Posts Tagged ‘notebook’

HP HDX 18t – A great gift idea

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I will be the first to admit, I was biased against HP. After years of seeing the ‘droning’ masses flock to brick and mortar retailers to plunk down their hard earned dough for machines that (in the past) offered sub-par performance and were loaded with freeware I became jaded. However if the HP HDX 18t is any indication, they have stepped up their game in a big way.

Recently, I needed a new desktop replacement laptop for general use. I have always been a huge supporter of Dell’s products but they have essentially been selling the same laptops for the last 13-14 months with no real advance in technology or design. Being somewhat of a ‘snob’ in that area I went looking for alternatives. Low and behold I stumbled upon the HP HDX 18t.

At first glance this machine is indeed a monster. It is made instantly apparent that HP didn’t really expect anyone to carry this beast around with them on a day-to-day basis, but what it lacks in mobility, it makes up for in performance and value.

The HDX 18t sports all of the latest and greatest technology. The base model includes (standard, no less) the Intel Centrino 2 P8400, an amazing 18.4" display (more on this later), 2GB of RAM (although at the time of writing there was a free upgrade to 3GB), a 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT, and a blue-ray drive (HDMI Output too!) all for $1399 (before any coupons/discounts). This is a tremendous value, other manufacturers (if they have something similar, ahem Dell) charge anywhere between $1700 – $2000 for the same hardware.

If the 18" screen doesn’t sound familiar to you there is a reason. Up until recently computer LCD displays were fashioned in the 16:10 aspect ratio instead of the standard LCD 16:9. What this meant to you was that the LCD glass manufacturers couldn’t cut as many screens out of the same plate of glass. The benefits of the industry standard 16:9 format are two fold. First, by sharing the same aspect ratio as other LCD displays (HDTVs) Blu-ray, movies streamed from the Internet, and DVDs can be displayed in their full screen glory. Second, since the glass in an LCD is arguably the most expensive part, being able to get more of these screens for less money will in the long run save you money.

Another very nice and often overlooked benefit of a notebook this large is the full-sized keyboard (with number pad!) no worrying about trying to use function keys here. The styling on this machine is also very impressive, with a illuminated HP logo adoring the case and a brushed metal design. On the bottom of the notebook you will find a subwoofer (yes! a subwoofer) which actually does a pretty good job if you’re using the system for gaming or watching movies. Overall the machine feels very well built and solid.

Performance wise, this machine has been able to tackle anything I have thrown at it including World of Warcraft (in its highest resolution), Spiderman 3 in Blu-Ray and day to day surfing/computing tasks. HP pulled out all of the stops for this system and if this is any indication of what is to come in the future from them, I could be an HP customer for life.

The only somewhat negative thing I found is that the trackpad is a little ‘slippery’ I noticed that I had to be aware of what my fingers were doing when trying to use it and it wasn’t always intuitive. Most people who have a desktop replacement will immediately plug a USB wireless mouse such as the outstanding new Microsoft Explorer which I highly recommend for any notebook user.

Out of my current stable (Dell XPS m1530, Dell Inspiron 1420, HP HDX 18t) of notebooks I must say that this HP is the most pleasant to use. It is clear that the designers took their time and listened to the feedback from their customers.

In conclusion I highly recommend the HP HDX 18t, leave all reservations about past experience with HP products in the wind. This is a new HP and I look forward to seeing what is next from HP.

-Drew