HP's Entertaining Pavilion
The Good: User-friendly entertainment capabilities; capable PC features; portable
The Bad: The touch pad and touch screen take getting used to
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a consumer-friendly tablet PC at a fair price, look no further
After two weeks of poking and prodding a review version of Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) HP Pavilion tx1000, I became quite attached to the device. It's chock-full of user-friendly entertainment capabilities. And it's no slouch when it comes to tablet functions; the tx1000 boasts a bright 12.1-inch touch-ready widescreen display that doesn't require a stylus. For those on the market for a tablet PC—folks who are big on entertainment and tight on budget—this one is well worth considering.
First, a word on the machine's entertainment capabilities. While the notebook carries most of the traditional laptop accessories, including three USB 2.0 jacks, VGA and TV-Out, and two microphone jacks, its nontraditional accessories are not to be missed. This convertible tablet PC includes integrated media control buttons and a 1.3-megapixel webcam that sits at the top of the screen's border. The webcam enabled me to participate in video chats as well as view short video clips and still photos. Integrated media control buttons, especially for DVD and QuickPlay functions, were nice additions.
On top of its entertainment capabilities, the tx1000 is extremely portable. At 4.23 lb. and measuring 8.82 in. long by 12.05 in. wide (1.23 in. high), the tx1000 isn't designed like most of its peers in the tablet PC market. Unlike the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 and Toshiba Portege R400-S4931, the HP tx1000 is slightly heavier and a bit narrower (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/26/07, "Lenovo's Talented Tablet," and 3/5/07, "Toshiba's Not-So-Potent Portege"). You should have no problem taking this unit wherever you like, though, and it will easily fit in your backpack.
As a convertible tablet, the unit performed quite well. The tx1000's 12.1-in. High-Definition BrightView Widescreen pivots 180 degrees around a center hinge and easily locks into place with the screen folded down over the keyboard. Unlike the Toshiba Portege R400-S4931, the tx1000 uses a touch screen, not an active stylus. To close a Microsoft (MSFT) Word document, simply touch the screen in the correct location with your finger. The Portege requires users to wield a stylus to manipulate the screen.
But the touch screen isn't all about convenience. When in tablet mode, I began writing on the screen, but unlike the Portege or ThinkPad X60, the tx1000 didn't cleanly decipher my chicken-scratch handwriting. The screen isn't as responsive as other models either—though that comes with the design: Make it too responsive and you risk unintentional manipulation of on-screen items.
I also took issue with the notebook's redesigned touch pad. I give HP points for trying to redesign the traditional touch pad, but it never felt comfortable. Unlike traditional touch pads, which are clearly visible and designed to stand out from the machine, the tx1000's touch pad is the same color and material as the laptop. The touch pad is demarcated by indented dots in the shape of a touch pad. But even after a few weeks, I hadn't gotten used to it.
I was pleasantly surprised with the tx1000's specifications and battery life. My review unit included a 160GB hard drive, an AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology TL-56 processor, and a 128MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 graphics chip. Plus, it performed admirably with regard to battery life: After running the 87-minute film Airplane, the unit still had some charge left in the battery. In fact, when using a DVD, this unit gave me nearly 115 minutes of battery life. When not running a DVD, the battery life of this unit was closer to two-and-a-half hours.
Best of all, compared with some of its peers, the tx1000 is much cheaper. This unit will set you back $1,299, while the Toshiba Portege R400-S4931 will cost you $3,499—and the HP holds its charge almost twice as long.
If you are looking for a convertible unit with some extra pizzazz, take a look at the HP Pavilion tx1000. Even though the touch screen and redesigned touch pad will take some getting used to, they are certainly worth the time for a unit so fairly priced.