Marketed as an all-in-one entertainment, work, and day-to-day tablet screen-equipped laptop, HP packs a vast array of capabilities into its new ultraportable HP tx1000 notebook. The tx1000 features a black, high-gloss case and silver inlaid finish to show that style and functionality can both be brought together in an ultraportable notebook. Equipped with Microsoft Vista Home Premium as the operating system, the tx1000 delivers an assortment of functionality for both play and productivity that rivals any other ultraportable on the market. As we take a close look at the HP tx1000, we’ll find out how well HP has implemented this array of multimedia features and whether all of these nifty features justify the price tag.
Features and Design
The design of the HP tx1000 is meant to fuse together sleek styling and ease-of-use features, along with a tablet-enabled screen and enough horsepower to run multiple applications under Windows Vista Home Premium edition – definitely no small task. For an entertainment notebook that will be used for so many different types of activities – taking handwritten notes, watching DVDs, listening to music, web conferencing with both audio and video, playing games, and all other general productivity tasks – the physical characteristics of the notebook become extremely important. Fortunately, the tx1000 product designers did a thorough job envisioning all of these types of activities when planning the physical layout of the notebook.
The most notable physical feature of the notebook is the convertible screen that rotates a full 180 degrees and then folds flat to operate in tablet mode. With the extended length of the six-cell battery on the bottom of the laptop, it is easy to hold the entire machine with one hand while using the other hand to take notes. Switching back to normal PC mode is as simple as rotating the screen back around 180 degrees to the standard laptop viewing position. For left-handers, there is a button just below the display screen that changes the screen orientation (which is a nice touch – they won’t have to change any software settings in order to use the tablet functionality).
In addition to the screen orientation button, there are additional control buttons surrounding the screen for DVD/CD playback and opening the Vista Mobility Center. The keyboard layout provides enough space for a full-sized keyboard, although I was annoyed by the half-sized shift key on the right side of the keyboard. The keypad provides a bit less tactile feedback than I am accustomed to, but it provides overall good response and never faltered during testing. The touchpad incorporates an interesting design concept that departs from the typical manufacturer approach to touchpad design. Dozens of depressed dots, which are again imprinted into the case materials, form the touchpad area. A slim set of the same depressed dots form the scroll control area directly to the right of the touchpad area.
Both the interior and exterior finish of the laptop is imprinted with a swirling, wave-like pattern that gives the laptop a more friendly look than the typical all-black or all-steel colored industrial-looking laptop. The swirl design is a resin actually built into the case material so that it does not fade or collect any dust from the external environment, which is a nice assurance that the laptop will continue to look new and not show its age for a long time after the first use.
The tx1000 includes dual headphone jacks and the standard assortment of USB 2.0, network, media card, ExpressCard, and VGA / S-Video output connections. It also includes a small remote control that can be used for media functions, such as playing DVDs and controlling the volume. Thankfully, all of these design features and the tablet screen do not add to the weight of the laptop. The dimensions of 1.5” H x 12” W x 8.75” D and weight of 4.2 lbs. with 4-cell battery, or 5 lbs. with 6-cell battery, make the tx1000 light enough to be classified as an ultraportable.
Features and Specifications :
• AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 (2.0GHz with 512KB cache)
• 2048MB DDR2 SDRAM (2x1GB)
• 12.1 WXGA Brightview Widescreen Display with Integrated Touch-screen
• 160GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
• LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
• Windows® Vista Home Premium Edition
• 6-cell Lithium-ion Battery with Additional 4-cell Battery
• nVidia GeForce Go 6150 with Shared Graphics Memory
• 5-in-1 Media Card Reader
• 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
• Fingerprint Reader
• HP Mini Remote Control
• Integrated Audio and Altec Lansing Stereo Speakers, Dual Headphone Jacks, Microphone Jack
• Integrated 802.11a/b/g WLAN & Bluetooth
• Integrated 10/100 Ethernet Adapter
The tx1000 offers a minimal number of configuration options. At the time of publishing, the base price of the tx1000 is $1099, and listed upgrade options include a faster AMD Turion X2 CPU, RAM of up to 2GB, and a hard drive of up to 200GB (as well as a number of typical software and accessory upgrades). One of the notable exceptions in the tx1000 configuration options is the inability to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card. The NVidia GeForce Go 6150 graphics chip is fine for most day-to-day tasks and handles all of the new Vista graphical features, but the lack of a more powerful graphics card rules out using this laptop for any gaming or heavy-duty video-editing tasks.
Image Courtesy of HP
Testing and Use
The performance evaluation of the HP tx1000 was completed over a 30-day time period. All of the typical tasks you would perform with this type of notebook – watching DVDs, surfing the web, listening to music, writing handwritten notes, word processing, playing games, burning CDs, etc. – were undertaken in order to put the tx1000 through the paces to see how well it would perform as an all-in-one laptop.
