Review: HP HDX 16

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You’ve seen the second commercial from Microsoft’s Laptop Hunters series, right? You know, the one where G-diddy picks up the HP HDX 16 over a MacBook Pro. I won’t get into the PC vs Mac argument, but Giampaolo chose poorly because he didn’t know what he actually wanted.

Specs on our review unit are as follows:
• Intel C2D T9600 2.8GHz
• nVidia GeForce 9600M GT w/ 512MB DDR2 dedicated memory
• 16-inch HD HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920×1080)
• 320GB 5400RPM HDD
• 4GB of DDR2 SDRAM
• Intel Wi-Fi Link 5100 network connection and Bluetooth
• Blu-ray ROM w/ SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
• 6 cell lithium-ion battery
• HP Webcam
• Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit

Performance

We use Primate Labs Geekbench for benchmarking and the HDX 16 scored 3179 overall. Just to give you a frame of reference, the last-generation MacBook Pro with the same processor scored a 3671 on Geekbench. The complete breakdown can be found in the gallery.

Because of the fancy graphics card from nVidia I used 3DMark03 to see what sort of score we’d get out of it. The GeForce 9600M GT managed to score a 12,847. I played a few minutes of Sega’s Iron Man and it was pretty smooth.

Start up takes approximately 66 seconds while shutting down is about 40 seconds.

Battery Life

This where the HDX 16 underperforms and it’s something that should weigh heavily on your decision making process. Off the charger, the HDX 16 gets roughly 58 minutes during Blu-ray playback. For our “real world” test, I cruised the web for about three minutes, literally, and watched 26 minutes worth of Chuck on Hulu, which amounted to one hour and 27 minutes off of the remaining battery time under HP’s “balanced” power plan.

You’d expect more out of the 6 cell battery compared to others in the market, and we suspect the HD screen is juicing it for all its worth.

Hardware

• Dimensions – 14.9×10.0×1.70 inches and a whopping 7.06 lbs. It’s not portable and hurts my back.
• Speakers – Altec Lansing handles the audio on the HDX 16 and the entire speaker system is laid out across the top section of the bottom panel. They’re certainly loud, but start to crackle when maxed out. However, you can adjust bass and treble with the touch controls above the keyboard. Located on the bottom of the laptop near the power connector is an HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer that you really wouldn’t know was there unless you flipped the laptop over.
• Controls – located just above the keyboard are touch controls for wireless, bass/treble, volume, media playback and MediaSmart. They’re a bit finicky and you’ll need a bit of finesse and patience.
• Ports – located along the left side are the following ports: VGA, expansion port 3 connector, RJ-45, HDMI, eSATA/USB, USB, 1394 FireWire and an ExpressCard/54 slot. Along on the front are the following: 5-in-1 memory card reader (SD, MS/Pro, MMC, xD), IR and a mic/dual headphone port. Located on the right hand side of the laptop is the power connector, Kensington lock slot, USB, optical drive, TV antenna and the fourth USB port.
• Keyboard – Like other HP entertainment notebooks, the HDX 16 comes with a full-size keyboard with numpad. The keys have a nice finish to them and are very grippy.
• Track pad – The main issue with the track pad is it causes a lot of friction, so you’ll need to boost the speed of the cursor to actually get something done.

Screen

HP’s 16-inch HD screen is brilliant, but it’s far too glossy and I spent more time primping my hair than watching Chuck. It handles Blu-ray playback just fine with brilliant colors and sharp lines.

Conclusion

As a multimedia machine, the HDX 16 performs admirably, but the lackluster battery life and size make us long for something leaner and meaner. It can also get quite loud during graphics intensive processes, like, watching videos or playing games. But as a stationary machine (ie: plugged in) with a Blu-ray drive and HD screen it’s more than capable of keeping a multimedia junkie happy.

Product Page

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