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HP TouchSmart tm2-1010ea review: HP TouchSmart tm2-1010ea

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Firstly, usability takes a hit. The chances are that you'll want to do some typing at some point. A virtual keyboard lurks in the corner of the screen, ready to burst onto centre stage if you need to input any characters into a document or search bar, for example. This keyboard doesn't work brilliantly, though. It's rather slow to register your inputs, and dragging it out every time you need to write something quickly becomes tiresome. We found ourselves guiltily parting the screen from the chassis slightly, and sticking our hand in the resulting gap, so we could quickly use the physical keyboard.

Secondly, the tm2-1010ea has a weight problem. At 2.15kg, it's pretty hefty, and your arms will quickly tire if you carry it around with you for long. Additionally, the distribution of weight is far from even, due to the very chunky battery pack at the laptop's rear. This imbalance caused the tm2-1010ea to wriggle out of our grip several times during testing. If you're thinking the tm2-1010ea might be a good alternative to something like the iPad, think again.

Mediocre performance
The tm2-1010ea offers switchable graphics -- you can switch between an ATI Radeon HD 4550 GPU, which beefs up performance, and a lower-power integrated Intel graphics card if you need to conserve battery life. Both of these work in tandem with the dual-core, 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100 CPU.

Backed up by a hefty 4GB of RAM, the tm2-1010ea racked up a reasonably respectable score of 3,230 in the PCMark05 CPU benchmarking test. The tm2-1010ea doesn't feel sluggish at all when it comes to tasks such as Web browsing or watching high-definition videos online, but you can't push this machine too hard.

It scored a similarly middle-of-the-road score of 1,436 in the 3DMark06 benchmark test, using the ATI GPU. That means playing games is out of bounds on this machine, unless they're at least a few years old.

With the Intel GPU in use, the tm2-1010ea held out for 2 hours and 40 minutes when we ran the punishing Battery Eater Classic test, which runs the CPU at full tilt until the battery's exhausted. That's by no means a disgrace, but it's not particularly great either.

We also found that performing this test caused the laptop to get very hot. When we tried to turn the machine on again after the test had finished, it gave us some stern words about cooling fans and being overheated, and promptly shut itself down. After waiting a while, we got it working again. You probably won't find this to be a problem unless you're really pushing the tm2-1010ea to its limits, but it's worth bearing in mind if you plan on undertaking any particularly intensive tasks.

The HP TouchSmart tm2-1010ea tries to be both a tablet and laptop, but it ends up falling between two stools. Unless you're dead set on owning a swivelling, convertible machine, we'd recommend you opt for a more powerful laptop, such as the cheap, 17.3-inch Samsung R730, which will better serve your media needs. On the other hand, if you're sure you want a tablet, the tm2-1010ea probably isn't what you're looking for, because it's fairly heavy and the touchscreen interface is slightly too clunky. We'd recommend you check out Apple's iPad instead. It's cheaper and much more usable.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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