HP TouchSmart tm2

As an upgrade option for existing tablet users, the tm2 shines. As an entirely new proposition, however, we're not quite as convinced.


7.5
CNET Rating
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Design

Ignoring all that unseemly fuss about Apple's entry into the tablet market, if you wanted a tablet in the past, you were largely stuck with something that looked like it was designed to be used in a hospital ward, rather than in your lounge room. That's because generally speaking, most tablets were designed with exactly that in mind, in order to service the kinds of vertical markets that previous Windows tablet operating systems suited best.

Windows 7 includes touchscreen compatibility as standard, and so it's not surprising to see more consumer-centric tablets being launched. The tm2 is HP's latest stab at a tablet, and at least at a visual level, it's rather nicely decked out. It uses the standard convertible tablet set-up, so you can either twist the screen down flat for a full touchscreen experience or flip it up and operate the tm2 as a standard 12.1-inch notebook PC. There's a subtle wind motif — at least we assume it's a wind motif — engraved on the lower right-hand side of the keyboard and again on the upper left-hand side of the display screen back. Tastes in engraved designs will vary, but we found it made a nice contrast against the metallic look of the system.

Features

The tm2 features an Intel Core 2 Duo processor SU7300 1.3GHz, 4GB of RAM (up to a maximum of 8GB), 500GB HDD, switchable 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4550 graphics and no on-board optical drive. Instead, you get an external LightScribe SuperMulti DVD±RW with double-layer support. As basic specifications go, the tm2 is exactly that; quite basic, and with an eye towards battery life rather than pure number-crunching power. As a tablet PC, the 12.1-inch, 1280x800-pixel display features a capacitive multi-touch capable display.

Ports include three USB 2.0, VGA, modem, Ethernet and standard headphone. Wi-Fi is supported with in-built 802.11a/b/g/n support. On the software side, the tm2 runs Windows 7 Professional, so clearly HP isn't entirely tilting this system towards consumers just yet. Other software pre-installed includes Cyberlink DVD suite, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Shockwave Player, Motorola SoftStylus, HP Total Care Set-up, HP Advisor, HP Wireless Assistant, HP Help & Support Center, HP Software Update and HP MediaSmart. On the trial-ware front you get a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office 2007 Pro, 20-day trial of Muvee Reveal and 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security.

Performance

From a pure benchmark point of view the tm2 should be capable of most tablet-specific tasks. We managed a respectable but not stunning PCMark05 score of 3720 and 3DMark06 score of 3201, with the ATI graphics running in full power mode.

What was more of interest to us was the battery life. The tm2's six-cell battery should give solid performance given the use of a low power CPU and the option to switch graphics to the lower power in-built Intel graphics solution. By default when you unplug the power it will attempt to switch to the lower power graphics solution, but we ran our standard full-screen video playback test over the tm2 in both full power and low power modes.

With the in-built ATI graphics running the show, the tm2's battery conked out in three hours, 13 minutes. That's not a stellar score for a 12-inch notebook, but it's not a terrible score either. Switching over to the Intel graphics solution, which is what the tm2 will do by default unless you tell it not to, made some serious amends, adding one hour and three minutes to playback time for a total of four hours and 16 minutes. Remember, our video playback test is deliberately brutal in order to display effective worst-case scenarios. Using the tm2 in a more restrained manner, especially if you're only using the on-board Intel graphics should allow you a bit more battery life than this.

As a working laptop, the tm2 is fine, but then at this price point it absolutely should be. We weren't thrilled by the flattened mouse pad that features a bottom section that's clickable in the style of Apple's clickable trackpads, but that's a minor quirk. What we did find in extended use of the tm2 was that the touch features were nice but not essential in everyday consumer tasks. There's still clearly a market for vertical applications in the tablet space, and in that context the tm2 is a solid purchase option. The definite lag in touchscreen applications, especially if you opt for a grubby digit rather than the supplied pen led us back to standard mouse controls most of the time.

Conclusion

As a laptop, the tm2 is an attractive proposition that's arguably a bit expensive for most consumer uses. While it's nice that Windows 7 offers up touchscreen capability, there's still a serious lack of killer consumer-based Windows applications to make it an attractive proposition. If you're an existing tablet user looking to upgrade, the tm2 is a very fine machine, but for non-tablet users we'd advise holding back and picking up a similar non-tablet laptop for less money.

