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LisaGModerator
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Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input
      #35874 - 02/02/10 09:01 PM

The HP TouchSmart TM2 or TM2t does a 180 from HP's long-running line of TX convertible tablet PCs. Gone are the plasticky looks and AMD CPUs that shouted "budget PC". For roughly the same price as the outgoing TouchSmart TX2z, the TM2 has a brushed aluminum casing and chiclet keyboard borrowed from the high-end HP Envy line. The HP TM2 has a non-grainy capacitive touch screen and a Wacom active digitizer for pressure-sensitive drawing and note-taking. The new TouchSmart runs on an Intel 1.3GHz CULV SU7300 processor that's long on battery life and cool running and it comes standard with a fast 7200 RPM hard drive. We look at the retail store model, the TM2-1070US, that comes with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM, a 320 gig hard drive, 3 USB ports, HDMI, Intel's 4500HD graphics, WiFi 802.11n and a webcam. This full review includes 3 video reviews.





Read our HP TouchSmart TM2 review.


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Lisa Gade
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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #35888 - 02/03/10 09:55 PM

Lisa, I just wanted to thank you for the complete and well-thought-out review! I've been waiting for a decent one, as the stuff so far has been cursory and written by folks who wouldn't know a tablet PC from an iPad! Lol! Glad I found this site and your intelligent and complete review. I think this is the first time I've ever read a review where ALL my questions were answered. Bravo.

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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #35889 - 02/03/10 10:15 PM

feralboy, it doesn't happen often, but I *am* blushing. Glad the review was helpful! After 5 intensive days with the TM2 and 3 video reviews, the full review felt like a magnum opus .

But if you do think of any questions, feel free to post them!


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woozie3
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #35890 - 02/04/10 01:42 AM

Hi Lisa,
I agree- your review is the most comprehensive and informative one available. I'm just wondering if you can provide a picture of the tablet displaying a pdf file in portrait mode- will the doc fit in fully without having to zoom out? How easy is it to edit a pdf?

Thanks!


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: woozie3]
      #35891 - 02/04/10 09:59 AM

In terms of document display and screen real estate it's like most 12" notebooks and many 13" notebooks since it has a standard 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display common to both.

You can see a full page at a time at 100% with many documents, but it does depend on what page size layout the document was created with. For a standard 8.5 x 11 PDF, yes 100% works unless the margins are out to the very edge (which would be unusual).

As for ease of editing, that depends on what app you're using to edit PDFs.

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woozie3
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #35898 - 02/05/10 02:19 AM

Thanks for that. I've never had a 12" notebook nor looked at one carefully before. Judging from comments on other sites, I got the impression that only SXGA screens are good for viewing pdfs at 100%. Sounded like the 1280 x 800 resolution was an issue for those people wanting to do a lot of pdf viewing/editing. I couldn't understand the problem without pictures to illustrate. I'm glad you don't think it'll be an issue.

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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: woozie3]
      #35899 - 02/05/10 02:46 AM

lol! Can't wait to see a TM2 in person. I've been looking and unfortunately it looks like it's going to be pretty scarce on the ground. It appears that Best Buy, Staples, and Office Max are carrying it online only. I sure hope it's just because it's new and not shipping in quantities yet...this appears to be the best (only?) hope for the tablet PC to gain any traction this year. As a long-time tablet user, I've been evangelizing them for years, but since people generally can't put their hands on them (aside from the TX series), they've been a hard sell.

Oh, and if there ever was a time for HP to relaunch the TC1100 line, this was the year. Seriously, what are they thinking?

And one more thing, Lisa -- your drawing was fantastic! Is your tablet art posted somewhere on the net where it can be seen? A writer, revier, and an artist rolled into one? A true renaissance woman. Keep up the good work (:


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ypocaramel
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #35901 - 02/05/10 10:25 AM

Quick and prompt as always, Lisa. I was quite worried HP would mess something up in what seemed like a great machine, but that put fears to rest. Though your cat seems a little less enthusiastic about the TM2

The glare screen is disappointing on an highly mobile machine though, since a good matte displays can achieve good color response and contrast. The X200 is rightfully more expensive - the display is not only matte but it's IPS, a technology with better viewing angles and color accuracy.


