A second HP attempt at a home Tablet PC works well but with caveats. (February 22nd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard
Price: $1,659 (2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB drive)
- Excellent handwriting recognition.
- Good touchscreen and active digitizer.
- Unique trackpad.
- Fast battery charging times.
- DVD+RW DL drive in a small tablet.
- Built-in 5-in-1 media reader.
- Short battery life.
- Performance won't turn heads.
- Slightly fuzzy screen image due to the touchscreen.
- Tiny trackpad mouse buttons.
- Can feel bulky to carry while writing.
Unlike most Tablet PCs, the HP Pavilion tx2000 also doubles up as an entertainment PC for playing CDs or watching DVDs. This curious combination of home and business applications means the tx2000 can effectively replace a separate desktop and laptop PC and work as your primary home and office computer.
The basic tx2000 unit offers low weight (4.53 pounds), a modest size display (12.1-inch diagonal), and diminutive length (8.82 inches), width (12.05 inches), and height (1.23 inches minimum/1.52 inches maximum) measurements. The various configurations can include up to a 2.4GHz AMD Turion 64 X2, Vista Ultimate, 4GB of RAM, and up to 250GB of storage.
The basic unit comes with 1Gb of RAM, 802.11b/g WiFi, 160Gb hard disk, and a 4-cell battery costs $1,149. For this review, I used the top of the line model with 4GB of RAM, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, a LightScribe-capable DVD+RW DL drive, a 250GB hard drive, and both the 4-cell and 8-cell batteries.
The most unique feature of any Tablet PC is its display, which can twist 180 degrees and lay flat over the keyboard. What gives a Tablet PC this flexibility is its hinge, located in the bottom center of the display. On the tx2000, the hinge snaps the display in place to hold it like a normal laptop screen or to keep it turned completely around. If you want to twist the screen at an odd angle, such as 45 degrees from the keyboard, you can do that too, which can be especially handy fro showing people images on the screen.
Because you can twist the screen on a Tablet PC, the plastic case holding the screen tends to get handled more often than the screen on an ordinary laptop. The tx2000 encloses its screen in a plastic case with an Imprint Finish (called Echo) etched on the top (the back of the display), but despite the black finish, you’ll see fingerprints and smudges marring the outside after a while, which you can thankfully wipe away using the included cleaning cloth.
For controlling the computer while the screen lays over the keyboard, the tx2000 includes several buttons built-in around the edges of the screen. A fingerprint reader is embedded in the left side of the screen, which can restrict access of the computer to the matching fingerprint of specific users. The top of the screen includes a VGA resolution web cam and microphones for video conferencing. In case you want to take snapshots or movies of yourself from the web cam, you can use the included Cyberlink YouCam program. Although the resolution of the web cam is lower than those found in other laptops, the visual quality and frame rate are acceptable for normal video conferencing.
Since you can twist and flip the screen around, the bottom right corner of the screen displays a rotate button, which can rotate your screen image sideways or upside-down, which can be handy when using the screen as a tablet.
Another button in the bottom right corner toggles the Windows Mobility Center dialog box so you can adjust the screen brightness, check your battery power, and turn your wireless access on or off without needing access to the keyboard.
More annoying are the DVD player buttons for playing a DVD. When the screen is folded flat as a tablet, these buttons let you control a DVD. However, their location near the bottom right corner of the screen also means that if you twist the screen with your right hand, there’s a good chance that you’ll accidentally press the DVD button, launching the DVD player by mistake.
The bottom of the screen contains two Altec Lansing speakers. The sound quality is more than adequate and should satisfy all but dedicated audio purists. Three buttons, located above the left corner of the keyboard, allow you to adjust the volume or mute it altogether. Unfortunately when the screen is folded flat over the keyboard as a tablet, these three volume control buttons get covered up and remain inaccessible until you lift the screen up. You can still modify the volume by pressing the button to toggle the Windows Mobility Center, but this means going through a two-step process of opening the Windows Mobility Center dialog box and then adjusting the volume. A simpler solution would be to embed the three volume control buttons along the edge of the screen case like the DVD control buttons on the opposite side.