HP HDX18 x18-1070ee Premium Notebook PC

The HDX18 targets users that demand premium performance and entertainment. Is it up to the task?

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HP HDX18 x18-1070ee Premium Notebook PC
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  November 4, 2009

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: Y
Display adapter: nVidia GeForce 9600M GT
Display screen: 18.4-inch
Internal storage: 320GB x2 SATA drives

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The HP HDX18 Premium Notebook PC is designed to give its owner ‘premium entertainment and performance'. At a cost of US $ it certainly commands a premium price but is it any good?

Going over the machine's specifications we were, initially, quite impressed as we found a quick 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo processor and no less than 4GB of memory. Moving on to storage the HDX18 continued to impress as it featured two 320GB 5400rpm hard disk drives and a combo optical drive that is able to read Blu-ray discs. You'll be able to enjoy Blu-ray movies in Full HD resolution too because the x18-1070ee boasts a massive 18.4-inch LCD screen that runs at a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. There's even a nVidia GPU to help with content decoding.

Having said that we were a little underwhelmed with HP's choice of a GPU for this machine as the company has chosen to use a lowly GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB of dedicated memory. While this GPU is able to run Vista's Aero interface and boasts hardware decoding features, it's far from ideal when it comes to games. This became obvious when we ran our Street Fighter IV and World in Conflict benchmarks; the machine returned a paltry 18.9fps and 6fps respectively running the games at the LCD's native resolution. Dialing down the resolution within the games the machine scored better but the numbers were still under the 30fps minimum mark.

On the application front the HP's strong components worked together well and as a result the machine returned healthy PCMark Vantage scores. The machine scored 3464, 1765, 2069, 3197, 2964, 3448 and 3352 in the PCMark, Memories, TV & Movies, Gaming, Music, Communication, Productivity and HDD Test suites. Within Windows the the HP feels reasonably swift though Dell's Adamo feels livelier thanks to its swift SSD drive. The HP was also, expectedly, slower in terms of boot and shut down as it took 107 seconds and 30 seconds to the Dell's 81 seconds and 26 seconds respectively.

Usability-wise the HDX18 fares quite well and this is thanks in part to its monstrous dimensions. As the notebook is quite wide it packs a full-sized keyboard with a separate numeric pad. Because of this anyone can use the machine's keyboard regardless of finger-size and as the keys are responsive and firm to the touch, long typing sessions should prove stress and ache-free. The trackpad also works quite well in terms of responsiveness but given that the LCD is huge with a high native resolution, we would have preferred a larger trackpad. This is simply because at the default sensitivity level we were able to move the pointer only a quarter of the way across the screen when moving our finger diagonally across the trackpad.

On the portability front the HDX18, expectedly, doesn't win any prizes. Its gargantuan dimensions and 4kg weight mean you'll have to be pretty buff to handle it when on the go. And, with a battery life of just one hour and 37 minutes, you won't be able to go work very long whilst away from a power source. As this is a desktop replacement machine we weren't really concerned with the machine's lack of portability.

For: Fast application machine, 1080p content ready, easy to work with, gobs of storage capacity.
Against: Entry level mobile GPU robs the HP of gaming capabilities, could use a better trackpad.
Verdict: A heavy-duty desktop replacement that does most things right. A high-end GPU and a slightly more responsive trackpad would make it a perfect desktop replacement machine.

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