HP TouchSmart tx2-1020ea £999
11th Mar 2009 | 10:00
Stylish, comfortable and well-equipped, but not the fastest machine
Where most Tablet PCs are primarily aimed at corporate and field workers, HP's TouchSmart tx2-1020ea is a touchscreen laptop that targets the regular consumer.
The 12.1-inch screen swivels and folds flat for tablet use. There's a stylus tucked into the corner of the chassis, so you'll be able to control the cursor and enter text directly on to the display itself, and the panel also responds to finger inputs.
With a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, the screen is sharp and easy to use when viewing documents, and it also features accurate colour reproduction. It does feature a hazy finish, however – a result of the digitised panel – which can be frustrating when working with small text.
3D performance is reasonable for a machine of this size. The ATi Radeon HD 3200 graphics card offers enough performance to edit videos and photographs with ease. You'll even be able to play some older games, although you'll have to turn down detail settings in order to achieve a decent frame rate.
Put the screen back to upright mode for use as a regular laptop and you'll find the tx2 features an outstanding keyboard, offering impressive long-term comfort. The keys are firmly attached and move with a reassuringly precise action, and they're large and easy to use. It's quite an achievement, considering the small size of the chassis.
That's not to say the interface is perfect, however, as while the touchpad is also large and responsive, we found the accompanying mouse buttons far too small for comfortable use.
Build quality is impressive, and the distinctive patterned plastics proved robust. It's not the slimmest of designs, however, and the 2.1kg weight is a little heavier than we'd like for holding in one hand during use as a Tablet PC.
There's a dual-core 2.3GHz AMD processor within the chassis, backed by 4096MB of memory. We found the HP was quite sluggish when starting up, but once running it proved a capable machine and didn't suffer too much when multi-tasking.
The most surprising inclusion is the 400GB hard drive, which is one of the most capacious we've seen in a laptop of this size, offering more space than you're likely to need for entire multimedia collections. A tri-format DVD rewriter makes it easy to make copies of all your files, and LightScribe technology also lets you burn images or text on to the discs themselves.
Comfortable, well-equipped and offering good build quality, the tx2 is an impressive laptop. We're not certain it makes a great Tablet PC, however, proving too unwieldy for comfortable one-handed use.