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #35902 - 02/05/10 10:25 AM

feralboy: I would expect it will end up in stores eventually, since the tx2z was in those same stores. Inventory is very slim right now, and some large retailers like Fry's haven't gotten any at all. Staples carries them (though stock is super-limited) in a few flagship stores located in suburban shopping meccas.

Thanks for the drawing compliment-- it runs in the family so I just got lucky. I had a site where I posted some digital art and oil paintings but I haven't done anything with it in years (this site keeps me too busy!).

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Lisa Gade
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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: ypocaramel]
      #35904 - 02/05/10 10:34 AM

ypocaramel: Actually, our cat was really fascinated by the TM2! He rarely inserts himself into our video reviews just to see a piece of tech .

You're totally right about the merits of a matte display and more expensive display technologies like IPS. Since this is a consumer model costing half the price, HP can do only so much. And it certainly is an improvement over the matte but grainy and lower contrast tx2z. Now if this was HP's Professional EliteBook 2730 we'd give it a much harder time.

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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #35907 - 02/05/10 05:15 PM

Thanks. Yeah, that makes sense. Sure wish they could move a little quicker though, as I'd like to get my hands on one. A friend wants one too, and this will be his first tablet, so he's eager too.

As for inherited talent, that a discussion for a whole nother day (:


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #35910 - 02/06/10 10:59 AM

BTW folks, we'll be getting the 1.6GHz with ATI dedicated graphics model in this month and we'll add benchmarks for it so you can compare it to the base 1.3GHz with Intel 4500HD graphics that we reviewed.

I decided to order it for myself and couldn't resist HP's $300 off coupon (use the code NBLB654877) when ordering from the HP US website (thanks to the folks at tabletpcreview for posting that code!). Right now, HP is also offering good discounts on additional RAM and a 500 gig hard drive when you build to order on their website.




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Lisa Gade
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Edited by LisaG (02/06/10 11:04 AM)


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aroma
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #35917 - 02/07/10 11:19 PM

Hello all, I just put my order in on Saturday and when I checked back today, the NBLB654877 promo code no longer works.

Quick question, do you think the HP2's screen will, after say a year of writing with the pen, start to show those translucent-like scribbles in the portion of the screen where the user frequently uses the pen? You sometimes see signs of these "scribble" on the center portion of a PDA's screen where the stylus was frequently used. Do you think a screen protector will almost be necessary for this tablet? I wish the answer was no but anything with finger manipulation, coupled with a pen, almost ensures the use of screen protector not only from excessive fingerprints but also screen wear from the pen as well.


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: aroma]
      #35919 - 02/07/10 11:45 PM

I've had tablet PCs since the beginning (around 2002), and I've keep units for a year to two years and haven't gotten those scratch marks that one sees on plastic-screened PDAs. But if you're concerned, you can always get a screen protector.

Bummer that the code no longer works, but I do hope you enjoy your new tablet .


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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview

Edited by LisaG (02/07/10 11:46 PM)


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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: aroma]
      #35921 - 02/08/10 01:19 AM

Yeah, I've had the same experience as Lisa. I've been using tablets since about 2002 also, and I've found that most are designed with very sturdy screens. Also, with a tablet, you're not as likey to be writing over and over again in the same spot as you would on a tiny PDA screen. I write quite frequently on mine and haven't had a problem. That said, I think all of my tablets, save one, have had glass screens.

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Dave_W
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #36073 - 02/21/10 02:09 PM

Lisa,

When should we expect the benchmark results of the 1.6Ghz model? I have decided to get this computer but am still torn on whether or not I should customize it and get the 1.6 Ghz with a 500Gb HD over the ready-to-ship 1.3Ghz model with a 320Gb HD. I can deal with the downgrade to the 320Gb HD that comes with the quick ship model (I have a 320Gb external HD), as long as I don't lose too much power compared with the 1.6Ghz processor. Any advice on what I should do?

