HP Pavilion tx2500 First Look Review

by Reads (152,332)

by Jerry Jackson

HP unveiled a number of new products at this summer’s "Connecting Your World" media summit in Berlin. One of the products on hand was the all-new HP Pavilion tx2500 convertible Tablet PC. This update to the tx2000 tablet features the latest AMD technology promising the highest level of performance we’ve seen from any tx-series tablet to date. We had a few brief moments to spend some hands-on time with the tx2500, so here’s a look at our first look.


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The tx2500 on display at the "Connecting Your World" event had the following specifications:

  • AMD Turion X2 Ultra TL-84 2.3GHz processor
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics
  • 12.1" WXGA Touch Panel LCD
  • 4GB DDR2-800MHz Memory
  • 250GB Toshiba 5400RPM Hard Drive
  • 802.11n Atheros Wireless
  • 8-Cell Battery

Build and Design

Clearly the tx2500 inherits the design elements of its predecessor, the tx2000. The tx2500 has a high-gloss HP Imprint Finish, same as the tx2000 series called the "Echo" Imprint Finish. Like its predecessor the lid is glossy black, and it has the Echo pattern, which also extends inside to the silver keyboard. It’s a very sleek design, but it is somewhat vulnerable to fingerprints smudges. That said, the Imprint Finish is remarkably durable and resistant to scratches.


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The tx2500 feels solid and weighs in around 4.23 pounds with the standard 6-cell battery. It gets a little heavy to carry around in tablet mode, but it does come packed full of media-rich features not found on many other tablets. You can also substitute the weight saver in place of the optical drive.

Again, like the tx2000 Entertainment Tablet PC, the tx2500 has a touchscreen and active digitizer, which means you can use just your finger to navigate or use the pen if you find that more reliable. The pen is accurate and responsive as well. The tx2500 still comes packed with a media remote (stored in the ExpressCard slot) and the Altec Lansing speakers, so watching movies or listening to music is as simple and straightforward as it is on any notebook.

Display

The 12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800) display is both grainy and reflective, but this is very common with tablets. The screen is hard to read in the sunlight and strong overhead indoor lighting may create strong reflections in the glossy finish. The viewing angles are quite good and as mentioned previously the tx2500 has both a touchscreen and active digitizer.


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The screen automatically changes orientation when rotated into tablet mode. At the highest brightness setting the screen is bright and the colors are bold. Bottom line, the screen is very nice, but isn’t "perfect."

Keyboard/Touchpad/Pen

The keyboard on the tx2500 feels remarkably solid. The keys have excellent travel, cushion and response. The entire keyboard doesn’t show any significant flex and is nice for typing. The use of the Imprint Finish on the keyboard is something that you will likely either love or hate. The keyboard is durable, and the Imprint Finish protects the text printed on the keys from rubbing off over time thanks to those greasy fingers. Of course, the glossy finish also tends to show off smudges from those same greasy fingers.


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The touchpad is still the much-loved perforated design. I really love this touchpad design and I’m sad to see that HP didn’t include the same touchpad design in all of the Pavilion notebooks this year. I like this design very much because it doesn’t get worn down easily and is responsive. Your finger also doesn’t slide off the touchpad because it is indented in the palm rest area.

The pen is beefy and durable, but isn’t loaded with features like those found on many Wacom pens. It reads the screen when it’s about an inch above and then disables the touchscreen, this way your hand doesn’t interfere when writing. Some users rest the "meat" of their palm on the screen when writing and since the tx2500 also has a touchscreen this would create a problem without the ability to disable touch. The Wacom technology used is great, but remember the touch feature will be activated again if you pick up the pen, so be careful about how you move the pen. The pen has an eraser on the end as well, which is a great feature for taking notes because you can flip the pen over and erase your mistakes.

Processor and Performance: AMD’s Puma Roars

The new tx2500 utilizes the latest generation of processors from AMD, and the AMD Turion X2 Ultra TL-84 2.3GHz processor is part of AMD’s new "Puma" platform. The heart of Puma really is the ability to offer a "total solution" in terms of both the raw processor power and the graphics/video performance. The latest generation integrated graphics from AMD’s ATI team offer a level of video and gaming performance we just haven’t seen on tablets with integrated graphics in the past.

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to run 3DMark06 benchmarks on the tx2500 in Berlin, I was able to run an HD video file and a game demo file that I had on a USB flash drive. All I can say is that the new ATI integrated graphics solution in the tx2500 clearly performs better than the previous generation integrated solutions from ATI, Nvidia, or Intel. Again, it’s hard to give specifics when I couldn’t run benchmarks, but the tx2500 in Berlin seemed to have video performance similar to a low-end dedicated graphics card in a current-generation notebook.

Ports and Features

Overall, the tx2500 continues to offer much the same port arrangement as the previous generation tx2000. Although I’d love to have HDMI added to the list of ports, the tx2500 already offers an impressive array of ports given the small footprint. HP prides itself on the fact that the tx-series tablets offer a great entertainment solution. Most consumers won’t be disappointed with the feature set and the entertainment features inside this tablet … but HDMI would be great.

Front view of the tx2500 with audio ports.


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Left side view: Power jack, memory card reader, ExpressCard slot, optical drive.


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Right side view: USB, Ethernet, docking station port, VGA out, S-Video.


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Back side view: 8-cell extended battery, modem, two USB ports, and security lock slot.


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Speakers

The audio quality coming out of the tx2500 never fails to impress. The Altec Lansing stereo speakers deliver a level of sound quality that quite frankly outperforms the speakers on many 15.4" notebooks. While the built-in speakers inside this tablet certainly can’t provide music volume levels good enough for a crowded party experience, you can get loud and distortion-free sound for movies, conference calls, webcasts, or your personal music-listening enjoyment.

More to Come

Our first impressions of the new tx2500 are positive. HP continues to demonstrate their commitment to making feature-rich, consumer-friendly tablets at reasonable prices. With back-to-school shopping just a few months away, it’s a safe bet the tx2500 will be at the top of many students wish lists. Stay tuned for our full review of the HP Pavilion tx2500 in the coming weeks.



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