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The HP Pro x2 612 G2 Hardware Earns Its “Pro” Title

When you look at the HP Pro x2 612 G2 tablet PC, you see a sleek compact convertible, akin to a Surface Pro, or an iPad Pro. While these mainstream “Pro” devices talk the talk, it takes an HP to walk the walk. A real pro has to keep their tools sharp, oiled, and well maintained—so to speak. Unfortunately, the Surface and the iPad are not meant to be abused or even opened. Not so with the HP Pro.

First noteworthy feature: this tablet has a full set of repair manuals available online for free, to anyone. Most other devices these days seem to operate under the 2001 Monolith principle: look imposing, be inscrutable, defy examination. Without guides, a user has to hack through uncharted territory just to replace a loose USB port or the swiftly draining battery—risking harm to self and gadget. HP, on the other hand, has provided a complete, well documented set of disassembly instructions. The intention here is clearly longevity.

Now let’s get to the hardware: even without dongles or popping the hood, this tablet has gads of ports and storage options. This allows for storage expansion and increased functionality, which usually equates to a longer life.

This tablet is already aPEELing.

The seemingly seamless rear cover peels off with a snap, immediately granting us access to the SSD and Wi-Fi board—as well as other components like the kickstand, NFC antenna, and main camera. We would have liked to have full access to the battery at this point, like we saw in HP’s Elite x2 1012 G1, but whipping that sucker out will have to wait a bit. On the plus side, you are able to safely disconnect the battery through the midframe before moving on—meaning repairers will be less likely to short out their tablets in the course of a repair

The next component out is actually the display, easily popped out of the midframe. Here’s the best part: there wasn’t a single iota of adhesive. Two cables link the two the display and midframe, but sufficient slack allows for basically foolproof removal. That’s good news for screen repairs—which are the most common repair on any portable.

Cables like these are when we appreciate slackers.

Once the display is dispatched, the battery can easily be removed for replacement. Batteries are the inevitable repair; the chemistry eventually wears down, necessitating replacement. The battery’s placement under the display, and on the back of the midframe isn’t ideal—but requires no specialized tools (only Phillips and Torx drivers) and not too much digging. And most importantly, you don’t have to dig through gobs of adhesive to remove the battery—a rarity in the Pro tablet world.

Here’s where things start to get a little tricky. Removing any other components pretty much requires a flip flop dance between the front and back of the midframe.

Disconnecting antennas on the rear of the Pro x2.

Case in point, these antennas need to be disconnected to free the motherboard on the other side of this frame.

The modularity of the tablet is to be commended, but the complexity is a bit bewildering. Luckily the manual takes most of the guesswork out of the operations, but I’m still not looking forward to rethreading the antenna/speaker/motherboard/midframe during reassembly. Annoyingly, the speakers and motherboard are also home to some of the antennas, which are mounted with copper tape that appears to be integral to signal handling. The manual actually contains a note warning you to keep the crease in these copper bits to maintain “maximum antenna performance.” Removing these without tweaking them seems pretty unlikely, although technically this is an “authorized service provider part” so maybe you’re not “allowed” anyway.

Despite all the fiddly modular bits (separate boards for Hall effect sensor, fingerprint sensor, microphones, etc), the ports themselves (minus smart card reader) are soldered to the motherboard. These high-wear components are likely to fail as the device gets used, and their replacement will require a pricey motherboard replacement at worst, or a complex soldering job at best. These ports are nicely reinforced with brackets, but that won’t help when your niece breaks her headphones off in this thing.

All in all, we were heartily impressed that a tablet can still be sleek and intentionally repairable. So congrats to the HP Pro x2 612 G2 for earning a very commendable 9 out of 10 on our Repairability Scale (10 is best). Here’s a breakdown:

+ All screws are standard T5 Torx, Phillips #1, or Phillips #0.

+ Manufacturer provided repair documentation takes the guesswork out of repair.

+/- The device is fairly modular, but complex construction makes common repairs more difficult than they should be.

+/- The flash storage is a standard M.2 card and can be easily upgraded or replaced, but the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, not uncommon for mobile devices.

+/- The display and digitizer are fused, simplifying repair but increasing the cost of an LCD or front glass replacement.