HP – Pavilion TX1150ea review

powerful media centre notebook
Photo of HP – Pavilion TX1150ea
£1,100

When you first look at the HP Pavilion TX1150ea you imagine there can’t be that much to it. It only weighs 1.92kg, it’s a comparatively slimline 22.4 cm x 30.6 cm x 3.13cm and it only has a 12.1-inch screen. A media centre laptop, after all, should be packed full of features, probably a good 3kg in weight and boasting at least a 15-inch screen.

But the surprises begin the moment you open the sleek black lid. The screen turns out to be a WXGA, BrightView, widescreen display with integrated touch-screen. In other words you’ve got a Tablet PC with a pen discreetly concealed at the front of the base, which you can then use in place of a touch-pad or mouse to interact with the data on the screen. In practice, you do have to press quite firmly to get the best results but it could be a handy addition for people on the move who don’t want the inconvenience of a mouse.

The built-in touch-pad is thoughtfully constructed in a centrally positioned ‘ditch’, so you won’t accidentally stray across it when you’re typing. For such a compact machine it’s gratifying to see a nearly full-size keyboard, though sacrificing a number pad (and it’s annoying that manufacturers still insist on a tiny Del key positioned top right where it’s least accessible).

As this is a media centre PC, HP has installed a number of quick-start keys in useful positions. The outer rim of the screen contains buttons for the DVD player – which is a Lightscribe Super Multi DVD Writer (+/-R +/-RW) with Dual Layer support – as well as the Windows Mobility Centre (the main control area monitoring brightness, volume, battery, WiFi, sync settings, etc.) and QuickPlay, which organizes your entertainment preferences.

If you need it to, the entire display can rotate 180 degrees to help with presentations or viewing movies and there are two respectable, 3D Sound Blaster Pro compatible, 16-bit integrated Altec Lansing speakers at the base of the screen.

If gaming is a priority, there should be sufficient grunt from the AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 CPU, the 2GB of DDR2 memory, the 1MB Level 2 cache and the Nvidia GeForce Go 6150 graphics card with up to 128MB of shared video memory.

160GB of hard drive is more than enough storage for most people and if you want to print off all your holiday snaps or studio shoots, then the 5-in-1 digital media reader will handle SD and MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD Picture cards.

So far, so good, but there’s more: a Web-cam with stereo microphones, three USB 2.0 ports, VGA, Ethernet, S-video TV out, Bluetooth, infra-red, a fingerprint reader for added security and an excellent ExpressCard DVB-T TV Tuner complete with full-size remote control. Not bad for £1,100.

Company: HP

Contact: 0870 547 4747


Verdict
This is a media centre that truly lives up to its name, packing a powerhouse of extras (including a fine TV Tuner) and quick-start controls into a small body and packing a leonine punch with a dual-core processor supported by decent system components.