by Jerry Jackson
HP recently unveiled their latest additions to the "HDX" family of notebooks with the all new HDX 16 and HDX 18 multimedia notebooks. These notebooks feature large displays with a 16:9 screen ratio, impressive speakers with an integrated subwoofer, and an innovative touch-sensitive media control panel. With our full review out of the way, is the large and impressive HDX 18 worth the price? Let's take a closer look.
Our pre-production review unit of the Pavilion 18t features the following specs:
Our pre-production unit comes equipped with two 160GB hard drives, but this configuration will not be offered at the time of launch. The next closest available configuration will be a similar system with two 250GB 5400rpm hard drives ($2,049.99) or two 250GB 7200rpm hard drives ($2,149.99). This desktop replacement is clearly targeted at multimedia and gaming enthusiasts who want cutting-edge features and can afford the slightly higher price tag.
Build and Design
The HDX 18 shares several design elements with the rest of the updated HP Pavilion line, but more than size and weight separate the HDX18 from its smaller siblings. First, HP the new 16:9 ratio display means you have more real-estate for text on websites, for multiple documents on the screen at the same time, or for a more "full-screen" view of HD movies that have been filmed in 16:9 format. The glossy metallic gray and silver "Imprint" finish looks fantastic. While we didn't test the high-impact finish on our pre-production unit by dropping it repeatedly in our office, I can say the finish looks quite durable ... though fingerprints show up quickly on the glossy finish.
While the HDX 18 is better suited as a desktop replacement than as a laptop, the notebook is quite well balanced when using it on your lap. Just be aware that after using the HDX 18 on your lap for about an hour and a half you might start to lose some feeling in your legs. This machine is really more like an 18-inch HDTV with a built-in computer.
In terms of expansion, the HDX 18 offers a reasonable amount of internal space for all kinds of goodies. Two hard drive bays, and typical expansion for wireless cards and RAM are all located under a single cover on the bottom of the notebook.
Input and Output Ports
As expected with a notebook of this size, the number of ports on the HDX 18 is fairly impressive. Here's a run down of the ports:
We're always glad to see the dedicated docking station connection on HP's consumer notebooks. HP is the only notebook manufacturer that still offers a dedicated docking station connector on their consumer notebooks. The USB docking stations offered by other consumer notebook manufacturers are really nothing more than fancy USB hubs ... and don't work nearly as well as "real" docking stations.
We're also fans of the eSATA/USB combo port currently being used on the new HP notebooks. Although many consumers might not realize it yet, eSATA offers MUCH faster data transfer speeds than USB 2.0 does. The great thing about the eSATA/USB port is that you can use it as a regular USB port or for an eSATA device if and when you buy a new eSATA-compatible device.
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