What follows is a quick review of the HP TX1120. Others will no doubt put out extensive reviews with lots of pictures but I wanted to put out a quick review by someone who was looking to buy a new tablet PC without breaking the bank.
My requirements were:
- A reasonably fast machine but not a desktop replacement.
- A inexpensive as possible. I was going to have to convince wifey that I needed a new machine without breaking the bank. My older Averatec C3500 isn’t entirely dead yet but it only gets an hour of runtime per charge and is showing its age.
- An active screen, preferably Wacom compatible.
I started my search and ended up looking at the Asus R1F, HP TX 1110, Toshiba Tecra M7 and the Toshiba M400.
By chance I found myself at a Frys during lunch earlier in the week. I wanted to try out a few Toshiba laptops on the floor in order to get a feel for their keyboards and discovered that they had the HP TX1120 in stock. After trying it out for a bit I decided to give it a real test and purchased a unit.
I knew that it didn’t have an active digitizer but also wondered if that would really be a deal-breaker. To ruin the end of the story I’ll have to tell you that it certainly was.
The HP laptop is a really sweet machine. It’s got decent battery life of about 2 hours with its normal power management and I was able to squeeze almost another hour out by tweaking the settings in RMClock.
The ergonomics of that machine are darn near perfect. The odd touchpad was a joy to use, the controls are set out in easily accessible ways and the fingerprint reader just works. It comes bundled with some typical crapware but the only thing that got in the way were the AV tools that I would have removed if I’d decided to keep the unit.
Ok, so why didn’t I keep the unit?
1. It’s running Vista. Even with most of the settings configured for max speed it’s still too slow when compared with XP. XP Drivers aren’t available for all the components so downgrading isn’t an option. Cold booting takes forever and even coming back from hibernation is slow.
2. It doesn’t have an active screen. Anyone who hasn’t used a tablet with an active screen won’t understand but not being able to float above the screen to move the mouse and having to press much harder than one does with an active screen are just two of the things that made this machine unsuitable. It makes the machine a lot like a really big Palm Pilot and if I hadn’t known any better, that might have been ok. As it was, I did and it wasn’t. Because of the digitizer, ink was unreliable and as lower cpu speeds would jitter at times and force be to start over. My C3500 and new Fujitsu T4215 never display any problems even at the lowest clock speeds.
In closing, if HP ever comes out with a model that includes a Wacom-based digitizer they’ll have something to give the competition a run for their money. As it is, they have a really sweet entertainment laptop but it’s not good enough for someone who really wants and will use the tablet functionality.