By Mike Joubert 26 August 2009


Since their inception tablet PCs have been given a bit of a bad wrap. Can HP change their fortune with the multi-touch capable tx2?

The concept behind tablet PCs is very noble. Take a regular notebook and enable the screen to turn and fold onto the keyboard. Ta Da- now you can write and work on a portable tablet. The reality is that up until now tablets have had a very limited appeal in the marketplace. 

HP is trying to change all this with their TouchSmart tx2 notebook (yes they call it a notebook, but trust us it’s a tablet).

The ace up their sleeve is the 12.1" TouchSmart multi-touch screen. In fact, HP is marketing the tx2 as the world’s first multi-touch consumer notebook. What HP’s multi-touch allows you to do is use two fingers when interacting with the screen to, for example stretch a photo, turn it around and zoom into it.

We’ve seen this technology before on the iPhone, BlackBerry Storm and MacBook, and it was excellent experiencing it on a Windows based notebook. It really shines in MediaSmart Photo and MediaSmart World, two exclusive HP creations where you can play around with your pics in a Google World like globe.  Apart from this though the practical use of multi-touch is still very limited.


The tx2 isn’t cheap, it retails at a hefty R14 999, so we were glad to see HP didn’t skimp on specs and added extras. Ours came with a spacious 320 GB hard disk, a solid 3072 MB of DDR2 RAM, and ran on the commendable AMD Turion X2 2.2 GHz dual-core processor. Of course it has Wi-Fi and a bunch of multimedia extras such as a webcam, a mini remote and 5-in-1 media reader. We appreciated the inclusion of an extra 4-cell battery with the regular 8-cell one, and the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 graphics card came in very handy. What we missed though is an HDMI port to connect it to HD equipment.

The machine HP sent us came with Windows 7 nogal, but it is expected that it will run on Vista Home Premium.


The tx2’s build quality is really solid and it comes across as a very robust machine with a nicely designed skin. Some might complain about the battery that is not flush, but we actually liked the elevation that the protrusion gave the machine when flat, and it added extra grip when holding it as a tablet. The tx2 though is not a netbook in weight, and at more than 2 kg it gets a bit hefty carrying around.


If rumours of an Apple tablet are true we can expect a rise in popularity of tablets. When this happens the HP is set up nicely to become the leader of the Windows tablet pack. With the tx2’s multi-touch HP is allowing us a glimpse into the future and we suspect that this technology will become ubiquitous on tablets. The tx2 is a very good notebook , but if you buy it only for the multi-touch you will be left disappointed.

R14 999.00 at the HP Experience Store in Sandton.

World\'s first consumer multi-touch notebook/ tablet PC. Solid build and decent specs.
Quite pricey and there is only limited multi-touch functionality.

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