Thursday, March 12, 2009

HP TouchSmart tx2

The newest 12-inch notebook from HP is no ordinary ultraportable laptop. The HP TouchSmart tx2z is the first consumer notebook and tablet PC that offers on-screen multi-touch control. Forget about using the notebook's touchpad or an external mouse. If you see something on the screen you want to press or move just reach up and touch it. HP's new "MediaSmart" software allows you to use your fingertips to take command of everything on the screen with a quick touch or simple gestures. Is this the future of laptop computing? Keep reading to find out.

HP TouchSmart tx2z specifications:

* Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
* AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile Processor ZM-86 (2.4 GHz)
* 12.1" WXGA High-Definition HP LED BrightView Widescreen (1280x800) with Integrated Touch-screen
* 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
* ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics with 64MB Display Cache Memory
* 400GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
* Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Reaction)
* Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
* LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
* 8-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
* HP Mini Remote Control
* 5-in-1 digital media reader
* Express card/34 PC card slot
* Dimensions: 8.82" x 12.05" x 1.23"/ 1.52" (with 4-cell battery)
* Weight: 4.65 lbs (varies by configuration)
* Starts at $1,149.99 (Price as configured: $1,733.99)

The TouchSmart tx2 is a solid convertible notebook designed to function as either a standard notebook or you can rotate the screen 180 degrees to turn the notebook into a tablet and write directly on the screen using the included digital pen. The overall chassis design is nothing new; the design is virtually the same as the tx2500 with the only obvious change being the new glossy "Reaction" Imprint Finish which is a dark gray rather than silver seen on the previous generation. HP's Imprint Finish always looks cool but the glossy surface is a fingerprint magnet and HP even includes a polishing cloth because this notebook will start picking up finger smudges after just a few minutes. The body of the notebook is smooth with rounded edges, making it extremely comfortable in your hands while carrying it around.

One of the big questions surrounding the release of the TouchSmart tx2 was whether it would have an active digitizer like the tx2500z or if it would sacrifice the active digitizer (and quality tablet functionality) in order to provide multi-touch screen controls. We're pleased to tell you the tx2 still has an active digitizer along with the multi-touch screen. You can use your fingers or the pen. The tx2 also has great entertainment features, like Altec Lansing speakers and a mini-remote control. For the price this tablet seems to be packed full of features just like its predecessor.

The pen is solid but it's a pretty basic pen. It reads the screen when it's about an inch above and then disables the touchscreen, this way your hand doesn't interfere if you rest your palm on the screen when writing. The N-trig pen technology used is fantastic, just remember you can't keep picking the pen up or the touch feature will be activated again and your hand might trigger something on the screen.

HP offers the new TouchSmart tx2z with a range of AMD processors starting with the 2.1GHz Turion X2 RM-72 dual-core processor and ending with the 2.4GHz Turion X2 Ultra ZM-86 in our review unit. However, the big news in 2008 has to be the availability of AMD's new "Puma" platform with improved processors and graphics. The new AMD dual-core processors are nice and perfectly capable of handling your computing needs, but it's the integrated graphics that will get your attention.

Sure, it might be hard to get excited about an integrated graphics processor (IGP). Every IGP on the market prior to this year was painfully inferior to a dedicated graphics card and every IGP on the market struggled to handle high definition video and 3D video games. That all started to change this year with the introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 3200. For the first time ever consumers had a low-cost IGP that offers flawless 1080p video playback and can even play many 3D video games at reasonable frame rates!

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