Review posted June 19, 2007 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
In the past few years small Tablet PC notebooks with decent specs haven’t been cheap because the display’s digitizer significantly increases cost. After nearly 5 years on the market, tablet PCs have improved (both hardware and software) and come down in price. The HP Pavilion tx1000 series offers a dual core 1.8GHz AMD processor with a gig of RAM and plenty of hard drive space for $1,125 ($999 without the touch screen). For students who need a notebook that’s fast enough for schoolwork and can be used as a digital notepad, this is a great entry level notebook with a touch screen and pen input features. The tx1000 series is also a good choice for those who wish to lie back on the couch and use a finger to navigate on screen when web surfing and to watch videos in tablet mode. The TX1000 series includes Wi-Fi, a LightScribe dual layer DVD burner, NVIDIA integrated graphics, plenty of ports and a 5-in-1 card reader.
Like many other notebooks, you can build your own tx1000 when you order it directly from HP’s web site. The bare minimum starts at $999 with a standard LCD, 1.8GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 processor, 1 GB RAM, dual layer DVD burner and 80 GB hard drive. The touch screen adds $125—surprisingly little, for a total $1,125 price tag. We received the HP Pavilion tx1000z with a 2GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and 160 GB hard drive for this review; and our package also included 2 batteries (4 cell and 6 cell), two headsets and WiFi 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth. The cost for our package was $1,641.98 after a $150 instant savings. There are many model numbers in the tx1000 series including tx1000z, tx1000xx, tx11xx and tx1100xx. The numbers can be very confusing, but that’s how HP tracks notebook sales through various channels and various regions around the world. Chances are you will run into a certain model for your region and for your channel (consumer vs. corporate). And as for the “z”, HP uses it in their product model numbers to indicate the AMD processors vs. Intel (“t” indicates Intel) processors. The TX1000 series is currently available only with AMD processors.
The HP Pavilion ships with Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit) and you can upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit) for $149. The HP comes with Microsoft Works 8.0 and trial versions of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Edition. HP Total Care Advisor for security and maintenance is pre-installed as is PC recovery (Softthinks restore solution) on the D drive partition. No back up is included but you can opt for Roxio Backup MyPC software when building to order. No CD/DVD burner software is included either, but again you can option to add Roxio software for both functions when ordering the notebook or use Vista’s disc burning features.
Design and Ergonomics
Just a couple of years ago, HP notebooks weren’t exactly shiny and sexy. The recent Pavilion notebooks change that image with their glossy covers, imprint finish and sleek looking (though not yet exotic) design. The Pavilion tx1000z is no exception: like the recently reviewed 17” HP Pavilion dv9220, the imprint finish’s faint silver swirling lines against the piano black casing gives the notebook a touch of class. The only down side is that it shows fingerprints freely. The HP Pavilion has a widescreen display with HP’s QuickPlay DVD control buttons surrounding the screen, making it easy to watch movies when the Pavilion is in tablet mode (rotate the display to switch to tablet mode). These control buttons are also easy to press accidentally when you are handling the notebook.
HP's Imprint Finish.
The textured trackpad surrounded by the interior silver imprint finish.
The keyboard has good travel and spacing, and the trackpad is textured for better control. The trackpad buttons are tighter than some other notebooks, and you will need to press firmly. Most of the I/O ports are on the right side of the notebook and the optical drive lives on the left side. The audio jacks are in the front, along with the consumer IR port.
The notebook weighs 4.23 lbs which is lighter than the 12” Gateway E155C (C120X) and the 12” Fujitsu Lifebook t4010 Tablet PCs. This weight is measured with the 4-cell battery, DVD drive and touch screen option. The 6-cell battery will weigh a bit more.
Display and Multimedia
The HP Pavilion tx1000 series has a 12.1” WXGA BrightView display in widescreen format (1280 x 800) that’s popular for movie playback and gaming. Rather than using a more expensive active digitizer, the tx1000 has a touch screen so you can use not only the included stylus but also your finger. The good part is reduced cost and finger-friendliess, the bad part is the touch screen isn’t pinpoint accurate nor does it offer many levels of pressure sensitivity, as do active digitizers used with EMR pens. The display calibrates well and it accurate enough for most uses, but graphics artists who require high accuracy and many levels of pressure sensitivity for drawing and digital painting should opt for an active digitizer tablet PC. The display responds to finger (or fingernail) tapping better than to the stylus even after successful stylus calibration.
Though Tablet PC displays are sometimes dimmer and murkier than standard LCDs, the HP looks quite good. The display is brighter and more color saturated than older tablets and even some newer ones like the Gateway C120X. In fact, the display is great for movie watching and viewing photos. The viewing angle is very good when viewing text but small when watching movies and viewing photos.
