With all the talk and media interest in netbook computers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nobody is interested in anything with a higher spec. This is far from the case and high-end multimedia laptops can be all you need for computing and entertainment.
HP’s HDX16 is a smaller screen version of its 20-inch, all-singing, multimedia laptop from last year. This new machine, with its titanium-coloured case and designer key lines in charcoal and silver, looks exclusive and even the HP badge on the lid lights up in an Apple-ish kind of way. This attention to style is apparent when you open the case, too, as the 16-inch, widescreen LCD has no bezel and a flat, hard acrylic face for its bright, needle-sharp display.
The full-size keyboard, with separate number pad, has metallised key tops and the beautifully engineered touchpad has a polished steel surface, which is delightful to use. To the right of the touchpad is a fingerprint reader, so there’s no excuse for leaving accessible data on a bus, train or bar-stool. Behind the keyboard is a polished metal strip containing touch controls for audio, so you can slide your finger left and right to change volume or tone.
On that note, Altec Lansing has engineered the audio and has managed to give this laptop passable sound, rather than the scratchy, bass-free noises most notebooks make.
Round the HDX16′s edges are all the normal sockets, such as USB and FireWire, but there’s also gigabit Ethernet, HDMI video (as well as VGA) and eSATA and a five-in-one card reader. There’s even a slot to take the miniature remote control, provided for Windows Vista Media Centre and HP’s own MediaSmart application. Works, Norton Internet Security and a two-month Microsoft Office trial are also bundled.
A Blu-ray drive, which can also handle dual-layer DVD and CD writing, provides external storage and inside there’s a 320GB hard drive and 4GB of main memory. The processor is a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo and this is partnered by an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT GPU, driving the 1920 x 1080 pixel, HD 1080p-compatible display.
All this hunky hardware works together to provide a fast machine, scoring over 3,800 on PCMark Vantage and over 1,250 on 3DMark Vantage, on the Performance setting. The 3DMark figure is not as high as we’d expect, though in practice most current games run at reasonable frame rates, if you cut back on the screen resolution.
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