It's no wonder the humble desktop PC looks like it's going the way of the dodo when there are laptops like the HP HDX X16 on the market. Priced at around £975, the configuration reviewed here, the HDX X16-1010EA, boasts pretty much all the power and entertainment prowess you'd expect from a desktop PC, but is packed into a chassis that's portable enough to comfortably move around the home, or ferry between your abode and the office.
The thing that stands out most when you turn on the X16 is its screen. Not only is it relatively large, at 16 inches, but it's also incredibly sharp, because it's got a 'Full HD' resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. As a result, high-definition movies via the Blu-ray drive look superbly crisp and detailed, with bags of vivid colour.
The X16 is also impressive in the audio department. Most laptops have weedy sound because they lack bass response, but the X16 has a mini subwoofer mounted under the chassis, and this helps it to sound much meatier than your average laptop.
Unfortunately, the X16 wouldn't complete our PCMark05 benchmark tests, but it's built around a fairly speedy 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and has 4GB of RAM, so it feels very fast in use. Also, because it's loaded with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium, you really get to use all that RAM.
By laptop standards, the machine is no slouch in the gaming department either. It's Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT GPU helped it to score 5,046 in our 3DMark06 tests, so you'll be able to play the latest games, although you might have to turn down the graphics detail slightly to get really high frame rates.
Another big advantage of this model is the range of ports it offers. There are four USB ports, a FireWire connector, HDMI and D-Sub sockets for hooking it up to an external monitor, and an ExpressCard slot for adding expansion cards. Battery life is also good, as the X16 managed to keep running for 2 hours and 6 minutes in the intensive Battery Eater Classic test.
Design-wise, the X16 looks almost identical to its larger sibling, the HDX X18, with screen size being the main difference between the two. Unfortunately, this means that the X16 has the same paint job, which we're not overly keen on. HP has gone slightly crazy with the wavy lines on the lid and keypad, with the result that the design looks juvenile to our eyes.
Also, because the glossy finish carries over from the chassis onto the trackpad, the pad actually feels rather sticky and greasy under the finger. We much prefer the matte effect more commonly used on laptops from rival manufacturers. The other issue with the trackpad is that the buttons feel rather spongy to the touch, so they take some getting used to.
Despite some design flaws, the HP HDX X16 is an exemplary entertainment laptop. The screen is first-class, there's plenty of power under the hood and you also get a Blu-ray drive for watching HD movies. If you can afford the relatively high asking price, you won't be disappointed.
Edited by Charles Kloet