Thanks,
Dave


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: Dave_W]
      #36074 - 02/21/10 02:26 PM

I added them earlier this week. Visit the review again and you'll see the Windows Experience score and PC Mark Vantage benchmarks for the 1.6GHz/ATI model next to the 1.3GHz/Intel scores.

http://www.mobiletechreview.com/notebooks/HP-TouchSmart-TM2.htm


If there are good coupon offers (HP has been good with those in the past few weeks) you might be able to score the 1.6GHz for nearly the same price as the 1.3GHz. That's what I did, and obviously it's worth it for nearly no additional cost. If money is tight and there aren't any more good HP coupon offers, then I'd say the upgrade to ATI graphics is more important for performance that going from 1.3 to 1.6GHz. Avoid the recently added Intel 1.3GHz CULV SU4100 CPU option-- that's a dog compared to the SU7300 on the quick ship model.

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Dave_W
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #36075 - 02/21/10 02:43 PM

Thanks for the quick response! I'm sold on the 1.6 Ghz/ATI graphics, the bump in benchmark performance seems well worth it. Plus I realized the quick ship model doesn't even come with the ATi graphics, so definitely not getting that one. Thanks for the great review!

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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: Dave_W]
      #36080 - 02/21/10 06:43 PM

Thanks, Lisa. I'm also sold on the 1.6/ATI combo meal. If I get the job I just interviewed for, then the order is as good as sent (:

Did you experience a change in battery life with the more powerful processor and graphics card?


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #36081 - 02/21/10 07:15 PM

It would be a too perfect world if battery life were the same with dedicated graphics and the faster CPU . It's the dedicated graphics that use power more than the somewhat faster CPU. The machine automatically switches to Intel integrated graphics when unplugged, though you can override this. Mostly I use the ATI with the machine plugged in (gaming). But when I had used the ATI unplugged for Photoshop work, max runtimes were about an hour shorter (so 4 hours rather than 5). If you use it for even more demanding tasks, esp. 3D, it would probably take a greater toll.

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feralboy
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #36082 - 02/21/10 08:57 PM

Thanks for the prompt reply! The fact that it switches to Intel integrated graphics when unplugged, is perfect. Most times, when unplugged, I won't need the extra oomph, so this is exactly the way I would want it to function. Loosing an hour though, is still respectable, so even the worst-case scenario is something I could live with. I'm getting more and more excited about pulling the plug and ordering one of these babies. What a shame they're still not readily available at retail (at least not around here).

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Dave_W
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: feralboy]
      #36083 - 02/21/10 11:32 PM

One more question,

I know the tm2t does not come with the remote control/express card slot like the tx2 has, but do you know if the tm2t support the remote (does it have an IR receiver)?


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Tong ZhangModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: Dave_W]
      #36084 - 02/21/10 11:38 PM

The tm2 doesn't have an IR nor does it come with a remote.

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jamma
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: LisaG]
      #36709 - 04/12/10 01:19 AM

Loved the review. Bought the machine. Having used it for a couple of weeks now, all I can say is "Shame on you, HP".

They are so close to the "Jesus Tablet" with this one, but it seems like they just didn't care enough to fix many little things that make the overall package fall short. I'm left wondering if they even let people walk around with a prototype for a few days. If they had, anyone paying even a little attention would have been able to point out the following, and prevented these simple design flaws from going into production:

1) The wifi switch on the right of the machine, near the front. I accidentally turn off the wifi at least a couple of times a day. Are you kidding me? Do you really need a hard switch for the wifi in the first place, let alone a spring-loaded sliding one that's ridiculously easy to accidentally trigger? (and identical and right next to the on/off switch to boot. Really?!)

