hp elite x2 desk

HP’s Elite x2 could be the right Surface clone at the right time. On Monday, Microsoft’s Panos Panay crushed our dreams (and those of many others, no doubt) when he said there’d be no Surface Pro 5 in the near future to replace the rapidly aging Surface Pro 4. C’mon, Microsoft, it’s been 18 months—only Apple can string its users along for years!

Enter HP’s Elite x2 1012 G2. Announced Wednesday, it’ll ship in July with a starting price of $1,099. Read on to see how it offers all the updated parts we’d love to have in the Surface Pro 4, let alone the mythical Surface Pro 5.

Why this matters: HP’s Elite x2 is filling a void. Microsoft’s Surface products are supposed to be flagship, aspirational devices that lead the entire PC industry into a brighter and more innovative future. By definition, a flagship shouldn’t look too dusty. If Microsoft’s not moving on the Surface Pro 4, that gives a company like HP an opportunity to step in and offer something fresher.

Kaby Lake, please

Just going by the specs released at announcement, HP’s Elite x2 1012 G2 jumps ahead of the Surface Pro 4 in several key ways. Our number-one gripe about the Surface Pro 4 is its 6th-generation Skylake complement of CPUs. Granted, Kaby Lake’s an incremental improvement over Skylake, but its advances in performance and battery life are good-to-haves in any portable PC.

HP’s Elite x2 offers four Kaby Lake options:

Core i3 7100U with Intel HD Graphics 620 (2.4GHz, 3MB cache, 2 cores)

Core i5-7200U with Intel HD Graphics 620 (2.5GHz-3.1GHz, 3MB cache, 2 cores)

Core i5-7300U with Intel HD Graphics 620 (2.6GHz-3.5GHz, 3MB cache, 2 cores)

Core i7-7600U with Intel HD Graphics 620 (2.8GHz-3.9GHz, 4MB cache, 2 cores)

The Elite x2 will offer a maximum of 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage, compared to 16GB and 256GB for the Surface Pro 4. The base $1,099 Elite x2 in the United States will have the Core i3 CPU, 4GB of LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM, and 128GB M.2 SATA SSD.