HP HDX18-1010EA review

£1300
Price when reviewed

The HP HDX18-1010EA has a list of specifications that should endear it to movie fans. The 18.4in screen stretches across a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and a Blu-ray reader and Altec Lansing speakers mean that HD movies can be enjoyed to their fullest.

But the HP wasn’t able to compete with Sony and Dell in the entertainment stakes. The screen is the main problem: when compared with the vivid and crisp RGB LED panels of those laptops, the HP’s 18.4in screen looked pale and dull.

The HDX18-1010EA can’t compete on design, either, with its gun-metal grey chassis looking outdated beside the glossy black of the Dell and elegant design of the Sony VAIO VGN-AW21XY/Q. Build quality isn’t bad, but the HP’s glossy plastic finish makes it feel a little cheaper than many of its rivals.

The keyboard and mouse don’t improve things. The former is spongy, lacking the positive action of the Sony’s Scrabble-tile effort, and the trackpad and buttons feel unresponsive.

Providing the system’s oomph is Intel’s 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 processor. It isn’t lightning-quick, but its score of 1.24 in our benchmarks is a decent result, and ensures enough power to cope with the most demanding software titles. Graphical grunt is provided by an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT, enabling the HP to score a respectable 16fps in our medium-quality Crysis test. Again, though, more gaming potential can be had elsewhere.

HP is replacing this model soon with the HP HDX-1210EA, which comes with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo P8600 CPU and GeForce GT130M graphics. We don’t predict a huge leap in performance, though.

Two 250GB hard disks offer plenty of storage, but there are few surprises elsewhere: draft-n wireless, a card reader and a reasonable selection of ports. Battery life follows suit with a light-use result of less than three hours and a heavy-use life of around an hour and a half, which mean the 4kg HP won’t be able to last long away from a desk.

The HDX18-1010EA is by no means a bad laptop. It’s powerful enough for applications and games, and reasonably comfortable. But it’s uninspiring in this company.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 432 x 289 x 47mm (WDH)
Weight 4.100kg
Travelling weight 4.7kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
Motherboard chipset Intel PM45 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 18.4in
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 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 464GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate Momentus 5400.4
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Optical drive Sony Optiarc BC-5500S
Battery capacity 5,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 1
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
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset HP HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard, bottom
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 172
Battery life, heavy use 85
Overall application benchmark score 1.39
Office application benchmark score 1.33
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.16
Encoding application benchmark score 1.11
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.25
3D performance (crysis) low settings 16fps
3D performance setting Medium

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disk and partition
Software supplied Microsoft Works 9

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