2) The battery is too far back (and protrudes too far downward), creating a center of gravity that makes this laptop unable to sit on your lap without your hands being on the keyboard. Yep, it'll tip over onto the ground, given how lid heavy this thing is. This might be the only laptop that is happy to rest in a "V" on it's hinge. It's certainly happier there than in an "L" if the screen is open even slightly past vertical. Ridiculous.

3) More on the battery: the battery sticks out and just asks to be used as a carrying handle. However, it is curved right where your fingers grasp it, making it quite slippery. I've nearly dropped it a couple of times. Now I just avoid the big thing sticking out that says "I'm a handle! Really". No, you're not.

4) As if this wasn't enough, the single lever battery release is also quite prominent and all too easy to accidentally engage, thus popping the battery right off the machine. Hope you saved your work! This happened to me twice before I really swore off of the battery bulge as handle habit.

5) The touchscreen lags just ever so much from your input. Contrast that to an iPhone where your finger feels an integral part of the device. Clearly, it can be done (by Apple). I'm guessing HP decided to save USD $3 per unit by opting for lower res, slower responding equipment, preventing anyone from having a "wow" experience with the touchscreen, hence discouraging its use entirely.

6) The default setting where the pen causes "touches" without actually hitting the screen is incredibly frustrating. I changed this through options at one point, but ended up doing something else I didn't like and so reset them all back to their defaults. The pen experience is so "meh", that I just don't bother with it anyway.

7) The whole thing is just too heavy and thick (especially the lid - see above). I guarantee that if you had a passionate product manager lug this thing around for a week, not only would the above six issues be addressed, but he or she would have returned the unit to the engineers and said "make it half an inch thinner all around and 1 pound lighter". You can't tell me they wouldn't have been able to do it.

In the end, I think it's just a matter of philosophy: HP cranks out dozens of models several times per year. I don't think theirs is a culture of obsession and perfection. That's just not a part of their business model. At the risk of being called an Apple fanboy (obviously, I'm not since I bought this unit with high hopes), there is simply no way on earth Apple would have put their name on this unit. In fact, I'd wager that merely presenting this thing to an imagined Steve Jobs (more likely a senior, passionate product manager, but maybe Steve does in fact play with every model they produce), would have gotten the presenter a serious tongue lashing and/or demotion, if not fired outright.

HP, by contrast, seem content to amass an impressive sounding list of features & specs, and don't seem too concerned about how they all fit together for the benefit of the actual end user.

The shortcomings of this machine actually offend my sensibilities - the fixes are so obvious you just know someone at HP shrugged their shoulders at some point and said "whatever - we'll do better in a later model. We've got to get this thing shipping already". Yes, I still use it, but the very sight of the thing makes me feel spat-on and used. HP: Do yourselves and all of us a big favor and make products people are proud to own and show off to their friends, not just slabs that show well on spec sheets online and in big box retail stores. The latter is just so cynical, and more and more consumers are starting to see right through it.


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Full review: HP TouchSmart TM2 tablet PC with multi-touch and pen input [Re: jamma]
      #36712 - 04/12/10 09:26 AM

I agree the TM2 is very top heavy. It has an annoying tenancy to fall over if you push the screen past 90 degrees. I haven't had any problems with the battery myself (haven't accidentally unlatched it and I don't use it as a handle given the curved, smallish design).

In our review, we have a fix for the touch screen going to sleep via power savings and that might help with the perceived lag. To fix this, right-click on the My Computer icon on the desktop. Then select the Device Manager link. Expand the HID devices listing and select the first USB input device (you'll find it low down in the HID devices list). Double-click on it and change the power settings via the power managment tab. Uncheck the "turn off this device to save power" option. Now the touch screen won't keep going to sleep. Has worked on mine for the several months I've owned it.

The EMR pen works the same way on every Windows tablet PC since they first shipped in 2002. My Wacom Intuos tablet also works the same way. IT is not unique to HP or the TM2. The digitizer detects the EMR pen up to an inch away. Some folks actually find this useful (no need to touch the screen since you can hover). But it's obviously not the way pen and paper work so it can feel awkward until you become accustomed to it.

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