Battle of the Pavilions, HP tx1000 vs. tx2000

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by Gordon Cahill

Based purely on impulse I’ve bought an HP tx2000 series when I already have a tx1000 series. I was going to get another desktop for the office, but when the tx2000 became available I went that way instead. That temporarily leaves me with a tx1001au and a tx2011au to compare. There has been some discussion as to the differences, so I thought I’d offer up some facts and opinions as to the differences between them. This is not a review so I’m not going to discuss every detail. Please keep in mind this is my personal opinion, so feel free to disagree. If there are points I haven’t covered, let me know and I’ll try to answer the best I can.

I have owned six “tablets” and “UMPCs” over the last four years. I’ve used tablets with both active and passive digitizers and running Vista and XP Tablet Edition as OS. I currently have the tx1001au, tx2011au, Acer C111Tci and a Sony UX, so I may throw a few feature comparisons out there.

The combatants are:

HP tx1001au

  • 2.0GHz AMD Turion processor
  • 2GB RAM (upgraded from 1GB)
  • 250GB hard drive (upgraded from 120GB)
  • Wireless a/b/g

HP tx 2011au

  • 2.2GHz AMD Turion processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Wireless a/b/g/n


The tx1000, left vs. tx2000, right. (view large image)

Both units are shipped with only a 4-cell battery in Australia, which is kind of sad. They were bought from retail stores and it’s a credit to HP’s marketing that there were seven tx2011au’s in stock where I bought mine. That’s the most tablets I’ve ever seen in one place in Australia. Maybe Tablet PCs will take off after all.

Design

The tx1000 and tx2000 are exactly the same size and weight and they have exactly the same ports. On one HP site I saw it said the tx2000 could use Express Card 54 cards. This is not the case. It uses the smaller 34 size like the tx1001au. Both tablets have a sleek design, but I prefer the look of the tx1001. I am getting used to the black screen surround of the tx2011, it’s not ugly, but I don’t prefer it. The black surround makes the screen seem brighter. I also prefer the tx1001’s imprint on the case and around the keyboard compared to the “crop circle” look on the tx2011.


The tx1000 imprint. (view large image)


The tx2000 imprint. (view large image)

Again that’s just my personal opinion, some users may like the "Echo" imprint. I like the silver keyboard on the tx2011 and the fact it has an arrow near the hinge telling you which way to turn the screen. Both tablets use the same batteries. The fan cover is partially blocked on the tx1001, but not on the tx2011. This could explain the improvement I noticed in battery life. The tx2011 also seemed cooler then the tx1001, but it still gets warm. I would describe the tx1001’s temperature as hot.

Display

The digitizers, of course, are the biggest difference between the two tablets. The tx2011 has a dual digitizer including a Wacom active digitizer with touchscreen and the tx1001 has a passive digitizer with a touchscreen. I should state that I have had a very positive experience with the passive digitizer on the tx1001. I take notes most days and after the panel broke-in I was very happy taking notes on it. I am not an artist and I have a large Wacom Tablet for work (where I’m also connected to a larger monitor) so I don’t need pressure sensitivity on the tablet screen.

Having said that I much prefer the writing experience on the tx2011. Ink looks better and I’ve always liked the hover ability of an active digitizer. Incidentally when connected to my 1920×1200 external display the tx2011 in tablet mode can be used as a normal desktop Wacom tablet. The active digitizer works with the older ARTz pens (I have not tested an Intuos Wacom pen yet) so I guess it has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity (I said guess). The “ink” on paper feel is not as good as my Acer C111Tci due to the glossy screen and I prefer the Acer screen size and shape for inking, but the ink experience on tx2011 is still excellent.

The tx2011 touchscreen is much lighter than the tx1001 and requires almost no pressure. It also works with the touch of a finger compared to using your fingernail on the tx1001. You can’t write using a normal stylus on the tx2011 because the active digitizer freaks out when your palm hits the screen. This means you don’t want to lift your pen off the screen when writing. I liked being able to use any stylus on the tx1001 and had a nice HP combo pen. I’ll get used to the change and I’ll put the tether on the tx2011, so I don’t loose it. The active pen on the tx2011 is light and feels cheap, but works just as well. However, I’ll probably pick up a Cross Pen since I write so much.


HP tx2000, left vs. HP tx1000, right. (view large image)

Although, I have calibrated the touch panel several times, I find it not to be as accurate as the tx1001. It’s not as important, as there’s the active digitizer with floating cursor on the tx2011, but it does make me hesitate when using touch. My wife, who is not a Tablet PC person, said that she really likes the touchscreen on the tx2011 and I’ve caught her surfing the Web on the it. She never liked the experience with the tx1001.

Vectoring is not an issue on either machine, but I do get the occasional stray ink mark on the tx2011. This is because if you move the active stylus over a centimeter (1/2 inch) away from the screen the passive digitizer takes over and anything touching the screen will act as a stylus. Also the Wacom calibration (like every active tablet I’ve owned or used) is not as accurate near the edges compared to the center of the screen. It’s noticeable to about 1cm (1/2 inch) in from the edge. My tx1001 has always been spot on. On the tx2011 you calibrate the active and passive digitizers separately.

