- Editor Rating
- 3.3 out of 5
HP Pavilion HDX 16t
Published October 28, 2008 at 06:02:20 AM, by Daniel Shain
Ah, how sweet it is when a computer is designed to be beautiful both inside and out. Such is the case with the HP HDX 16, which sports a stylish silver-streaks pattern on the lid and keyboard (including sending the streaks through the track pad) to go along with the 16” flush-glass 1920×1080 16:9 HDTV ready LCD. While that’s the most stunning part of the computer, our model also came with a P7350 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, a 512MB nVidia GeForce 9600M GPU, 4GB RAM, a 250GB HDD and a Blu-ray player. The cost will thin your wallet a little, but for a pretty potent portable (well, semi-portable) like the HP HDX 16, we’ve seen worse.
HP has given its HDX a sleek “titanium liquid metallic” look, with silver and charcoal lines racing along the charcoal lid and palmrest. The lines on the palmrest streak right through the shiny silver trackpad, the trail turning to gray for the duration. HP has harnessed the HDX16 with a number of pale purple glowing icons as well, beginning with a luminescent HP logo on the bottom left corner of the lid. Above the keyboard resides a glowing power button along with glowing touch buttons for multimedia control and wireless internet. Slightly above that is a speaker bay which spans the length of the keyboard, and after a small HP logo there is nothing above that save the LCD and integrated webcam. The surface of the lid and palmrest is glossy and smooth, matching the look, although this did leave the expected telltale fingerprints.
Size and Weight
The HDX16 is not small, weighing in at 7.3 pounds and with dimensions of 14.9 x 10.0 x 1.7 inches. Still, it is small enough to fit into standard laptop bags without issue, and light enough that you can lift it and move it around if you need to, although you won’t want to much. Although we wouldn’t mind it lighter, we found that the HDX fit comfortably on our lap, with the screen sturdy enough to avoid wobbling while typing or readjusting. The size is a little thick when you’re holding it, but not prohibitively so, and we do admit that the extra bulk gives an impression of solidity, rather than the flimsy feeling some smaller laptops give.
The keyboard is full size and includes a number pad, although the latter is somewhat shrunken. The keyboard was comfortable to type on and relatively quiet. Above the keyboard are the lighted touch sensitive multimedia controls along with wireless internet control, which certainly look stylish above embedded in the silver frame of the keyboard, and we’ll talk more about them later. The trackpad is placed just left of center and is smooth to the touch. Unlike other trackpads where occasionally our finger would stick uncomfortably after a long scroll, we never felt that on the HDX16. There is also a button placed directly above the trackpad which turns it on or off. While it didn’t come up often due to the limited portability, it’s an appreciated convenience to be able to easily press that off button after plugging in an external mouse.
The HP HDX16 shines in this category, literally. The 16” LCD with a 1920×1080, 16:9 1080p resolution viewed on a glossy flush-glass display delivers stunning colors and brightness. The HDX is clearly designed for this, and while our model did not come with a TV tuner it can be easily customized to do so. Our model did come with a Blu-ray player, which looked beautiful on the LCD. The gloss does have the expected problems of glare, especially when outside, but the brightness is powerful enough to at least combat that to a degree, and indoors there is no problem. Angled viewing was also surprisingly good, with slight distortion only at extreme side and upper angles, although viewing from below is difficult.
The HDX16 still some decent connectivity options, most of which are nested on the left side of the unit. Some of the noteworthy features include HDMI, eSATA, and Firewire (which even Macbooks don’t come with anymore).
If you read only one side of this machine’s connectivity, let it be this one. We start off with a VGA port, followed by an ExpressCard 34/54 slot. Next up is the Ethernet port, HDMI, the eSATA/USB port, a standard USB port, Firewire, and the integrated remote. Not bad for one side. The exhaust is also hidden underneath the back left corner of the HDX, so don’t be surprised if that side gets a little hot.
The right side’s features are a little simpler, with the power cord, a third USB port, the Blu-ray drive, and a fourth and final USB port.
The front of the unit has a few more small features hidden neatly underneath the tapered edge. On the left we have the multicard reader, and on the right we have the audio in/out (note, there are two audio out jacks, which means you and your friend can both watch that movie on the airplane without splitting up your earbuds.)
The rear of the unit doesn’t house much of anything, as the LCD pivots back to cover this side, leaving no options for connectivity ports.
