by Ed Koeller
I am a college student traveling out of state and I needed a quality notebook to replace my desktop. I am a Computer Science Engineering major, and I enjoy playing games every so often. So I needed the laptop to be more than just a web-browsing machine. I need it to be able to play games and to perform well enough to do more than my course work requires. For six months, I researched laptops and concluded that the HP HDX 16 is the highest quality for my budget (less than $1,300).
This is a new model from HP. It is their “premium series” notebook. It is very similar to the HP HDX 18. It is just the 16″ version of it. It is comparable in price to the dv5 Notebooks from HP.
This is definitely a desktop replacement; it has a 16″ screen and very nice hardware.
My HP HDX 16 Specs:
- Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26GHz)
- 16.0″ diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1366×768)
- 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm – 800MHz)
- 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
- 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
- Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid)
- HP Color Matching Keyboard
- Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card
- Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
- 12-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
I bought this configuration through HP.com for $1,300 shipped plus taxes. There was a rebate at the time and I got it at $800 (40% off). That was the dealmaker for me.
Build and Design
When compared to the dv5, the same specs are roughly the same price. I decided to invest in the HDX 16 because when I saw all the laptops in the store I liked the infinity glass from HP, and I played with each of the laptop’s that HP offered and found this laptop to have very sturdy construction. Out of all the other builds that I looked at (Dell XPS, HP dv5, dv4 and dv7, Lenovo IdeaPad Y530) this has the most sturdy build and design. A sheet of “infinity glass” covers and protects the screen from damage. When I push against the screen from the back side there is no indication that I am pushing against it, which means the plastic covering the screen is strong from the other side. So one side of the LCD screen has the infinity glass and the other is protected with strong plastic. There is virtually no wobble from the hinges that connect the screen to the main laptop body. It is made from really strong plastic and/or metal.
The display is of very high quality and has excellent definition. My resolution is 1366×768; it has no dead pixels and is 16″. When the screen is black there is a small amount of light leak on the outside corners of the screen. The back light leak is not present with the black task bar on the bottom of the screen in Windows Vista Premium. I would recommend the 1920×1080 screen with a Blu-ray player. Sadly that is the one thing I did not do.
Screen from multiple angles with screen shot from the movie Shooter (starring Mark Walhberg).
The sound from this laptop is far better than any other laptop I have ever used! I love the built in subwoofer. The sound is very crisp and very audible for a laptop compared to my older hand me down Dell Inspiron (512MHz processor with 512MB RAM), which had very muffled audio quality. The HP HDX 16 has Altec Lansing speakers and subwoofer that make playing games very nice when you can use them. There is the media smart bar, which is located above the keyboard and below the screen. It works well if you know how to use it, but it takes some time to know how to use it, it is also very touchy. (One click really is 2-3 clicks.) You can also control the trebble and bass from the media smart bar, which is nice.
Processor and Performance
My HDX 16 takes just under a minute to boot up to the log in screen with a 5400rpm hard drive that came with this computer. I needed the 4GB of memory because I am a programmer, but the more you have the better off your computer will run, Vista premium takes about 1.5GB of your memory while its idling, so be sure you get at least 3-4GB of memory. I play Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare online, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Civilization 4 and pretty much anything else I want to on this laptop without anything going wrong. It does not over-heat, and runs those games at playable resolutions and with high frames per second. It does play them at the highest resolutions (everything on, and 1366×768) smoothly, I just chose to use a smaller resolution so it runs the smoothest and stays cooler than at full resolution.
|3D Mark 05: (8113)||3D Mark 06: (4552)|
Heat and Noise
I check the exhaust fan in the far back left corner to see if there is anything hot coming from it, I am surprised by cool air being blown by the fan. I always expect it to be hot to the touch, but to my joy this laptop disperses its heat very effectively. I do have the 12-cell battery, which lifts the laptop ~1″ off of the ground, so that might be the big help with it not being hot. When I am typing on it my hands do get warm, but not hot or uncomfortable.
Input and Output Ports
The keyboard is great, there is a full number pad on the right, the arrow keys are smaller than I am used to with a desktop, but that comes with the territory, none of the keys are out of reach or in ridiculous locations. They are very well spaced even with my big hands.
The web cam is high quality. I have a Logitech web cam for my desktop which cost me $80 and the built-in web cam from HP works just as well. There is also a built in stereo microphone, which works well, but my Logitech one works better. The HDX 16 comes with a small remote control, which I have not had the chance to use yet, but looks to have a lot of features that should work nicely. The design on this computer (color design on the back and around the touch pad) is very nice, everyone who sees it says that it is a great design and that they enjoy it and wishes they had it.
The wireless card (Intel WiFi Link 5100 a/b/g/n 802.11) worked perfectly right out of the box with the wireless g-router in my house.
I mentioned I have the 12-cell battery, it lasts for about 3-4 hours while playing games, and it lasts between 5-6 hours while doing Internet and word based things. It also lifts the notebook ~1″ off of the ground allowing more airflow, which is a great thing in a laptop and helps keep it cool. It is definitely worth it.
Vista. I have heard many bad things about Vista and I will probably be criticized for saying that it is decent. I liked XP because it used fewer resources, but Vista runs just as well. I recommend the 64-bit so that you can use all 4GB of memory. You can order a system recovery disk or make your own (I made my own within the first few minutes of getting mine).
I had to call customer support to make sure my rebate went through. The operator I spoke to was very pleasant and knowledgeable while offering useful support. Overall, it was a pleasant experience with customer support. I was going to get the 1-year accidental warranty, but opted out because of the cost. I am very good at keeping my technological items safe and very clean and up to date.
As the first laptop I bought, the HP HDX 16 has exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes to play games but also needs more than just a video card. The HP HDX 16 is a very well rounded machine that does everything I ask of it. If you want to play games online, do video editing, program or just surf the Internet, or everything simultaneously; this laptop is definitely for you. It is more portable than the 18″ HDX but not extremely portable like the HP dv4 (14″). If it is a choice between the dv5 and HDX 16, go with the HDX 16. It is well worth the cost, and you will not be disappointed
- High Definition at all times (true 720p with 1366×768 screen, and true 1080p with 1920×1080 screen)
- Full keyboard
- Battery life for 12-cell battery
- Discrete graphics
- Replaces desktop adequately
- Media smart bar (bar above keyboard with volume control) skips a lot at random.
- Weighs ~10 pounds
- Not super mobile (but that shouldn’t matter with a portable desktop replacement)