The screen is brighter than the tx1001. It’s especially noticeable in landscape orientation. It makes the entertainment side of things like watching DVD’s a more pleasurable experience. It’s probably due to the different digitizer, which is still a little grainy, but this is standard on tablets.

On a side note, I got my BlueAnt X5 Bluetooth headphones working in A2DP stereo mode on the tx2011 where as on the tx1001 I couldn’t connect except as a mono headset. It really makes watching movies on the tx2011 a great experience. I don’t know whether the microphone on the X5 will work for voice recognition, it wouldn’t on the tx1001, but I intend to give it a try at a later date.

Keyboard

The right shift key on the tx2011 is full sized, but the keys make a light clicking sound when pressed, which can be annoying. Other than that the tx1000 and tx2000 keyboards are physically the same. The keys on the tx2011 have a harder more durable feel. I’m not a touch typist, so I can’t comment on which is better but the noise of the tx2011 may be an issue if you’re a student sitting in a lecture as the keyboard is quite noisy compared to the nearly silent tx1001.

Webcam

On the tx1001au I had to install the Acer Chiconny drivers to get the webcam to play nice, especially in OneNote where I had both webcam and microphone issues. So far the tx2011 webcam seems to work in all applications. The webcam and microphone worked perfectly without new drivers or having to play with all the settings. Excellent!

Battery

The batteries are physically the same. On factory “balanced” mode with the 4-cell battery the tx1001 got 1 hour 47 minutes, and the tx2011 got 2 hours 1 minute. These figures are not absolute, but presented as a comparison based on my personal real world usage. This could be due to differences in the factory settings or actual power consumption, possibly the fan worked less as the vent was not blocked like with the tx1001. Still not real good performance, probably a good reason to upgrade. Who knows what HP Australia is thinking. Not only are both tablets only available with a 4-cell battery there’s no way to buy a 6-cell or 8-cell battery locally. I’m sure if we had some control over Superfetch and Indexing, which seem to run constantly we could squeeze some more battery life out.


Comparison between tx1000 and tx2000 batteries and pens. (view large image)

Performance

Speeds on paper are similar, but the tx2011 does seem faster. Although, I don’t have any testing data to prove that. The processor difference does change the testing scores a little, check out the data in TabletPCReview.com’s tx1000 review vs. the tx2000 review. Remember on the two systems I’m using the only difference is 200MHz. The RAM and hard drives are the same size and I’ve partitioned the drives the same way. My tx1001 is plenty fast for what I use it for, which is Photoshop and RAW processing and the tx2011 will keep me happy. AMD processors have always been good with Photoshop.

Both machines are quicker with Photoshop than a friend’s MacBook Pro 2.0GHz running Vista. Different software performs better on different hardware so your results may be different. It’s not an HP issue, rather a Vista one, but the Mobile Device center really slows down boot up. Hibernating on both machines with software loaded, but no programs running is a slow 90 seconds to shut down and 60 seconds to resume and Vista struggles when booting while connected to the HP quick dock.

Bloatware

They both have bloatware, but they’re different. They both have Norton (90 day trial). It’s awful stuff and best removed immediately. The DVD burner softwares are different (Roxio on the tx1001 and Cyberlink on the tx2011) and AOL and eBay junk are on your desktop. It’s not so hard to uninstall it, but I think we would all prefer if it wasn’t there in the first place.

Fingerprint reader

The tx2011 uses new software for the fingerprint reader and….. it’s just as crappy as the tx1001. I’ll be putting black tape over this one too. As a reference my Sony UX is about 98% accurate with its fingerprint scanner and even though the computer is tiny I never get accidental scans. On both HP’s the accuracy is about 30% and in portrait mode I’m constantly getting accidental scans because the scanner is in the wrong location.

The warning is less annoying than the tx1001 and I don’t get a dialog that I have to close like the older machine, but the constant warning sounds as you are writing are annoying and would be unacceptable in a work or study environment. I have to use secondary portrait mode to avoid the fingerprint scanner. Unfortunately, the tx2011 still ignores the display rotation settings in Vista and the screen rotates clockwise with each press of the rotation button on the screen. It’s a minor annoyance and thankfully the screen rotation is fast.

Recovery Disks

Once again no recovery disks. I would pay extra for the disks. Burning them on the tx2011 took over an hour, just to burn two disks.

Buttons

The buttons still are not able to be remapped, so most will be as useless as with the tx1001.

Quick Play

Need to change the name here. This version has to boot the OS to operate, which kind of makes it, well…. slow. With Media Center standard on Vista Premium I have to wonder why we need Quick Play at all if the OS has to load. And of course you can’t remap the buttons again.

Conclusion

The tx2011 has some really great upgrades and a few lingering annoyances compared to the tx1001. The dual digitizer works great and inking is wonderful. It’s as good as anything I’ve used before. Battery life is still a worry, unless you can upgrade to the 6-cell or 8-cell, and the fingerprint reader is plain annoying. Still, if I were making a decision between the two I would go for the tx2011 if the difference were less than $300 – $400. The updated active digitizer make it all worth it, especially if you take notes.

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