HP has done some good work with multimedia on their notebooks. The HP Pavilion dv9220 wow’d us in multimedia functions, as you might expect from a 17”, but even their 15” dv6000 series was replete with strong multimedia features. The tx1000z isn’t a multimedia-focused notebook but it has some bells and whistles that make for a decent multimedia machine. HP bundles HP QuickPlay 3.0 which includes a mobile TV module that supports Internet streaming TV. You can use the hardware controls on the side of the display when in tablet mode or just use your fingers to control playback. HP also includes a small remote control to work with your AV applications (stow it in the ExpressCard slot). Like the bigger Pavilion modes, the tx1000z comes with integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers that are loud with full and pleasing sound. The Pavilion uses Realtek’s HD audio chipset and has two headset jacks (one of which supports S/PDIF) and a mic jack.
Performance and Horsepower
The HP Pavilion tx1000z ships with an ADM Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile TL-60 processor with integrated NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 graphics that has up to 128MB shared memory. The Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core chipset is AMD’s answer for thin and light notebook PCs that requires high multi-tasking performance. It supports simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing environments and is compatible with 64-bit Windows Vista. The base model comes with the 1.8GHz AMD TL-56 and you can upgrade it up to the 1.9GHz TL-58 (+$25), 2.0 GHz TL-60 (+$50) or the 2.2 GHz TL-64 for $125 extra when building your own. The processor has 1 meg of level 2 cache (512KB+512KB). The Turion 64 X2 is a good performer in the tx1000 and the benchmarks show it. Popular applications like web browsers, email and Office applications load fast and perform well. It streams media such as music, online radio, Netflix movies with ease. Hardcore gamers who want to play current demanding games like F.E.A.R or the latest QUAKE with MegaTexture and graphics features set to high should look elsewhere (as is generally the case for budget and thin-and-light notebooks). However older and less demanding games such as Rise of Nations 2 and board/puzzle/online casual games run fine on the Pavilion. The HP Pavilion tx1000z ships with 1GB of DDR2 system memory (2 DIMM slots) with the option to upgrade to 2GB which is recommended by HP especially if you want to run Aero (the new desktop in Windows Vista). The Pavilion comes with a 80GB (5400 RPM) SATA hard drive with the option to upgrade to 120, 160 or a 200GB drive. One more thing about AMD processors: they run hot. The tx1000z can blow some serious hot air via the fan in the upper and right corner. So be careful not to let that spot contact your skin.
The TX1000 with the 2GHz Turion 64 X2 benchmarked very well for a machine in this class. We use Futuremark’s PCMark05 to benchmark notebooks, and the results are as follows:
The HP Pavilion tx1000 gets a 3.0 score in the Windows Experience Index, which is what you’d expect from a student and business PC. The HP scores very high on processor, RAM and hard disk speed, but the graphics and 3D score, which are 3.2 and 3 respectively, drag the final score down. Microsoft recommends a score of 3 to run Aero well, the new “glass-like” desktop in Windows Vista, and the TX1000 had no problems running Aero well.
The HP Pavilion tx1000 series comes with HP’s LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+/-R/RW dual layer optical drive. LightScribe drives can label discs but you must use LightScribe discs if you wish to use the labeling feature. You can use the DVD controls on the display bezel to control DVD playback. Don’t confuse the HP QuickPlay with the instant-on feature found on the other notebooks like the Sony VAIO and Windows XP HP Pavilion notebooks. With Vista installed, HP QuickPlay boots into Windows and runs QuickPlay as a Windows application.
Networking and Ports
The HP Pavilion tx1000 series comes with integrated 802.11/b/g WLAN and you can add 802.11a and Bluetooth as options. The Wi-Fi radio had good range and maintained reliable connections in our tests. You can go beyond 40 feet (through walls) from the access point and still stream Netflix movies at the high quality setting. Bluetooth works less reliably than Wi-Fi and the notebook had trouble finding a number of phones including the Treo 700p. For wired network connections, the HP Pavilion offers integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Eternet (RJ-45 connector) and an integrated 56k modem (RJ-11). The TX1000 has an ExpressCard/34 card slot.
External ports include 3 USB 2.0 ports (one on the right and two on the back), a 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, Memory Stick), an S-Video port, a VGA port and a consumer IR port. It has two headset jacks with one supporting S/PDIF and a mic jack.
