Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion HDX9004TX

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Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion HDX9004TX
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion HDX9004TX
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion HDX9004TX
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion HDX9004TX
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • 20in screen, HD-DVD player, speakers, e-SATA, HDMI

Cons

  • Screen resolution isn't quite as good as HD-DVD can generate

Bottom Line

If you've got the money to spend, this notebook is a great replacement for a desktop PC. The large screen doubles well as a TV and computer screen and the included HD-DVD player is a nice addition.

Would you buy this?

Bringing a whole new meaning to desktop replacement, HP's HDX notebook series, also known as the "Dragon", really tops the charts for size and features. We recently reviewed the Pavilion HDX9003TX, HP's so-called low-end model, now we're taking a look at the high-end HP Pavilion HDX9004XT model, which includes an HD-DVD player in its bag of tricks.

The huge fold out notebook PC is about the size of a suitcase and packs many of the usual features found on desktop systems, such as 7.1 audio outputs, a keyboard with a number pad and an e-SATA port, not to mention the massive 20in screen. It's intended to be movable, but not necessarily mobile, allowing you to take it places within the house, but not on the road.

It's also the first notebook we've tested that uses Intel's Core 2 Extreme X7800 2.6GHz CPU, a monster processor that rivals some desktop CPUs. Although this CPU is unlocked, meaning it can be overclocked, this notebook doesn't allow you to do so like the Dell XPS M1730 does, which is a little disappointing. Also installed is a Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card giving this system enough power to decode HD movies or even play some games.

The 64-bit Vista operating system is a nice touch, though it seems unnecessary with 2GB of DDR2 RAM installed, while Windows Vista 64-bit still has some issues with drivers. HP clearly has working drivers for everything, but your other devices may not, such as your MP3 player. There are only a few instances where this may be a problem, but it's a greater possibility than with the 32-bit version.

Although there is an HD-DVD drive installed, the screen resolution does not match its capabilities. HD-DVD movies should be played with a native resolution of 1920x1200 or higher to get the best visual experience. The HDX9004XT offers a native resolution of 1680x1050, which is nothing to scoff at, but doesn't quite qualify as perfect. However, even at this resolution HD-DVD movies are going to look great. To make up for this the HDX9004TX also has an HDMI port, making it easy to output to a TV or home theatre setup. The speakers on the other hand produce an amazing sound that's both loud and full.

A remote control is included in the package, which fits snugly into a recess next to the keyboard. There is also a wide selection of controls above the keyboard. Among them are volume controls, including bass and treble levels, an on/off switch for the wireless adapter and media controls like play/pause, stop and skip track forward or backward. There is also a shortcut to live TV, which is made possible thanks to a hybrid analogue/digital TV tuner.

We were a little disappointed by the score of 74 in WorldBench 6, which seems a little low considering the hardware. In the DVD rundown battery test we also saw average results; the "Dragon" only lasted 60 minutes, but this was to be expected from such a large, power hungry notebook.

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