When we first played with the latest version of HP’s TouchSmart software on the tx2z tablet, we were excited by the interface and new touch apps like Hulu and Twitter, but we thought the design was bloated and dated. Now HP has given its software a better home inside the TouchSmsart tm2 (starting at $899), a convertible with a sleeker aluminum design. HP has not only given the optical drive the old heave-ho, it has replaced the engine, opting for an Intel ULV processor instead of AMD for longer battery life.
We spent a few minutes with a pre-production model and came away impressed. This looks like a Tablet we’d buy. Check out the video and gallery below.
Taking a cue from the luxury HP Envy line, the tm2 sports a Riptide engraved illustration to add some flair. Like the Envy 13 and 15, you’ll also find a big touchpad with integrated buttons. We found this touchpad to be wonky on those other two machines, but this one seemed a bit smoother. Plus, HP disabled the multitouch gestures on the touchpad by default to streamline operations; after all, you’ll be using the 12-inch screen for pinching and zooming.
The tm2 is equipped with a Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor, offering up to 9 hours of battery life, and you can configure your system with Intel integrated graphics or ATI Mobility Radeon graphics for extra punch. The bigger story, though, is the software. In addition to the TouchSmart suite, which includes Hulu, Twitter, and Netflix apps for entertainment, HP bundles BumpTop (a touch-enabled 3D desktop) and Corel Paint It Touch (for drawing on and painting on screen with your fingers).
During our brief hands-on time with the tm2, the hardware felt more solid and easier to carry, and the guts of the machine seemed better able to keep up with HP’s touch software. The tm2 seems like an especially good option for students or anyone who wants to take handwritten notes with a digital pen. After all, this is still a Tablet PC. The multitouch capabilities just take it to another level. Stay tuned for a full review.