HP HDX X16-1005EA review

£974
Price when reviewed

The last several months have seen a slew of laptops arrive in the PC Pro Labs with home entertainment ambitions. Sony’s VAIO VGN-FW11ZU, the Acer Aspire 8920G and Toshiba Qosmio F50-10Z have all tried to combine TV tuners, Blu-ray drives and fancy gimmicks to convince punters that a desktop replacement is the best option.

The latest contender comes from HP. Its HDX X16-1005EA (part code: FT210EA) boasts a 16.4in screen with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, which is better than either the Qosmio or VAIO’s screens, a Blu-ray reader, a TV tuner, Altec Lansing speakers and an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics chip to make sure that HD footage runs smoothly.

The spec list is certainly full of enticements, but it’s that screen that immediately attracts attention, and it’s not just for the 1080p native resolution. Quality is impressive throughout, detail looks sharp and there’s acres of desktop space on offer for work. As an added bonus, the glossy finish isn’t overly intrusive in a bright room and there’s no backlight bleed to speak of either. Only a slightly dim brightness level got in the way of our enjoyment, but despite this Blu-ray movies look great on it.

The speakers are worth a mention too: Altec Lansing’s expertise has resulted in audio that’s a cut above what we usually hear from laptops, with treble sounding rich and detailed and bass defined and punchy thanks to an extra bass speaker on the HP’s underside.

But despite the entertainment focus, there’s nothing much wrong with the HDX16’s ergonomics. In order to accommodate that screen, the width of the chassis is a broad 38cm – enough to accommodate a full-size keyboard along with a number-pad. It’s a pleasant keyboard to type on, with keys boasting plenty of travel, and above it is a useful row of touch-sensitive media buttons and indicators. We didn’t particularly like the trackpad’s mirror finish, which makes it feel a little tacky, though.

Meanwhile, build quality is also beyond reproach. The screen barely flexed under pressure, with the screen hardly distorting at all, and the wrist-rest feels reasonably strong. If you plan on lugging it around – and we’re not sure we recommend with a weight of over 3kg – you can be sure it’ll resist the travelling abuse commendably.

It’s all very well adding a big screen and other multimedia trinkets, but if you don’t back that up with a decent specification then it’s a pretty pointless tactic. Thankfully, the HP comes up to scratch here, with a very good core specification. The processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile P8400 running at 2.26GHz and, when coupled with 4GB of RAM, delivered a respectable 2D benchmark score of 1.24. It’s not quite as quick as the Acer Aspire and Sony VAIO mentioned above – the Acer managed 1.32 and the Sony 1.4 – but it’s more than enough power to handle demanding entertainment applications.

Elsewhere, there’s more hardware to covet. Intel’s wireless 5100 AGN chip means fast draft n, and Nvidia’s GeForce 9600M GT graphics chip is easily capable of handling Blu-ray decoding as well as some basic gaming. In our Crysis test, the laptop returned a respectable 47fps in our low-quality benchmark. There’s also that TV tuner, which is an analog/DVB-T model capable of watching and recording, albeit not at the same time.

Unfortunately, the HDX16’s impressive list of components do have one significant downside: battery life isn’t the greatest. In our light use test, the HP lasted for a mere 2hrs 27mins, with this time dropping to just under than one and a half hours in our more demanding test.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 380 x 335 x 332mm (WDH)
Weight 3.150kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 16.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,920
Resolution screen vertical 1,080
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Sound Blaster Pro 3D Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard, bottom
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 17min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 22min
Overall application benchmark score 1.24
Office application benchmark score 1.40
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.33
Encoding application benchmark score 1.01
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.20
3D performance (crysis) low settings 47fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows Vista

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