Upgrading is possible through HP’s site. There are five Intel Core Duo processor options, beginning with our model (2.0 GHz P7350) and going all the way up to pretty top of the line stuff like the 2.8GHz P9600. RAM can be had in 2GB, 3GB or 4GB options (remember to get a 64bit version of Vista if you want to use more than 3GB RAM), and the HDD can be upgraded from 250GB to 320GB.
The HP HDX16 comes with a number of features, but most of the exceptional ones focus on multimedia enhancement. The most noticeable of these is the set of touch sensitive buttons above the keyboard. These buttons, from left to right, allow you to bring up the “HP MediaSmart” panel, followed by the standard rewind-stop-play/pause-fast forward buttons, and an eject button. There is also a touch sensitive slider for volume and even for adjusting treble/bass, as well as a mute button. These sliders are convenient and certainly pretty, but unfortunately they’re a little touchy (minding the pun). During movie playback we tried to adjust the volume up and down, and after a short time doing this a delay began to accrue, and there was no way to remove the adjustment panel in the center of the screen which blocked out our movie. The other touch buttons also became unresponsive during this delay. We could forgive HP if the delay lasted for just a few seconds, but we were forced to have our movie interrupted for almost five irritating minutes. Over time one could probably get used to the extreme sensitivity, but the sliders seem like they might have a little more style than substance.
There are a few other nice features on the HDX. Continuing on the touch button theme, there is a touch button to turn wireless connectivity on/off which worked fine (as did the mute button – the buttons were reasonably accurate, unlike both sliders) and was convenient. There is also an integrated fingerprint reader. It’s interesting to note that not only can the fingerprint reader log you into your computer, but you can also use preinstalled software to register your fingerprint to certain sets of passwords, enabling you to log yourself into your favorite websites securely without typing (or remembering your password). The integrated webcam, Blu-ray disc, and stylish finish are also nice additions.
It’s time to see how the HDX stacked up to some rigorous testing. You can see a full explanation of our testing methodology here (http://www.laptoplogic.com/about/test/).
Windows Vista Experience Score
Hard disk 5.3
An overall rating of 5 is pretty strong, right up there with the Alienware m15x which scored a 5.1, and blowing even the top-notch ultra portables like the Lenovo X301, which scored 3.4, out of the water
HP HDX: 3320
HP Dv51001x: 3013
Lenovo X301: 3308
Alienware m15x: 3767
This score already compares decently with some other good units we’ve reviewed – imagine if our unit had shipped with a top notch processor, as yours potentially could.
Lenovo SL400: 2007
Lenovo X301: 716
Alienware m15x 3351
The HDX score here is adequate at best… looks like you can play games, but it might be best to stick to media playback.
Alienware m15x: 104
With a score of 80 the HDX compares well to the other notebooks, but can’t catch the versatile m15x.
DVD test: 80 minutes
Regular use: 156 minutes
Recharge time: 114 minutes
Barely making one feature film on battery life was sort of disappointing, as was much of plugging in after 2.5 hours. But granted, you are sacrificing some mobility and battery life for a larger display and media functionalities.
Real Life Usage – heat and noise
In use the HDX runs warm, but at least it’s quiet. The exhaust fan is located on the left side and points down and out, shooting hot air out to the left and behind the laptop at a downward angle. This downward angle, rather by necessity, intersects with your left leg if you are holding the laptop on your lap. The heat is not terrible, but it’s certainly something you notice when you place the already running laptop on your lap for the first time, and probably negates watching an entire movie that way. The HDX does run quite quietly however, and we hardly ever heard it even while running some heavy tests.
In essence, the HP HDX 16 seemed to live up to its billing as a semi-portable multimedia machine. At 7.3lbs it is somewhat heavy and with a width of 1.7” it’s not exactly compact, but the gorgeous 1920×1080 LCD is beautiful to watch Blu-ray discs on, and the glossy “titanium liquid metal” design looks as slick as it feels. Beyond that the HDX comes with some decent power under the hood, sporting an Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 512MB nVidia GPU, and up to a 320GB HDD. There are also a few nice features, including the glowing touch buttons (but not the sliders). It’s not the cheapest laptop around, but considering what you get we feel it’s a fair value.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking for a beautiful media player that you can take with you when you need to, then the HP HDX16 is exactly what you’re looking for. It might be a little ungainly if you’re trying to watch it on a bus, but you could probably pull it off on a plane (especially if you know the person sitting next to you). Just don’t expect to pick it up with one hand or keep it on your lap very long, and remember to utilize the HD capabilities because you’re paying for them. As tested our unit currently runs for about $1600 via HP, which we feel is pretty reasonable for a laptop of this caliber.