In the “old days” a few years back, Tablet PCs ran on ultra low voltage processors that were slower and required less power. That’s changed with Tablet PCs like the HP Pavilion tx1000 series with its strong dual-core processor architecture and strong entertainment capabilities. So don’t expect exceptional battery runtimes. The HP Pavilion comes with 4-cell Lithium Ion battery which is a bit power-deprived. You can order the 6-cell battery which adds a small extension to the notebook and will cost you an extra $39.00 (a worthy investment). You can of course option to get both batteries if you plan to use the notebook away from an AC outlet for long periods of time. How long are the runtimes for each option? Sadly, not very long. When using the 4 cell battery, we got about 1 hour and 45 minutes of web surfing time with Wi-Fi on using when using the HP recommended power settings except with the display (we set it to 75% as opposed to 50%). The 6-cell battery fared better at 3.5 hours when surfing the web via Wi-Fi, booting into Vista twice and launching HP QuickPlay (we did not play a DVD). For the low additional price, we recommend that you get the 6-cell battery that’s a better match for the Pavilion’s power requirements. HP includes a compact 65W 100-240V AC adapter.
With the extended battery installed.
Tablet PC Software
You can purchase the HP Pavilion tx1000 series with the integrated touch screen option or without. Either way, the tx1000 comes with a swivel display. Windows Vista integrates all of the features found in XP Tablet Edition and more. Pen-aware software includes handwriting recognition software, voice recognition, OneNote 2007 (trial) and Microsoft’s Windows Journal software. The handwriting recognition works very well, as you’d expect if you’ve used it under Windows XP Tablet Edition. The software can digitize anything you write on the screen into text fairly accurately and super fast, even if your handwriting isn’t nearly perfect. The Pavilion’s touch screen needs more pressure than active digitizer Tablet PCs. The more common (and also more expensive) active digitizers use a special EMR pen that need not even quite touch the display to track your pen as a cursor. Though it’s not an active digitizer, it does support using top of the pen as eraser and other tablet features. Windows Journal is bundled with the Pavilion and you can use pen-input in this application. The handwriting recognition works very well-- just press firmly.
Voice recognition works via headset, desktop mic and other microphones you can plug into the jack in the front of the tx1000z. As always, a headset with built-in mic works the best and you should to go through the tutorial that also adapts to your speech patterns. Compared to the handwriting recognition, speech recognition is less accurate. Unless you spend an extensive amount of time training it, voice recognition won’t be as fast as touch typing (if you’re decent typist).
The HP Pavilion tx1000z stands strong as an entry-level notebook, especially for those who are looking for a touch screen and tablet features. The specs and features are beefed up sufficiently to make for a strong computing and multimedia experience. The notebook feels speedy and is good looking. At $1,125, it should attract student, business users and first time tablet PC users but graphics artists who require an active digitizer.
Pro: Sleek design with the imprint finish. Small and light. Good performance in most tasks except 3D graphics. Integrated optical drive. Nice Altec Lansing stereo speakers and HP QuickPlay for your DVD pleasure. Integrated web camera is great for Skype users and the fingerprint scanner enhances the security and user experience. Support for ExperessCard to work with 3G cellular networks. Price is great for the product you get.
Con: Digitizer requires a heavy touch and could be more responsive. The notebook runs hot (like many AMD processor powered machine). Battery life is short. As with most notebooks these days, there's plenty of bloatware installed.
Price: $999.99 base price.You can build your own and add on options.
Warranty:One year of hardware parts and labor coverage and One year toll-free, 24 x 7 support.
Display: 12.1" WXGA BrightView widescreen display with optional integrated touch screen. 1280 x 800 resolution. NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 chipset.
Battery: Comes with a 4-cell Lithium Ion battery, a 6-cell Lithium Ion battery is optional.
Performance: 1.8GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Tl-56 processor (build to order option allows up up to 2.2GHz), L2 512KB+512KB cache, 1GB DDR 2 RAM (2 DIMM) upgradeable to 2GB.
Drives: 80GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive (160GB in some retail stores), 200GB drive available as an option. LightScribe DVD+/-RW with Double Layer with Super Multi 8X DVD+/-R/RW with double Layer as an option.
Audio: Realtek HD audio chipset. Integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers. 3.5mm mic-in jack and two headset jacks (one of which supports S/PDIF).
Networking: Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with 802.11 a as an add-on option. Integrated 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet and 56k modem. Bluetooth available as add-on option.
3 Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0)
1 Expansion Port 3
Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver)
1 RJ-11 (modem)
1 RJ-45 (LAN)
Security: Fingerprint scanner.
Software: Windows Vista Home Premium included with Vista Business and Vista Ultimate as upgrade options. Other full versions of software include:
HP PhotoSmart Essentials
Muvee AutoProducer Basic Edition 6.x (with 20 day trial full version)
Adobe Acrobat Reader 8.x
Microsoft Works 8.0
Microsoft Windows Media Player 11
HP Games Powered by Wild Tangent
Roxio Creator 9 Basic
HP QuickPlay 3.x (with karaoke module)
Corel Painter Essentials