I drive a Honda CR-V, which is effectively a Honda Civic in a different body. I also regularly drive my Honda CR-V up a steep, poorly maintained mountain road. And even though a Honda Civic might make it up that mountain road, I would never drive one up it. Why because, the Honda CR-V in its more SUV-like form factor of the Honda Civic works for me and my need to drive that mountain road.

Like with my choice in car, our recent report, “On the Go or at a Desk: The Best Device for User’s Needs,” shows that device choice is sometimes more about form factor. In this report, we look at an HP EliteBook 840 G3 laptop, powered by an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, and an HP Elite x2 1012 G1 2-in-1 device, powered by an Intel Core m5-6Y54 processor. We started out to look at performance and discovered that they’re both solid performers and what really sets one apart from the other is the form factors the processors come in.

Solid Performance Is on the Inside

We knew going into our testing that Intel Core M processors are basically mobile-optimized versions of their Intel Core i5 processor counterparts. (Read more in our previous post, “How Much Difference Does the Core Make.”) The Intel Core M processor supports fan-less operation and delivers long battery life. In the case of the HP Elite x2 1012 G1, with its Intel Core m5-6Y54 processor, the Core M processor is in a sleek, fan-less, mobile-friendly 2-in-1 device. The HP EliteBook 840 G3 on the other hand, with its Intel Core i5-6200U processor, is a full laptop, with built-in Ethernet connectivity, and more ports. Its Core i processor is reported to offer extra power for compute-intensive needs.

To differentiate the two devices, we put them through a series of tasks that simulated those that real-world users perform to do their jobs every day. We found that both of the underlying processors, regardless of the form factors that they sit in, are solid performers and deliver near identical performance for many tasks including:

  • Editing Microsoft Word documents
  • Browsing the Internet and downloading documents and images
  • Making basic edits to images in Microsoft Paint

However, the HP EliteBook 840 G3, with the Intel Core i5 processor, outshone the HP Elite x2 1012 G1, with the Intel Core M processor, on more CPU-intensive tasks, such as:

  • Editing images in Adobe Photoshop
  • Encoding video files

User Preference Is in the Package

The packages the two devices come in is where which device is right for all but users doing compute-intensive tasks comes in to play. Both devices support mobility, although the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 is the optimal device for true road warriors, with the HP EliteBook 840 G3 is more suited to users who occasionally work from conference rooms or cafés. The bottom line on these two devices is:

  • Users who are mostly mobile will be happiest and most productive with the lighter-weight mobile form factor of the HP Elite x2 1012 G1, which can be used as either a tablet or a notebook, and which supports touch and even includes a stylus-like pen.
  • Users who work primarily from theirs desks and who need added compute capabilities and the power of an Ethernet connection and peripheral devices will be more productive with an HP EliteBook 840 G3. These users will appreciate the portability of this device for occasional work away from their desks, in addition to the wider keyboard makes typing faster and more error-free.
  • Users doing compute-intensive tasks will want the HP EliteBook 840 G3’s added compute power.

Learn More About the Right Device Form Factor for Your Users

You can find the details on our results, a look at the specs of the two systems side-by-side, and our recommendations for which device is ideally suited for which type of user in the full report, “On the Go or at a Desk: The Best Device for User’s Needs.”

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