HP HDX X16-1005EA review
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||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||380 x 335 x 332mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo P8400|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|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|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial 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|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Sound Blaster Pro 3D Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard, bottom|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
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|