4.5 star rating

HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC Review

$4,079.00
Pros: Gorgeous 20-inch display; Innovative dual-hinge design; Excellent processor speed and graphics; HD-DVD drive and HDTV tuner; Nifty remote control
Cons: 1080p resolution coming later; Graphics not good enough for hardcore gamers
The Verdict: Featuring a dual-hinged 20-inch widescreen display, Intel's new Core 2 Extreme processor, and all the multimedia bells and whistles you can dream up, the HP HDX is one smokin' desktop replacement.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

There are two kinds of 20-inch notebooks: the kind that takes over whatever room it's in and loses any portability whatsoever, and the kind that still resembles a notebook, just a bigger, better, brighter, more powerful one. The HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC is in the latter camp, offering performance, style, and plenty of screen real estate without overwhelming its users.
Article Continued Below

 
At first glance, the HDX resembles the rest of HP's consumer line, with a piano-black pinstriped finish on the outside and silver pinstripes on the inside with a splashier Imprint design, but the dual-hinge display, which allows for extra versatility with the 20.1-inch, 1680 x 1050-pixel high-def LCD, immediately tells you you're not in Kansas anymore. Add a wide array of multimedia controls, a remote control with its own slot, a built-in webcam, and four Altec Lansing speakers, and you've got a multimedia force to be reckoned with. And at a relatively light 15.5 pounds (compared with Dell's 18.3-pound XPS M2010), you can carry this notebook relatively easily from room to room, although a handle would have been nice.
 
This notebook's standout feature is its dual-hinge display, which means you can move the screen back or forward depending on how close you want your eyes to be to that movie, spreadsheet, or Web page. The versatility of this design also saves desk space. However, we noticed that the LCD picked up fingerprints quickly. The spacious full-sized keyboard was a pleasure to type on, though, and the deck has enough room for both the remote control and a dedicated number pad.
 
Along the top of the deck, you'll find plenty of controls, including touch-sensitive Play/Pause, Stop, Fast-Forward, Rewind, and so forth, along with sliders for volume and sound equalizing. HP also includes buttons for launching DVDs, television, and the webcam, as well as for ejecting a disc, and turning the Wi-Fi radio on and off. Because the buttons are touch-sensitive, you don't really know if your presses are registering, unless it's one of the few buttons that change colors when pressed. But overall they worked fine.
 
For general comfort we prefer the included remote control, which docks to the left of the keyboard and offers real buttons with tactile feedback. The remote is super thin and light, and its layout is intuitive. We especially like the Enter key in addition to the five-way D-pad, which means you can either click OK in the center of the pad or click Enter on the bottom of the remote. We also like the One Up button, which backs you out of menus.
 
The touchpad is large and matches the widescreen aspect ratio, and it has a separate scroll area, which we always like. We also liked the feedback from the track buttons. You can use the integrated fingerprint reader for scrolling as well, but because it's located above the keyboard, you'll likely use it mostly for entering passwords with a swipe.
 
Watching a high-definition version of Apollo 13 and Mission: Impossible II was a blast on this system. Colors were bright and lifelike on the Ultra BrightView panel, and the 1680 x 1050-pixel display delivered a high level of detail without compromising the smoothness of action sequences. The screen isn't true 1080p resolution, but HP plans to offer a 1920 x 1200-pixel display that meets that higher standard soon.
 
Sound from the HDX was more than adequate to fill a medium-sized room, whether we were watching movies or streaming Slacker radio. In addition to the four Altec Lansing speakers, HP includes an integrated HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer and integrated amplifiers, which combine with the screen to provide a truly immersive audio-visual experience.
 
The HDX comes standard with an integrated hybrid TV tuner, which lets you watch, record, and pause live TV. You can also get HDTV via ATSC. HP says it will include an over-the-air HD antenna with the system, but ours didn't come with one. This configuration includes a 240GB hard drive, so there's plenty of space for saving TV shows you've recorded with Media Center.
 
HP put some extra work into its webcam, which handles video in low light much better than most. We shut the lights off in our lab and were able to see ourselves nearly as well as we did with the lights on. The bundled software can blow the picture up to fill the whole screen, and while the picture was expectedly grainy, it was still watchable and easy to see. Our one quibble with the webcam is that it doesn't swivel very far or very well, which means you might have to adjust the screen for optimal recording or videoconferencing.
 
