The HP Pavilion tx series has always been impressive with its all-around features that cater to just about everyone. Students in particular have enjoyed the usability, portability and affordability (via student discounts) of the tx series of notebook PCs over the years. So when a new upgraded Puma version (the HP tx2515au) popped by our way, we figured: why not?
The tx2515au keeps the essential looks and features of the series, though it does come with a shinier keyboard compared to the black keyboard of the older tx1000 series. Everything that's familiar about the tx1000 line up appears on the newer tx2515au, from the silver interior to the glossy shiny screen. New to the tx2515au however are the embossed patterns on the front lid of the unit, which uses HP's Imprint technology to give it an unique look.
Those looking for a change may be disappointed, but HP is sticking to a tried and true formula here. After all, as the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" holds true for this newer Puma based notebook, though we do wish they do something about the heat. The tx1000 could be quite hot to handle at times, and the tx2515au also shares a similar fate as its predecessor.
Retaining most of the features found in other tx notebooks, the tx2515au has a touchscreen, an upgraded version that's similar to the tx2000 series which are all (for a lack of a better word) Wacomised. Good news for the artistically inclined, as they can get a pretty nice tablet notebook with Wacom capabilities.
For the entertainment portion of the unit, we weren't too impressed despite the unit having a 12.1-inch WXGA screen and decent speakers. The notebook isn't really big enough to justify its entertainment notebook billing, as you probably won't get due satisfaction from watching on such a small screen. The short battery life of the unit too doesn't help with watching movies on the go either, so we're gonna have to pass on using the tx2515au as an entertainment unit.
When it comes to notebooks, the battery life and actual hardware performance do matter a lot when it comes to the user experience so it's a pity for this pretty HP unit that the tx2515au doesn't hold up that well in our DVD playback battery test, lasting only 1 hour and 24 minutes on the standard battery.
Performance benchmarks also indicated that in terms of overall system performance, AMD's Puma platform was comparable to the older Intel platforms (but definitely not the Santa Rosa refresh or Centrino 2), as it scored only 3381 marks for PCMark05 benchmark test, which was close to a similar clocked (2.0GHz) Intel based notebook, MSI's PR200 which scored 4140 marks.
3D performance was where the tx2515au stood out, as the integrated ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 scored 1713 marks for 3DMark06, which was definitely much better than the current Intel Centrino 2 integrated solution. Case in point, we refer you to our recent review of the Sony VAIO Z and its Speed mode option which uses Intel's integrated 4500MHD. That scored only 1143 marks, far behind the tx2515au.
Given its retail pricing of S$2499, the HP Pavilion tx2515au might seem a tad expensive for an AMD Puma notebook, but the bulk of the cost is probably due to the Wacom screen and digital stylus. As mentioned, battery life and performance aren't really strong points for this system, but it does have its shiny and glossy moments, so do keep an artistic eye out for this notebook (especially during the consumer IT shows).