HP Pavilion tx2130ea tablet PC

When you think about tablet PCs, it's more than likely you'll think of a business tool. However, HP has taken a slightly different approach with the Pavilion tx2130ea and aimed it at the consumer market. By reducing the price to a more than affordable £699 and selling it through stores such as PC World it can reach a far wider audience.

The main difference between this device and HP's more expensive, business-focused tablets is the technology used in the screen. Instead of opting for the more expensive digitised panel, where you need a digital pen to activate the screen, the Pavilion tx2130ea uses a capacitive touchscreen display. This means you can use the supplied stylus or your finger to navigate around the screen.

Made from plastic, the chassis feels great to the touch and is robust enough for carrying around. The 12.1-inch screen sits on a central pivot that can be turned 180-degrees, changing the tx2130ea from a notebook into slate mode tablet.

The benefit, along with cost, is that touchscreens aren't as bulky and have far less of a hazy screen, so you can watch movies and edit photos without having a washed-out look to images. The downside is that you won't be able to rest your palm on the screen, as it will activate the display.

The machine itself is a well-built and portable tablet PC. Weighing 2.2kg, this is a light and portable machine to carry as a notebook. However, when in slate mode and being used as a tablet, we found it a little bulky and heavy in the crook of the arm. The result being you wouldn't want to carry it around for too long.

When using it in notebook mode, we found the keyboard to be highly usable. The keys are firmly attached and with little or no rattle as you type, you could quite comfortably never use the touchscreen functions of this portable PC.

HP includes two batteries in the box, a small one that offers 2 hours of battery from a full charge. However, the second larger pack proved impressive, as we managed to get over 4 hours from a single charge. This means you'll be able to carry it around with you for a good portion of the day.

When it comes to specification, you'll find costs have been kept down by the use of the AMD 2GHz Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-60, which is supported by 2048MB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. For word processing and daily tasks this is more than powerful enough and we found it ran Windows Vista Home Premium with no signs of lag.

Extra features are thin on the ground, which helps to keep the weight and cost down. However, there is a DVD rewriter fitted as standard, as well as a card reader. Wireless LAN uses the latest 802.11n connection and there is even Gigabit Ethernet for faster wired networks.

Verdict

Does the HP Pavilion tx2130ea work? HP may have cut corners to get this tablet PC to such an attractive price point but it hasn't reduced the overall quality of the finish, as this is a highly usable tablet PC. If you're looking for something a little different from your next notebook, this is certainly worth considering.