HP Compaq TC4400 Tablet PC Convertible – Review (pics, specs)

by Scott Bellefeuille Reads (172,467)

HP Compaq TC4400 Tablet PC Convertible – Review

The HP TC4400 convertible Tablet PC is a refresh of the popular TC4200. The TC4400 exterior casing remains essentially the same as the TC4200. The new TC4400 is a solid business-class machine. The design exemplifies durability and endurance, yet hints at practical simplicity. The TC4400 boasts utility, professionalism and style to suit the most conservative of  business travelers.


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Specs (our review model):

  • OS – Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005

  • Intel Core Duo Processor T2500 (2.0-GHz, 667-MHz FSB, 2-MB-L2 cache)

  • 12.1-inch XGA Wide Viewing Angle Display

  • Seagate 80GB, 5400RPM Hard Drive

  • 512-MB DDR2 SDRAM, (4096-MB maximum)

  • Optical Drive (available separately)

  • Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell/ 55Wh)

  • Ports: RGB (monitor) port, TV-out (S-Video), 3 USB (2.0),
    External Mic jack, Headphone jack, RJ-45 LAN port,
    RJ-11 modem port, docking connector

  • Intel 950GMA — up to 224MB Dynamically Shared

  • Intel PRO/Wireless 802.11 a/b/g

  • Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit PCI Express Ethernet Controller

  • 3 Year Warranty


TC4400 Design and Build Quality

As was mentioned previously, the durability and compact design is a outstanding feature of this model. The TC4400 feels solid, as if it won’t crumble in a tight space in your bag or under a safe, tight grip. When the display on many Tablet convertibles and notebooks is closed, it makes me feel uneasy to apply any more pressure than the minimum required to prevent an “accidental” drop. The TC4400 feels exquisitely durable with the lid closed, open or when folded down into “tablet mode”.

The rotating display hinge has a “lasting” feel. The entire unit is constructed of strong black and charcoal plastics, giving the TC4400 a professional appearance with a basic, yet sleek style. HP states that a special “scratch-resistant, in-mold lamination” is used to keep the unit “looking newer longer”. Also included is a spill-resistant keyboard and shock mounted hard drive. Although I performed no “scratch”, “drop” or “spill” test of any kind, I will just go along with HP’s word and concur that the materials look like they will hold up for the long haul, and endure the many adventures of the road warrior.

This bantamweight full-featured convertible weighs in at a very reasonable 4.5lbs. The ports, switches, pen slot and indicator lights are all in logical places which makes for a better user experience. To keep the unit compact, HP decided to forgo a built-in optical drive which I can live with. However, one slight disappointment is a lack of external stereo sound. There is oddly just one speaker on the left side of the unit. To hear audio in stereo with the TC4400, you’ll need headphones or external speakers to plug into the headphone jack. Luckily the fan on the TC4400 is so quiet, you can hear the hard drive’s lowly murmur over it. So at least you won’t need to crank up any mp3′s to cover up that kind of racket! (Oh how I hate fan noise!)

Like the previous TC series model, the TC4400 does not disperse uncomfortable heat out of the vents, nor do the hand rests or the base get unpleasantly hot. The only time I noticed any heat issue is when the battery is charging.

A Close Look at the TC4400


(view large image) Front View

The front of the TC4400 has four function indicator lights, which at different times illuminate blue, red, amber and green to indicate the various statusof each individual corresponding hardware. The IR port for connecting to PDA’s, cell phones and remote controls is to the right of the lights. In the center is the push-button latch to release the display.


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Rear: USB port, modem port, lan, AC in, VGA out, S-Video out.


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Right Side: headphone jack, mic jack, USB, PCMCIA slot, multi-card reader.


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Left Side: Kensington lock, heat vent, wireless lan on/off, USB, customizable “quick launch” button, power, mono speaker.


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Underside: docking port, extra battery connector, RAM compartment, primary battery, shock-mounted hard disk compartment.


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Screen Edge: pen release switch, external mic, scroll switch and of course a “control+alt+delete” button (“just in case” you experience a “rare” problem with Windows lock-ups LOL!)

Display

The TC4400 has a 12.1 inch, XGA (1,024 x 768 pixel resolution) electromagnetic touchscreen. This display produces crisp text and exhibits even lighting, although it is not especially bright. The screen surface has a matte finish that provides adequate traction for writing with the pen, minimizing slippage. Our review model was free of any stuck or “dead” pixels.

Graphics

The TC4400 features Intel’s most recent Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with up to 224MB shared memory architecture. As the TC4400 is geared towards the business user, this model is not going to shine as a gaming machine. The latest integrated graphics chip from Intel will however drive large external flat panel LCDs (supports up to a 1680×1050 resolution) and has plenty of power for the most demanding Flash embedded Power Point presentations.

