A notebook computer for more than just answering emails
Laptops now come in all shapes and sizes; at one end of the spectrum are humble mini-notebooks, and at the other is the all-singing desktop replacement, such as the HP HDX16-1010EA.
In this area, HP's competitors are stylish computers from Sony and Apple, or hardcore gaming rigs from Alienware. With its case coloured dark grey, which HP refers to as titanium, and marked by a series of 'designer' silver and charcoal pen lines, the case lid also bears a silvered HP logo that glows white when the machine is switched on.
The pen lines extend to the palm rests in front of the keyboard and even onto the large trackpad, which is faced with polished metal and is beautifully smooth to use. There's a fingerprint reader to the right of the pad for added security, and the keyboard itself uses full-size, metal-topped keys and includes a separate number pad. Behind the keyboard is a silvered row of touch keys, including sliders for volume and tone and a quick button for accessing HP's own Mediasmart entertainment software, which can be used to help organise your music, photos and videos.
The sound system includes a bass speaker pointing down to the desktop, to enhance low tones. It produced some of the best sound we've heard from a laptop, with good response at most levels.
The screen has a high resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, which means it can display full 1080p high-definition content from Blu-ray discs, (there’s a Blu-ray reader built into the right-hand side, which doubles as a DVD rewriter). The screen is bright and very sharp, though at its full resolution some text can appear very small. A single gloss sheet covers the entire screen, giving it a hard surface and improving contrast, but also providing some unwanted reflections.
To support all of this media capability, the HDX16-1010EA includes additional sockets such as an HDMI connector for high-definition external monitors and eSata for connecting new, fast external disks, as well as the usual range of USB and Firewire sockets. There is a miniature remote control for working with Windows Media Center software, which clicks into a slot in the side for storage. Media Center can also use the built-in TV tuner to display and record digital TV in all its glory.
The high specification continues inside the case, with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a generous 4GB of main memory and a fast Nvidia Geforce 9600M GT graphics adapter. Internal storage is a 350GB hard disk – all these components are well matched to produce a good performance.
Our lab tests returned an impressive figure for the computer's performance in general productivity and although the graphics performance was not quite so impressive it was high enough to ensure decent response in popular recent games, particularly if you keep the detail levels down.
In addition to the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system, the computer comes with bundled software, including Microsoft Works and the HP entertainment centre.
This is a laptop with top entertainment credentials, as well as being a great tool for home and office.
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All many people will want from a PC, in a reasonably compact form and with great style
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