I have plugged in on an ENVY x2:
Media: iTunes, VLC (a free video player)
PlayLater: I love this app so much, I have to break out its own category. Here’s the deal….Think of it as a way to LEGALLY record video content from Netflix, Hulu and more online sources so that you can watch it….you guessed it….later. The idea of online content that I can take with me offline is HUGE for when I'm not in WiFi range. And the video quality is smooth / runs great on the ENVY x2.
Productivity: Office, Norton Internet Security
MORE GAMES! Obviously, you can’t play the likes of a Far Cry 3 on this system because the Atom processor’s integrated graphics an only handle so much. THAT SAID, you can still get some fun out of this if you play your cards right. Here’s what I installed on my ENVY x2 via Steam:
FTL: Faster than Light
Pineapple Smash Crew
Retro City Rampage
*These titles are relatively low-demand, highly-entertaining titles…..and a bit retro, which suits me just fine.*
And then there’s the emulators. You listening, my Retro-gaming buddies? In that card slot parked in the keyboard base, I’ve got a 32GB card loaded with MAME (arcade game emulation) and SCUMMVM (graphic adventure emulator). I'd recommend you grab both.
Well, that’s how I’ve suited up my ENVY x2 for now. How about yours?