In recent years HP has gone out of its way to make sure it dazzles in at least one area and that's with its high-gloss laptop finishes.
The new addition to its HDX premium brand, the HP HDX16-1005ea, is no exception and this time there's almost no surface in sight that hasn't got either a high-gloss or silver finish.
Add to that flash new decals, a full silver touchpad and a touch-sensitive media bar equipped with blue LEDs and you've got something corporate design would love. But then there's a group of people that seem to love having glowing fruit on the back of their laptops, so whose is to say where good design ends and gaudy begins?
Looks aside this is another of the Centrino 2 generation of Intel based laptops and for all of Intel's talk of low-power, battery life extending technology the HDX16 only ran for a little over 2-hours in our test. Hardly the next-generation sort of battery performance we'd like. But this machine isn't designed for out-and-out portability.
Testament to that is the frankly beautiful 16-inch screen, with which its 1920x1080 screen resolution almost moved us to tears. The Windows Vista desktop has never looked so sumptuous and movie colours leap off the screen and as it comes with a Blu-ray reader – which includes DVD rewriting abilities – you're able to enjoy Full HD 1080p films to their full.
Gaming isn't quite as great a story but expect the NVIDIA 9600M GT to be able to play recent games like Fallout 3 happily at 1280x720 resolutions without anti-aliasing, though the overall performance was quite as good as other similar specced systems.
Big on bass
Proving its multi-media capabilities is an integrated digital TV tuner, this is along-side a supplied slim-line Media Center remote and portable aerial. The remote can even stashed away in the ExpressCard slot for convenience.
Other similar touches are the webcam and integrated Altec stereo speakers. These offer decent bass but fail somewhat at the high-end but for a laptop do a good sonic job.
Rounding off the features are 4GB of memory, a decent 320GB of drive space and an all-powerful Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor. All of which are for this price point are the minimum of what you'd expect.
That's the crux of the situation for the HP, beyond what is an amazing screen it offers little above what is to be found on other similar priced systems. But if shove comes to push, we'd happily opt for the screen.