Speaker

Notice that we call it a speaker, as in only ONE. The TC4400 has one mono speaker. Although this works for Windows XP prompts, it is not going to do any justice to listening to your favorite mp3s or DVD playback (external drive required). The motherboard luckily has stereo output, so grabbing a good pair of headphones or external speakers will do the trick for any audiophiles suffering from withdrawals.

Keyboard/TouchPad/Pen

Despite the compact design of the TC4400, the spill-resistant keyboard is very comfortable to use. The keys are responsive and are easy to adapt to even after hopping on after using a full-sized desktop keyboard all day. The touchpad has a smooth, responsive surface and allows vertical scrolling. Like the Lenovo/IMB ThinkPad models, the TC4400 also includes a tiny pointer ( the trackpoint) with a dimpled rubber top for an extra comfortable grip. ThinkPad users who move into this model will feel right at home. There are four rubber coated mouse buttons. One set is under the trackpad and a second set is placed right below the spacebar. The addition of the second pair offers extra versatility for the most demanding users. The buttons have a nice feel and don’t require excess pressure to engage a response.

The TC4400 pen is manufactured by Wacom electromagnetic pen does not require batteries. The pen is a bit shorter than average, but more importantly the “right click” button doesn’t cause interference with writing. The pen is housed in a slot on the left side of the TC4400 display.

Processor and Performance

Our HP TC4400 review unit is powered by the Intel Core Duo Processor T2500 (2.0-GHz, 667-MHz FSB, 2-MB-L2 cache).

We used SuperPI to calculate the number Pi to 2 million digits in this raw number crunching benchmark. This open source benchmark application allows the user to change the number of digits of Pi that can be calculated from 16 thousand to 32 million. The benchmark, which uses 20 iterations in the test, was set to 2 million digits.

Comparison of tablet models using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):

Model Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 13s
Toshiba Portege M400
(1.83GHz Core Duo
1m 19s
Toshiba Tecra M4 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 45s
Toshiba R15 Tablet PC (1.6GHz Dothan PM) 2m 8s
Fujitsu ST5000 (1.1GHz Dothan PM) 2m 37s

 

PCMark performance benchmarks for the HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo) compared to the Toshiba M400 (1.83GHz Core Duo) simulating multiple computing tasks:

Futuremark PCMark04 Scores HP TC4400 Tablet PC
(2.0GHz Core Duo)
Toshiba Portege M400
(1.83GHz Core Duo)
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression 6.73 MB/s 6.25MB/s
Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption 51.43 MB/s 53.28MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression 51.69 MB/s 47.61 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing 20.77 MPixels/s 21.66 MPixels/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning 4459.55 MB/s 4637.05 MB/s
Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check 4.01 KB/s 4.61 KB/s
File Decryption 59.75 MB/s 54.58 MB/s
Audio Conversion 3064.8 KB/s 2823.21 KB/s
Web Page Rendering 5.2 Pages/s 5.98 Pages/s
DivX Video Compression 72.11 FPS 69.46 FPS
Physics Calculation and 3D 104.39 FPS 100.21 FPS
Graphics Memory – 64 Lines 500.61 FPS (integrated GPU) 481.44 FPS (integrated GPU)
3DMark ’03 Score N/A N/A

 

Using “HD Tune” we tested the 80GB, 5400RPM hard disk read and write access benchmarks.


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Heat and Fan

HP did a fine job in balancing heat and fan noise. The fan on this model rarely turns on until the processor reaches well-above 50 degrees Celsius. Even when the fan engages, it is whisper quiet, a characteristic that is uncommon with many PC notebook fans.

Wireless Connectivity

Our TC4400 includes the integrated Intel Pro Wireless 802.11 a/b/g card. We did not experience any drops and the TC4400 maintained a nice steady 54.0 Mbps connection consistently on two separately tested access points. Overall we found the wireless connectivity on the TC4400 to be trouble-free and reliable. The TC4400 can be custom configured with a bluetooth module for users as well.

Battery

Using Battery Eater Pro we tested the TC4400 under extreme conditions by taxing the CPU, hard drive and video (with wireless on and screen at full brightness). We were able to drain the battery in 88 minutes. Real world use is about an hour longer providing about 2.5 – 3 hours use with Wi-Fi on.

