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HP TX1000z Tablet PC Review

For the past decade consumers have been on the verge of adopting tablet PCs of one form or another. Apart from some early fledgling attempts which gathered little steam, the main thrust came from expensive laptop tablets based upon Windows XP Tablet Edition. Since then Vista has come about with its tablet extensions and new UMPC formats have sprung up such as Samsung’s Q1 to take advantage of them. So is there still a need for full size laptop tablets?

When newer is cheaper

Cue HP’s TX1000z range and recently released TX2000z. This 12.1 inch laptop has an ultraportable tablet format without the price tag associated with the genre. Powered by AMD’s Turion range it should have the horsepower it needs to ease through daily tasks and it’s swivelling screen gives it the all important ‘wow’ factor. It also has handy chassis mounted buttons for quick access to multimedia functions. The Vista Premium TX1000z unit I tested was fitted with a DVD rewriter and 2 GB of RAM, in place of the standard 1 GB.

Groping around

Looking around the laptop everything feels pretty solid, if a little heavy. The battery sticks out at the back, which is a tad ugly, but overall the design is slick. At 4.2 pounds the HP weighs in a fair amount more than my Everex 12 inch laptop. It’s not unbearable but not exactly in keeping with the spirit of the term ultraportable either.

Open the lid and the TX1000z’s keyboard and trackpad layout echo current HP silver and black smart simplicity. The trackpad looks great and has both horizontal and vertical scrolling. The keyboard feels OK; it’s no IBM but it’s perfectly usable.

A webcam stares out from above the screen, which itself looks a little overprotected by a thick bezel. A fingerprint reader and dedicated buttons for screen orientation and multimedia control sit at the sides. The screen joint feels very strong, holding the screen happily at some very bizarre angles.

Around the edges of the chassis are three USB ports, a 5-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard slot, SPDIF output, headphone & microphone ports, ethernet port, S-video and VGA out. Phew! There’s also a remote control in the box.
In use

In use there weren’t too many surprises, with the exception that performance from the 1.9 GHz AMD TL-58 was a little below expectations. My 1.6 GHz Core Duo laptop kept up with it pretty well in general use and surpassed it in almost all Passmark tests…and it only has 1 GB RAM. Most disappointing was the 3D graphics performance, which let’s just say is a good way to make sure you stay productive. The webcam too was average, under-performing against my MacBook in low light.

The Altec Lansing speakers on the other hand were nice and loud, if lacking in bass, and the bright screen is readable even with sun coming onto it through a window.

Is the writing on the wall for the traditional laptop?

Whilst the HP is certainly good value, I’m not sure how the average consumer would really take advantage of the tablet functions. The aspiration of note taking or sharing ideas across a meeting table have long been the promise of tablets, but something like a Samsung Q1 might be the modern day prince-in-waiting to this eventual throne due to its weight. If you have a use in mind for the tablet features then the TX1000z is a good buy. If not then look past the glamor of the swivelling screen and see how it stacks up against more traditional designs.

At the time of writing, the starting price for the HP TX1000z was $899.99 on http://www.hp.com

Also worth considering (prices correct at time of writing):

Neil Berman
http://www.neilberman.com/
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Jan 28, 2008 - Posted by | Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I’ve been using a tx1000 for a few weeks now and am rather unimpressed, but it’s difficult to tell whether the glitches are to do with the laptop or with Vista. My suspicion is that the power of the Turion processors is being sucked by Vista to no discernible benefit.

    While the Tablet functionality may have it’s uses, the weight of the TX1000, even when using the smaller battery (which doesn’t stick out as shown in the photos), is prohibitive if you’re cradling the device as opposed to resting it on a fixed surface. That said, the handwriting recognition is quick to learn your particular style and easy to input.

    I’m probably being a bit unfair to this device, as it sits next to a Sony Vaio which has a brilliant 14″ screen to which HP’s screen doesn’t come close to comparing, a slightly better processor (centrino 2GHz) and is running XP rather than Vista. The Sony delivers much better battery life and considerably less weight and heat. Then again, despite being a year old, the Sony is still double the price of the HP.

    On the functionality front, again I don’t know if performance problems are because of Vista or the HP system. So far (in about 4 weeks of use) I’ve had reinstall the network and mouse drivers because they weren’t behaving themselves, although to give HP credit, their online chat support was very helpful (if a little confused at times).

    All-in-all, I wouldn’t rush out to buy this, as it isn’t sufficiently discounted to compete with UMPCs and isn’t sufficiently impressive to compete with the better laptops that are out there.

    Comment by David | Jan 31, 2008 | Reply


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