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4 Hot Multimedia Notebooks Reviewed

HP Pavilion HDX 9000

Apparently, the HDX has earned a different nickname of its very own, perhaps inspired by the calligraphic brushstrokes on the top cover and upper half of the keyboard deck; it’s sometimes called "the dragon." Its design is striking, and kicks the Zen pebble garden motif up a considerable notch from other HP notebooks we’ve reviewed recently.

Seen from the front, with the lid up, the HDX doesn’t look terribly different from other large-screen notebook PCs.

From the rear, however, the HDX’ unusual, massive aluminum tilt-forward dual screen hinge is clearly visible. This permits more adjustment of viewing angle than is typical for most notebooks, because the lower hinge hooks to the bottom deck, while the upper hinge lets the screen tilt independently.

Seen from the side, the dual-hinge design is easier to discern: the top hinge lets the screen tilt forward and back, while the bottom hinge elevates the pivot to a comfortable height above the keyboard deck.

Next, let’s take a look at the sides of the case, so you can see where its various connectors are placed, starting with the front.

On the front edge, dual headphone out and microphone in mini-jacks are visible; lurking in the edge unseen is the unit’s IR port.

On the left side, from left to right: two USB ports, RJ-45 GbE, Expansion/dock port, VGA, HDMI, E-SATA, and FireWire ports; a 5-in-1 memory card reader (SD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MMC and xD card) and an ExpressCard slot.

On the right side, from left to right: two USB ports, the HD-DVD drawer and a security cable lock aperture.

On the rear edge, from left to right: a fan/ventilation port, Blaster IR emitter, S-video, and NTSC/ATSC input to the left of the hinge, plus side, rear, center/subwoofer and front audio ports to the right of the hinge.

This unit is not really designed as a portable notebook PC; it’s designed to move from room to room with relative ease, and really belongs in the emerging category of living or media room notebook PCs, much like the larger Toshiba Qosmio units. That explains why our battery tests for the HDX were abysmal. Given the unit’s size and weight, you won’t want to work on it for long away from a wall socket anyway (while some may be strong enough to carry it around).

Its Core 2 Extreme X7800 processor also puts the unit more into the high-end desktop category (2.6 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache, FSB 800) than is typical, even for high-end media notebook PCs, as the benchmark results later in this story will demonstrate.