HP is the biggest seller of Tablet PCs in the corporate space. To be fair, there aren’t too many players in that space but HP made headway first with a funky space-age design and latterly with something a little more corporate.
The HP Pavilion tx1138ea hasn’t so much dusted down the older consumer look, more re-designed it to fit in with their new notebook ID but it still looks funky and unlike any other tablet out there. It’s worth pointing out that HP has played on the side of caution, as this isn’t a slate design, rather a notebook with a touchscreen, so can be used in a variety of ways. The build quality is stunning, as the sturdiness of the case, with extra protection behind the screen, will certainly take being carried around for large portions of the day.
To hit the low price point of this machine, you won’t find a digitised panel but instead uses a 12.1-inch touchscreen. It means you don’t need to use a special pen to activate tasks but by the nature of touchscreens, there is a slight haze when viewing the screen. It’s fine for writing documents and surfing the web but you don’t want to use this device for watching movies of editing photos.
Running Windows Vista Home Premium, you'll find Windows Tablet PC software running alongside. So, you can write directly on to the screen and it will be converted to text. It works quite well but the real benefit is that you can share the screen with others, great if you need to sketch an example for a child, or to play a game with them. The keyboard is a decent size and pleasantly comfortable to use.
As it’s intended to be used around the house, the 2.1kg weight is nice and portable but we found the battery life of a little over 2 hours less than we were expecting. We found ourselves leaving the power cable near the sofa and charging the device when sat there.
To keep the cost down, HP has opted to go with an AMD solution. Powered by the Turion 64 X2 Mobile processor and backed with 1024MB of memory, this is a reasonably quick machine and performed tasks with ease. With 120GB of storage, you can easily carry everything you need around with you. We did notice a fair degree of heat build-up on the right-hand side, though, which was less than ideal.
Being a tablet, connectivity is good with a Draft-N adapter built in for the fastest possible Wi-Fi connection. If you only have an 802.11g network at home, this is backward compatible so it will connect just at the slower speed.
The HP Pavilion tx1138ea is an interesting idea and one we enjoyed playing with.
If you like to carry your notebook around with you and can see the logical use of having a touchscreen, this is a pleasingly affordable and powerful device.
The only fault we had with it was the choice of screen, as it simply isn’t up to the job of watching movies on.