Brand name changes often mean something - and in the case of HP's series of tablet notebooks, a shift to the TouchSmart branding comes with the additional capabilities of multi-touch and a darker color that just looks great. The overall design though, remains essentially the same, so don't go looking too hard for any differences.
If you've played with the newer multi-touch capable TouchSmart IQ devices, then you'll find the interface familiar. The basic gestures found on current multi-touch devices like the iPhone are found here. You can pinch to zoom, or use two fingers to rotate an image. With only two gestures supported, it's a pity that the tx2 just doesn't live up to its potential though we're hoping for updates to the software to do so.
Multi-touch obviously isnt the only thing that's added to the system. HP has also imported the elements of the user interface (UI) found on the larger desktop onto the tx2. In what may seem to be a gimmicky move, the TouchSmart UI is activated by making a "M" with two fingers. This causes a launcher to pop up, allowing you the choice to play music, watch videos, internet TV or view your pictures.
Apart from the addition of a multi-touch capable screen, HP has stuck to the same formula that's found on the older tx2500 series for the hardware and have used AMD's Puma platform again. While the base model shares the same specs as the previous HP Pavilion tx2515au model that we reviewed, the TouchSmart tx2 goes one up with a slightly faster Turion 64 X2 ZM-82 (2.2GHz) processor. RAM and HDD space has been increased to 3GB and 320GB respectively, though the graphics chipset remains the same and very decent, integrated ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200.
So how does this hold up in our benchmarking tests? Well, for a start, thanks to the zippier processor, the tx2 scored 3934 marks on PCMark05 compared against the 3381 marks of the older tx2515au. 3D performance was similar however, as 3DMark06 showed that the tx2 scored 1731 marks, similar to the 1713 marks of the tx2515au. Battery performance was also decent with a time of 2 hours and 17 minutes, but do note that this was on the extended 6-cell battery.
If you are yet to be sold on HP's tablet notebooks, now's probably a good time to pick up one of these babies. The TouchSmart tx2 has come a long way but it looks like it's finally found its unique selling point in being a multi-touch capable tablet notebook. With a base starting price of S$2099, you'll be getting a decently portable notebook that will give your fingers something to touch and feel.