- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2007

Starting at just under $1,300, the Hewlett Packard Pavilion tx 1000 is a perky, near-perfect portable.

And yes, I am using the “near-perfect” rating for two weeks running. But while last week’s column rated the Apple Inc. IMac highly as a desktop computer, the HP Pavilion tx 1000 shines as an on-the-go portable.

Neither computer is for everyone, but the Pavilion might well fit your needs quite nicely.

HP is billing the unit as an “entertainment notebook,” which means that the Altec Lansing speakers, the DVD-playing software and enhanced music-play features are a complement to the raw computing power this model delivers.

As tested, my unit featured a 2-gigaherz AMD Turion 64x2 processor, and 2 gigabytes of RAM, atop a 150-gigabyte hard disk drive and alongside a DVD-RW optical drive, which can be removed to save weight. The display is 12.1 inches in diameter, but features the “widescreen” layout conducive to watching DVD movies and working with the included Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium operating system.

Other useful components are a built-in Web camera and microphone, useful for online chats, Bluetooth and 802.11n connections, and a fingerprint reader, of which more in a moment. Oh, and the screen can pivot to make this a Tablet PC, which I’ll also get back to shortly. Altogether, the configuration I tested was closer to $1,999 in price than $1,300.

As is, the computer weighs about 4.5 pounds walking around, noticeably lighter than some portables and certainly not burdensome in my briefcase.

The Tablet PC feature is nice, and worth having. In Tablet mode, a stylus usually replaces the keyboard and mouse for input; here, you could also use a fingernail or the soft end of a pencil.

Having alternative means of input beyond the stylus is good, in case the latter is ever lost or misplaced.

So do regular Windows applications such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org’s Writer word processor, as well as Web browsers such as Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox. The horsepower of this computer, as tested, comes in quite handy.

My only gripe with this computer’s configuration is with the hard disk drive; I wish it were larger. I also wish the right-side keyboard “shift” key were larger; my finger kept hitting the “up arrow” key, something a tad annoying.

I’m also a bit baffled by the fingerprint scanner, which is designed to work with included software that supposedly stores all your online passwords and logs you into secure Web sites such as online banking and the like. In practice, I couldn’t get the thing to work properly. My advice: avoid it.

One very pleasant surprise is the built-in mouse pad, a “dimpled” bit of the computer’s case which is very functional, and very accurate in terms of tracking. I’ve not seen this kind of implementation before, and it’s not only cute, but it also works.

Overall, the HP Pavilion tx 1000 is a great little computer, a good on-the-go accomplice. Having Windows Vista as the operating system seems nice; in almost a week of heavy use, I didn’t notice any great problems.

If I were buying a portable, I’d give this serious consideration. Details online at www.hp.com.

• Read Mark Kellner’s Tech Blog at www.washingtontimes.com/blogs.

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