Just when you think you've had enough multimedia goodness, you look at the specs of this system and realize you haven't even started. You'll find Intel's new 2.6-GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme X7800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics with 256MB of dedicated video memory. This system also offers ports galore, including FireWire, HDMI, four USB ports, two headphone jacks, and an eSATA port for an external hard drive. You'll find S-Video input, a stereo audio input, and an NTSC/ATSC input (with an included F-Jack adaptor) for HDTV.
 
We expected to see high scores from the HDX, and we weren't disappointed. For some reason, this notebook and PCMark05 didn't play well together, but the HDX did manage an impressive 3DMark03 score of 11,984 and a 3DMark06 score of 4,241, which means this system can plow through graphics-intensive applications. The HDX notched 72 fps on our F.E.A.R. gaming test on autodetect, and 25 fps with the settings maxed out. (We suspect this subpar showing might be a result of a Vista-related driver issue.)
 
Thanks to Intel's new draft-802.11n connection, wireless scores were through the roof, hitting 18.3 Mbps and 16 Mbps at 15 and 50 feet, respectively. Battery life, while not great, was better than we expected, at 1 hour and 53 minutes on our DVD rundown test. This is likely attributable to Santa Rosa's power-saving technology.
 
With a starting price of $2,999, and with our tested configuration costing $4,079, there's no question that the HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC is a premium machine. We would have preferred a three-year warranty on such an investment, but this groundbreaking desktop replacement has enough power to satisfy all of your entertainment desires and enough style to wow anyone who lays eyes on it.

Suggested Stories:
The 411 on Intel's Next Generation Centrino
Our comprehensive guide to Intel's new processor technology and reviews of the first six notebooks.

Ultimate Notebook Buying Guide
We break down the latest and greatest notebooks in every category, from ultraportables to multimedia monsters, and give you our top picks in each.
 
HP Pavilion dv6500t Entertainment Notebook PC Review
At just $1,300, HP piles in all the performance of Santa Rosa at a price you can afford.

Tags: HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC, Hewlett-Packard Company, desktop replacements, notebooks, multimedia notebooks, reviews, laptops

Technical Specifications
HP Pavilion HDX Entertainment Notebook PC
http://www.hp.com


The central processor unit, or CPU, is the brain of your notebook.
Learn More
CPU
2.6-GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU X7800
Operating SystemMS Windows Vista Home Premium
The amount of memory our reviewed configuration comes with.
Learn More
RAM
2GB
The maximum amount of memory this notebook supports.
Learn More
RAM Upgradable to
4GB
Amount of data your storage drive can hold.
Learn More
Hard Drive Size
240GB
The rotation speed of a mechanical hard drive.
Learn More
Hard Drive Speed
5,400rpm
Your notebook’s storage drive (hard drive or solid state drive) holds your operating system, your programs, and your data.
Learn More
Hard Drive Type
SATA Dual Drive
Your notebook display is the primary viewing device for your laptop computer.
Learn More
Display Size
20.1
The number of pxiels (wxh) displayed on your screen at once.
Learn More
Native Resolution
1680x1050
An optical drive allows you to play or record to DVDs, CDs, or Blu-ray discs.
Learn More
Optical Drive
HD DVD ROM
The speed of the optical drive.
Learn More
Optical Drive Speed
8X
Graphics chips are responsible for processing all images sent to your computer’s display.
Learn More
Graphics Card
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT
The amount of memory available for graphics processing.
Learn More
Video Memory
256MB
Wi-Fi connects you to a router or hotspot for wireless Internet access.
Learn More
Wi-Fi
802.11a/g/n
Bluetooth allows you to connect to wireless devices such as headsets, smart phones, and speakers.
Bluetooth
Bluetooth 2.0
Ports allow you to connect to external devices such as monitors, printers, MP3 players, and hard drivse.
Learn More
Ports (excluding USB)
Firewire; HDMI; IR; Microphone; S-Video; S/PDIF; VGA
USB ports allow you to connect many external devices, from MP3 players to external hard drives.
Learn More
USB Ports
4
Card readers allow you to plug memory and expansion cards directly into a notebook.
Learn More
Card Slots
ExpressCard
Warranty/SupportOne-year including hardware/24/7 e-mail, chat, and phonee
Size18.8 x 13.5 x 2.5 inches
Weight15.5 pounds
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE