Now that the iPad craze has died down to a dull roar, we're back to business as usual here at MobileTechReview. And that means reviewing HP's new tablet, the TouchSmart TM2, which should be hitting stores soon. No, this isn't that sexy little HP tablet that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's head honcho, flashed briefly at CES. This is full Windows 7 computer with a convertible design. It's also one of the most affordable convertible tablet notebooks with an active digitizer plus touch screen combo.
The TM2 replaces the HP TouchSmart TX2 series which was very popular, at least in terms of sales numbers since it was a relatively inexpensive touch screen plus active digitizer tablet with fairly powerful specs in a 12.1" package. While the TX2 gave us multi-touch and a 2.2GHz CPU for around 850 bucks, it was kinda heavy at 5 lbs., very plasticky and it ran hot. Toasty tablets make great hand warmers but on a hot day it isn't the best, and fan noise when plugged in could earn you dirty looks in a quiet classroom. Battery life wasn't so great thanks to the power-hungry AMD CPU and constant fan action. But it's not easy to make a lightweight computer with a touch screen, a Wacom pen-enabled digitizer and an attractive metal casing rather than cheapo plastic. Those kind of features are usually found in the $1,600 to $2,300 Lenovo X200t, Dell Latitude XT2, and HP's own business notebook line.
HP managed to pull it off though, and the TM2-1070US (the retail version that stores are stocking), sells for around $950 to $999, or just a bit more than the TX2 when it was new. The TM2 switches to an Intel Core 2 Duo CULV CPU for greatly reduced fan noise and heat (the CPU runs incredibly cool on ours-- around 80 degress fahrenheit), an HP Envy-inspired metal case with an etched design and it weighs 4.74 lbs. though it feels lighter thanks to the balanced design. Battery life is quite good too with the standard integrated graphics in use.
The display is high gloss and has improved contrast over the TX2. While it looks much nicer than the TX2's display, the glare might derrange graphic designers.
The HP TM2t (the "t" at the end indicates an Intel CPU in HP's coding system) loses the internal optical drive in the slim-down, and that may be a significant drawback for students who are looking for a computer that does everything including playing DVDs. HP sells an external drive as an accessory and you can use most any USB DVD/CD or Blu-ray drive as a consolation. DVD playback and burning software are also pre-installed on the notebook.
Intel Core 2 Duo CULV processor SU7300 running at 1.3GHz (1.6GHz optional) Intel 4500HD integrated graphics (ATI Radeon HD 4550 optional as switchable graphics) 4 gigs DDR3 PC-10600 RAM, max of 8 gigs Capacitive multi-touch display with active digitizer (has pressure sensitivity and eraser on the included pen) WiFi 802.11n Fingerprint Reader 320 gig 7200 RPM SATA hard drive card reader slot 6 cell battery standard
Bluetooth and WWAN are optional and not included in the 1070US version.
Here's our 9 minute video review part 1 where we unbox the HP TM2t notebook, take a look at the hardware, ports and casing, compare it with the HP TX2z that it replaces and compare it with the HP Envy 15. We'll cover software, the touch screen and digitizer with EMR pen in part 2 in a day or two. We'll have a full written review with benchmarks next week.
It's winter storm weather here in the middle of the country so we're working at home with the help of our cat who will do an Alfred Hitchcock and wander through the video now and again.