The big news (literally) this year is 16:9 widescreen notebooks. Several vendors have introduced models, including HP. The HDX18 1099UX Premium (give this link time to load, it’s worth it) 18.4 inch notebook is a stunningly designed computer and builds upon HP’s reputation of excellence in the entertainment notebook field. It’s certainly a powerhouse with tons of features to enhance the multi media/home theater experience. Discreet controls for volume/sound, a TV tuner with a remote that slides into the ExpressCard slot for storage, a fingerprint reader, and webcam pack functionality into a nicely designed laptop,
It’s also a great portable theater that allows full 1080p widescreen high def, including a Blu-Ray DVD player (which also is a double layer burner).
HP HDX 18 1099UX Premium
This is a classy machine. You can see that when you first boot it up. The HP setup is extremely well done and should be bulletproof for even the novice user. It’s a very stylish looking piece of equipment. We’ve come a long way from the days of square beige desktops and beige or black boring laptops.
Like many of the current crop of portable machines, it has a fingerprint reader which I find a great convenience feature. Training/recording fingerprints on the HDX18 actually worked better than on any other fingerprint equipped laptop I’ve seen to date.
I was happy to see that the unit I reviewed came with Vista X64 Ultimate. I highly recommend this as the preferred OS if you buy and configure one yourself. Being a Geek, I wanted to see what the developer M3 Windows 7 x64 Ultimate might do, so I performed an upgrade. Everything came over ok, except the fingerprint reader, but MS is changing the way bio-metric work so I mostly expected this.
Obviously, it is important that a Blu-Ray machine continue to seamlessly play Blu-Ray movies, and I was not disappointed.
Below is a composite image of my Blu-Ray DVD experience on both Vista and Windows 7. Top show DVD playing in a Windows 7 window, middle is same on Vista, and bottom is the full screen/wide screen experience (which is the same on both).
Above image shows one of my favorites, Phantom of the Opera, playing on the HDX18
HP includes their own MediaSmart multimedia interface on the HDX18. HP includes discreet Media buttons (including one that launches the MediaSmart interface) that are elegantly designed. The HP MediaSmart interface is nice to look at, but having seen the TouchSmart touch version, I wanted to drag my finger over everything. I unfortunately could not find a way to add media stored on my NAS box to the library. So I copied some of my music to the local hard drive so that I could explore the interface.
MediaSmart Music Interface
Windows Media Center rocks on this machine. A TV tuner and handheld remote allow you to connect your TV source, making this a great machine for small apartments, dens, home offices, the laundry room or the basement workshop.
The Media Center Music interface on Vista is one I know and love.
Windows Media Center Music Interface
The laptop is sitting on my kitchen counter, so I’ve been using the HDX18 wirelessly (802.11n Draft 2.0). The wireless is Intel’s 5100 a/g/n which thankfully does not have the issues that earlier Intel Draft N chips have exhibited. A full list of specifications appears below.
Performance was quite good under Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 and a little less slow when I tried Windows 7, but that will improve over time. After all Windows 7 is not even in beta yet. I’m betting that upgrading to Windows 7 on the HDX18 is a “sure thing” and everything will work AND I’m betting that performance might end up being a little better than on Vista!
I don’t think that the Windows Experience Score is a true measure since everyone uses their computers differently. Still, a 5.0 overall score is nothing to sneeze at. The 5.0 was determined by the lowest score, the Windows Aero Desktop performance. Of note is the fact that when you play Blu-Ray DVD’s that the desktop switches to Basic (and back when you exit the application).
This machine is also one of the least crapified I’ve seen. Other than Norton (which I personally replace with Eset NOD32), and you aren’t forced to turn on Norton during the first run experience, so you CAN easily uninstall it. HP Total Care is a good thing for those that need to be prompted to protect and preserve. I can do without the Yahoo toolbar/Yahoo search (I’m a Google Search Geek and I don’t want extra toolbars).
All in all, this is one nice piece of equipment. You won’t go wrong if you want to put this one on your holiday shopping list.
Operating System • Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate 64-bit with Service Pack 1
Processor • Intel® Centrino® 2 Processor Technology featuring Intel® Core™2 Duo
Processor Speed • 2.26 GHz
Processor Cache • 3 MB L2 Cache
Bus Speed • 1066MHz FSB
Memory • 4096MB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) • Max supported =8192MB
Accessible Memory Slots • 2
Video Graphics • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT with up to 2303MB Total Available Graphics
Memory with 512MB dedicated
Hard Drive • 500GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive*Dual HDD – 250GB + 250GB(SATA)
Finish and Features • HP Fluid Imprint finish, HP Webcam with integrated digital microphone &
integrated Fingerprint Reader
Multimedia Drive • Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer
Display • 18.4" Diagonal High Definition(8) HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920x1080p)
Network Card • Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)
Wireless Option • Intel® WiFi Link 5100AGN & Bluetooth™
Digital Media • 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader* for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards
Audio • Altec Lansing with Dolby Home Theater with Sub-Woofer
Keyboard • 101-key compatible with full size keyboard with integrated numeric keypad &
1 Quick Launch Button
Pointing Device • Touch Pad with On/Off button and dedicated vertical scroll Up/Down pad
PC Card Slots • 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
External Notebook Ports
• 4 Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0
• 2 Headphone out
• 1 microphone-in
• 1 HDMI
• 1 VGA (15-pin)
• 1 eSATA
• 1 RJ -45 (LAN)
• 1 Expansion Port 3
• 1 IEEE 1394 Firewire (4-pin)
• 1 Consumer IR (Remote Receiver)
What’s in the box • Mobile Stereo Earbud Headphones (1 pair)
• HP Mobile ScrollSmart Remote Control
• HP HDX Notebook Protective Sleeve
• TV Tuner Integrated ATSC/QAM/ANG Hybrid