The TX3XP doesn't have much in the way of external connectivity: there are only two USB ports and a single FireWire port. Some would argue two is all you need, but we'd recommend buying a USB hub just in case you intend to use more than two USB devices simultaneously. We found ourselves reverting to an external USB mouse, and as we're regular users of USB keys, an extra few ports wouldn't have gone amiss.
The TX3XP is fully Centrino-certified so it's capable of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots for Internet access while away from home. Slightly disappointing was the fact it doesn't come with an HSDPA card, which would have allowed the laptop to connect to the Internet at broadband speeds from just about anywhere. To its credit, the TX3XP comes with a PC Card slot so you can connect a third-party 3G datacard, and it has Bluetooth.
The TX3XP is very usable, for an ultraportable. Its keyboard is very comfortable, despite the keys being slightly cramped, as is the mouse, whose only drawback is its ultra-thin selector buttons. One thing you may not appreciate is the tiny 11.1-inch display. Yes, it runs at a widescreen resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, and it uses LED backlights to save battery power, but it's very small for day-to-day use. You won't want to look at it for long periods unless you're watching a movie. In this respect, the TX3XP is pretty good -- its glossy X-black screen highlights contrast and colours to improve picture quality.
The TX3XP comes with a good amount of software. You get Windows XP Professional Edition as standard, plus Microsoft Works, a trial version of Microsoft Office, Norton Internet Security (AntiSpyware Edition), Adobe Photoshop Elements and a variety of security software to help you get the most out of the laptop's integrated fingerprint reader. We have our reservations about fingerprint scanners -- there will be countless examples of your fingerprint littered all over the surface of the laptop -- but at least it means you don't have to remember complicated passwords. Unfortunately, you only get a one-year standard warranty, which is miserly considering the price of the laptop.
The TX3XP isn't built for speed, but that doesn't mean it's a slowcoach. It'll perform most tasks, as indicated by its respectable PCMark 2006 tally of 1,442. This isn't much higher than the TX2XP's 1,327 and it doesn't come close to the dual-core Samsung Q35's 2,618, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in battery life.
The laptop lasted an amazing 538 minutes (nearly 9 hours) in our MobileMark 2005 test, building on the TX2XP's 4-hour battery life by a substantial margin. Battery life was slightly poorer during DVD playback, but it lasted 332 minutes, which is enough to watch more than three average-length movies without needing a charge.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide