As Apple's iPad stimulates a growth of interest in the tablet PC sector, the HP TM2-1010ea aims to be the best of both laptop and handheld worlds. It's based on the same design as the Dell Latitude XT2 and just-announced HP EliteBook 2740p, with a rotating 12-inch touchscreen that folds back flat against the keyboard to magically transform the whole shebang into a tablet PC. We took it for a spin at a recent PC World showcase showing off touchscreen technology.
That does make the 1010 fairly thick, and in tablet mode the screen doesn't fold as pleasingly flush as when the laptop is closed normally. It weighs around 2.15kg, which isn't light. Still, we could see ourselves wandering around with it in the crook of our arm, occasionally tapping it and saying, "Mmm-hmm," in a knowing tone.
The 1010 packs an Intel Pentium SU4100 chip clocked at 1.3GHz, with 4GB of RAM. Graphics are handled by an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4550 chip with 512MB of dedicated memory. It connects to the Web with 802.11b, g and n Wi-Fi, and is preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium.
The frame boasts a handy three USB ports, an Ethernet port and an SD card reader, as well as HDMI to output to your television. Juice is provided by a six-cell battery.
The touchscreen is impressively responsive, allowing you to swipe around the screen. A touchscreen comes into its own when the other option is a trackpad -- swooshing files around or resizing photos is more fun than poking at a tiny trackpad. The 1010's pad is pretty big, but we'd rather get rid of it and have a more roomy keyboard.
It's hard to judge tablets if your job doesn't call for you to use one. We're drawn to the gadget-porn of twisty screens and transforming touchscreens, but we're yet to be sold on the tablet concept. Check out our pictures of the 1010's metamorphosis, then tell us your thoughts in the comments.