True to its intended use, the tx1000 easily handles running multiple entertainment programs – as well as the typical web browser, spreadsheet, and other basic applications – without even the smallest hiccup. The AMD Turion X2, as well as the memory and graphics subsystems, provide enough horsepower to smoothly play DVD movies while background tasks continue without interruption. Using the included “Muvee” software to capture video clips and images from the 1.3-megapixel webcam was a snap, even while running multiple applications in the background. The capabilities of the tx1000 are nearly limitless with the suite of application software available on the market today, and you will be hard pressed to find ways to stress the limits of the tx1000.
Graphics Performance and Display Quality
The tablet PC touchscreen display of the tx1000 provides a whole new set of possibilities over a typical laptop, but it does sacrifice some of the image quality that is typically found in high-end laptop displays. The image quality of the tx1000 when viewing DVD movies and other high-quality video is crisp and clear, but the color saturation and depth of color is not as vibrant as other high-end models and occasionally appears washed out. In above normal lighting conditions, the display also suffers excessive glare. Viewing angles while watching DVD movies, on the other hand, were very good, and no loss of color or detail could be found at viewing angles of up to 40 degrees off center. The 12.1-inch screen lacks the real estate for any serious business use, as extended periods of typing and reading can be a bit eye-straining with the native 1280 x 800 screen resolution.
The NVidia Go 6150 processor shares the 128MB of video memory with the main memory subsystem, which limits the video capabilities of the notebook. The tx1000 has no trouble displaying DVD movies and other high-quality video clips, but it just doesn’t have enough power to run any of the current generation 3D games at acceptable resolutions. In the Vista Windows Experience Index, the graphics component scored the lowest with a 3.0 rating, and thus the overall rating in the Windows Experience Index is 3.0.
The tablet functionality of the tx1000 promises to be either one of the best features of the laptop, or one of the most frustrating. Unlike most other tablet laptops on the market, the tx1000 uses a touch screen, not an active stylus screen. This means that you can use any stylus, pen or other pointed object to input commands and text on the screen. This is very handy in case you misplace your stylus, but the touch screen is not as responsive as an active stylus screen. I found that the only way for my handwriting to be recognized was to use slow, consistent pen strokes and to make sure that the point of the stylus never lost contact with the screen during the pen stroke. It takes quite a while to get used to, and my writing speed was much slower than if I had been using a pen and paper to take notes. If you can get the hang of the tablet writing on the touch screen, you will most likely love the way you can take handwritten notes wherever you go. My natural handwriting style was not a good fit for the tablet, however, and the results were disappointing.
Image Courtesy of HP
Testing the battery drain time of the tx1000 showed that the six-cell battery provides average battery life. Paying the extra money for a spare 4-cell battery is certainly a good idea if you want to watch a movie and then do some web surfing before having to stop for a recharge.
• DVD playback with the display brightness turned up all the way, wireless and Bluetooth enabled: 2 hours 30 minutes
• DVD playback with the display turned to 25%, wireless and Bluetooth disabled: 3 hours 20 minutes
• General use with display turned to 50% and wireless and Bluetooth enabled: 3 hours 30 minutes
Heat and Noise
The tx1000 has two small exhaust vents in the rear corner that do a good job of keeping heat away from you while using the laptop. The internal fans spin up quickly during heavy use, and the added noise is distracting if you are in a quiet room watching a movie. During normal use in a kitchen, bedroom, or living room with typical household noises, the additional fan noise is not a distraction.
Fingerprint Reader, Webcam, and Sound Quality
The integrated Realtek audio and integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers provide acceptable sound quality for most games, movies, and applications. The sound suffers from lack of bass and less than stellar mid-range vocals, but provides enough clarity and volume for general use. The two speakers are attached to the display and rotate with the screen, which is a nice touch to help direct the sound toward you whenever the screen is rotated. Another nice touch is the dual headphone jacks, which allows two people to both watch and listen to a movie without having to share ear buds.
The integrated webcam is a handy feature that allows you to do video-conferencing or capture still images without having to attach an external device. The resulting video clips and images from the webcam were clear and accurately colored. As with any webcam, low lighting conditions cause problems and result in low-quality images.
The fingerprint reader works well and is useful for logging onto the computer and websites without having to remember multiple passwords. The fingerprint scanning software took a bit more time to complete than I would have liked, as it requires fingerprints from multiple fingers on each hand and running your finger across the scanner too quickly results in an invalid scan. Also, in most instances the fingerprint scan takes more than one attempt before it successfully recognizes you, so it isn’t always faster than just typing in a user name and password when you are logging into a website.
Image Courtesy of HP
The HP Pavilion tx1000 is a stylish, solid-performing, multimedia laptop with a competitive price tag. It packs a lot of capabilities and features into a small 5 lb. package. The design is top-notch, and all of the included features add up to a very useful all-in-one machine. The average battery life, disappointing tablet functionality, and occasional washed-out coloring from the display keep the tx1000 from earning top honors in the ultraportable notebook category. In summary, it has a lot of plus points that make it an attractive notebook worthy of consideration if you are in the market for an ultraportable tablet machine.
• Impressive application and multimedia performance
• Nice styling and finish quality
• Good attention to detail
• Frustrating tablet screen
• So-so battery life
• Occasional display glare and discoloration