System Info
Manufacture Hewlett-Packard
Model HP Compaq tc4400
ModelEx B.0B
OS Windows XP Service Pack 2
CPU Info
CPU Manufacture Intel Corporation
CPU Model Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2500 @ 2.00GHz
CPU Frequency ~1996Mhz
CPU Extensions | MMX | SSE2 | HT | Enchanted SpeedStep
CPU Cache Info
Level 1 Instructions 32
Level 1 Data 32
Level 2 Data 2048
System RAM info
Total Memory: 504Mb
Memory slots 2 ( 1: 0Mb; 2: 512Mb; )
Display Device Info
Adapter Mobile Intel(R) 945GM Express Chipset Family
Resolution 1024×768
OpenGL render device Intel 945GM
OpenGL driver version 1.4.0 – Build 4.14.10.4485
Vertex shader version 0.0
Pixel shader version 2.0
Hard Disk Drive Info
S.M.A.R.T. Supported and Enabled
HDD Model ST98823AS
HDD Serial 3PK038QE
HDD FirmWare 3.05
Main Battery Info
Device Name Primary
Manufacture Hewlett-Packard
Serial #
Unique ID 00024 2005/12/29Hewlett-PackardPrimary
Chemistry Lithium Ion
Temperature Termal Control Not Present
Designed Capacity 49864mWh
Full Charged Capacity 49864mWh
Designed Voltage 10.8V
Current Voltage 9.751V
Manufacture Date 0/0/0
Cycles Count 0
Cells count 3
Force charge support Not Supported
Force discharge support Not Supported
Benchmark results
CPU BEmarks 0
GPU BEmarks 0
RAM BEmarks 0
HDD BEmarks 0
Work Done
Pi calculations 69671 Cycles
HDD read\write 6944 Mb
Fames Rendered 489817 Frames
Benchmark Options
Resolution 800x600x32
FullScreen Disabled
Mode Classic
Results
Total time 1:28:01
Discharge rate (minimum) 4294929755 mWh
Discharge rate (maximum) 4294938071 mWh
Discharge rate (average) 4294930607 mWh
Result Graph

The 6-cell high capacity Lithium-Ion (55Wh) battery provides about 2.5 hours of “real world” use (as we mentioned above) with the wireless turned on and the screen set at 100% brightness. The TC4400 also features an “ambient light sensor” that can help to conserve battery power automatically by automatically setting screen brightness.

Security


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The HP TC4400 has a Biometric Fingerprint Reader and the TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip. Also included is the HP ProtectTools Security Manager software..

Even a Smart Card and/or fingerprints can be registered to really put the lock on any possible intruders. These are invaluable features for the traveling user with the most sensitive data stored on the TC4400.

Using the “Credential Manager” applications can be registered to prevent unwanted access. This extra security goes well beyond the any measures included in Windows XP.

DVD+/-RW SuperMulti with Double Layer MultiBay II Drive (optional)
Going with the HP optional drive makes for a 100% compatible optical drive that is lightweight and a nice match for the TC4400.


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Dimensions 0.37 x 5.51 x 5.04 in (0.95 x 14.0 x 12.8 cm)
Weight 0.45 lb (205 g)
Access Times Random <150 ms CD
<125 ms DVD
Max Data Transfer Rate 24X CD-ROM 3,600 KB/s
8X DVD 10,800 KB/s
24X CD-R 3,600 KB/s
10X CD-RW 1,500 KB/s
4X DVD+R 5,400 KB/s
2.4X DVD+RW 3,240 KB/s
4X DVD-R 5,400 KB/s
2X DVD-RW 2,700 KB/s
2X DVD-RAM 2,700 KB/s
Transfer Mode Multiword DMA Mode 2
Interface EIDE
Supported Media (read) CD-DA, CD+(E)G, CD-MIDI, CD-TEXT, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, MIXED MODE CD, CD-I, CD-I Bridge (Photo-CD, Video CD), Multisession CD (Photo-CD, CD-EXTRA, Portfolio, CD-R, CD-RW), CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM (DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18), DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW
Supported Media (write) CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW
Max Media Capacity (read) 8.5 GB
Max Media Capacity (write) 4.7 GB
Transport Tray Loading

Service and Support

The HP TC4400 is backed by a 3 year warranty. For this review, I placed my “traditional random support call” to HP at 1-800-474-6836. I called the number at 8:31 a.m. (PST) on a Friday morning. I went from the recording to an actual human being is 1 minute and 21 seconds.

HP also offers a live chat support option via the website as well.

The Bottom Line

The HP TC4400 is a solid, business-class, full-featured Tablet PC convertible. I would recommend this model to consumers and business users looking for a portable, no-nonsense, secure Tablet PC Convertible. The TC4400, with its Core Duo CPU and solid build is powerful and built for the road.

Pros

  • Solid construction, compact design
  • Excellent security features
  • 3 year warranty

Cons

  • Single external speaker
  • No built-in optical drive

 




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