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Ant
5
Rating
 

Ant posted a review   

The Good:Awesome for a designer

The Bad:After sales service

Have to agree with Davis - getting the thing fixed is proving to be a complete pain. Opened it up to find the screen cracked on Jan 13, something I have never had happen with any previous laptop I have ever owned in 10 years. Organised for a warranty repair the next day. Got told it wasn't covered by the warranty so paid up the cash money and am still waiting for it to be repaired. One month without my laptop and counting... thanks for all the "help" HP!

Great machine until this happened though...

 

Davis posted a comment   

The Good:None

The Bad:NO WARRANTY

Warranty is suck. You can never get your computer fixed and will waste you hour and hours to talk to the helpless call center person. You will be expected to on hold for hours while talking to them and get different stories everytime you call. More importantly, "THEY CAN NEVER TRANSFER YOU TO THE SAME PERSON YOU TALKED TO PREVIOUSLY". Hence, story will never end and your computer can never fixed. Good luck.

 

jay posted a comment   

The Good:yesh

The Bad:bo

good

 

EagleEye posted a comment   

The Good:so much better than the TX

The Bad:slightly different keyboard configuration to get used to but no biggy

I bought the tx1000 in Dec 2007. Thankfully I bought the extended warranty as I had problems with it many times. Over the course of 2.5 years, I had to get it serviced a few times. Overheating was one problem.

Thankfully, with the warranty I had purchased (specific to that store), on the 4th hardware repair, the computer gets replaced. So this past summer, I received the tm2 as a replacement and have been thoroughly pleased.

The tm2 is far better than the tx ever was. This doesn't over heat. With the tx, it would get so hot, I couldn't even put it on my lap, I had to buy a cooling fan to sit it on. The battery on this is great. I haven't clocked it but I'm sure it's close to 4, which feels like double the tx.

The mouse pad isn't great, but I use an external mouse whenever I can. I probably don't use the tablet features that much, and have it more for the novelty, but it comes in handy at times, especially watching movies on a plane when the person in front of you tilts their seat back.

Overall, I really enjoy this machine and am glad I stuck with the tablet when I had to get my tx replaced.

Big D 51
8
Rating
 

Big D 51 posted a review   

The Good:Fast, Good Battery Life

The Bad:Glare

The computer is awesome. The keyboard is very easy to type on. Very fast machine, espcially for a tablet. I never use the touch screen so I can't comment on it. Its light which is a another positive.

The only negative I have is the glare on the screen under certain lighting. The glare sucks.

 

Techno annoyed posted a comment   

The Good:Nothing now

The Bad:Dies after 13 months, 1 month out of warranty

Don't touch with someone elses wallet, it does die 1 month out of warranty. And hP wont do anything about it. Even though it is a common motherboard fault.

 

George posted a comment   

Stay away from this computer!
I purchased a HP TX1000 tablet laptop basically the same as the HP TouchSmart tm2-1000, lasted 13 months, right after the warranty expiered it died, and so has many more out there.

 

Ty1045 posted a reply   

Actually the tm2 is the upgrade of the tx series in which the addressed many of the faults of the tx series including battery life and over heating. The tm2 is not the same and is much improved over the tx.

 

George posted a comment   

Stay away from this computer!
I purchased a HP TX1000 tablet laptop basically the same as the HP TouchSmart tm2-1000, lasted 13 months, right after the warranty expiered it died, and so has many more out there.

 

Alex Kidman posted a comment   

Happy to explain. As yet, there are few absolute general purpose Windows 7 applications that rely on touch. Plenty of very specific applications for vertical markets (health is always the example that's brought up), but not that many that absolutely DEMAND touch (as distinct from Mouse control). Hence niche. Niche doesn't have to mean "terrible", but it does mean there's a smaller market for a Tablet like this.


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User Reviews / Comments  HP TouchSmart tm2

  • Ant

    Ant

    Rating5

    "Have to agree with Davis - getting the thing fixed is proving to be a complete pain. Opened it up to find the screen cracked on Jan 13, something I have never had happen with any previous laptop I ..."

  • Davis

    Davis

    "Warranty is suck. You can never get your computer fixed and will waste you hour and hours to talk to the helpless call center person. You will be expected to on hold for hours while talking to them..."

  • jay

    jay

    "good"

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