Rhinoceros-sized laptops are all the rage. Dell and Acer have already created 20-inch behemoths, so it was only a matter of time before HP -- the world's number one PC maker -- joined the fray with a 'laps top' of its own.
The HDX9000, aka the 'Dragon', sports the same gi-normous display as the XPS M2010 and Aspire AS9800, but comes fitted with faster components, a more stylish chassis and a definite penchant for home entertainment. It's available to buy now in John Lewis for £1,350.
Whoever said all big, brutish laptops are ugly got it wrong. The HDX9000 is not only the most attractive 20-incher on the market, it's also among the prettiest laptops available, full stop. The curved edges and soft silver highlights give it the sleek, contemporary look missing from most large laptops.
As with all HP's new consumer laptops, the HDX9000 sports Imprint Finish 'Technology'. In other words, it has pretty squiggly patterns on the lid and just above the keyboard, which in this case has an oriental dragon theme. This looks gorgeous next to the raised silver hinge section, which extends halfway along the middle of the lid.
It's not often we get excited by hinges but this one has a few tricks up its sleeve. It's actually a double hinge system: the first hinge has its pivot point between the screen and the base section and lets you open the lid to a 45-degree angle -- just like most laptops. Once in this position, an internal catch frees the lower portion of the display, bringing a second hinge into operation.
This second hinge is in the centre of the lid itself. The combination of the two hinges means you can view the screen in its standard 'laptop' position, tilt it towards the ceiling for use when standing above the laptop, or more usefully, to bring the screen about 100mm closer to you.
This sounds like a clever idea until you try it in practice. The laptop has a set of touch-sensitive shortcut buttons above the keyboard, which can react quite violently if you tilt the screen anywhere near them. It wasn't uncommon for the HDX9000 to beep maniacally -- thinking we were ejecting the CD tray, fast-forwarding films and adjusting the volume simultaneously.