HP Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01)

Small, stylish and weak.

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HP Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01)
  • HP Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01)
  • HP Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01)
  • HP Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01)

Pros

  • Light, attractive design, excellent network connectivity and expansion ports

Cons

  • Low battery life, slow processor, gets hot after moderate usage, requires re-calibration after each screen rotation

Bottom Line

This is a device that suffers from a slow processor, low battery life and strong competition from the identically priced Fujitsu T1010 and HP tx2522. If you're interested in a portable device with good connectivity features then have a look — just don't expect brilliant performance.

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The Pavilion tx2600 (tx2613AU_01) is the latest addition to HP's stable of tablet notebooks. It's sleek, portable and has good connectivity options, but it suffers from a slow CPU and is outclassed by its predecessor and competitors.

The tx2613AU's digital pen performs very well, with relatively good recognition when writing, but it requires recalibrating every time a user rotates the screen, which becomes annoying very quickly.

Despite having the same RRP as the earlier Pavilion tx2522au (FK677PA), HP has decided to use an slower CPU on the refreshed model. Its 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor RM-72 returned slower scores in all processor-focussed benchmarks.

In our Blender 3D rendering test, the tx2613AU finished its task in 1min 52sec. In our iTunes benchmarking, the CPU converted 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s 1min 48sec. Both of these tests take full advantage of both of the CPUs cores. In contrast, the older HP completed the Blender rendering test in 1min 48sec and the iTunes test was done in 1min 40sec.

The tx2613AU received a similar score to its predecessor in terms of battery-life, lasting 1hr 3min in our DVD rundown test. Unfortunately this is below average and means that users will have to be especially power-conscious when far from power points.

This lack of straight-line processor performance is also reflected in the relatively low WorldBench 6 mark. The score of 58 means that although applications like Microsoft Office and Mozilla Firefox will run smoothly, attempting to run several programs at once will result the system slowing down. Trying to perform hardware-intensive tasks like 3-D rendering or video editing will probably make you cry.

In comparison, Fujitsu's LifeBook T1010, which costs exactly the same, achieved a WorldBench 6 result of 84, and its iTunes test was completed in just 1min 14sec. HP partially compensates the user by providing a generous 3GB of DDR2 RAM as well as a 320GB hard drive that spins at 5400rpm, both of which are better than what is on offer from Fujitsu.

Another advantage HP has over Fujitsu's tablet is the locking mechanism on the front and back of the 12.1in screen (which has a resolution of 1280x800). While Fujitsu's clasp is a rotatable metal clip, the Pavilion's locking claws are hidden away within two holes on either side of the touchpad, giving it a more streamlined look.

The display is good but slightly dull unless the advanced settings are tweaked. Fortunately the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 GPU makes this easy thanks to the included Catalyst Control Center software. The graphics accelerator is surprisingly good and returned a 3DMark06 score of 1458. Given the slow performance of the processor, however, anything beyond older games such as F.E.A.R. should probably be left alone.

Tablet users will often cradle their laptop because of the smaller working form-factor. Fortunately they'll find lifting the notebook is less stressful than usual, thanks to the HP's lighter than average weight. The unit weighs 2.1kg without the power supply, and it is 2.45kg with it included. However, the unit heats up quite a bit after moderate use and this will result in discomfort, especially if the extraction fan is too close to the user.

The Pavilion is also strong on the connectivity front, and this saves the HP from being a below-average device. Wireless networking is provided by a Broadcom 802.11n adapter and the Gigabit Ethernet capabilities allow users to connect to most types of local area networks, like those found in hotels and internet cafes. Three USB 2.0 ports provide expandability, along with a D-sub port, ExpressCard/34 slot, a 5-in-1 card reader (xD, SD, MMC, MS, MSPro) and an increasingly rare S-Video output.

Sadly, this notebook doesn't offer enough to users to be highly recommended. While it provides more storage and RAM than the Fujitsu T1010, it falls short on performance and screen size. If you're looking for a small tablet notebook that's light to carry and pretty to look at, however, you may be tempted.

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