The HDX range is HP's premium consumer brand, and provides stylish, high-quality multimedia machines. The HDX16-1010EA (£978 inc. VAT) is a 16-inch laptop that combines power, usability and features in a semi-portable package.

The design is by far the most striking feature, with a combination of high-gloss chrome-effect materials and patterned shiny plastics. We found it to be one of the most attractive machines in a while.

The 16-inch screen is every bit as good as its rivals, matching the Samsung for sharpness. Watching films on it was a pleasure. Colours are reproduced in stunning clarity. Try before you buy if you intend to use it out of the house, however, as we also found it to be one of the most reflective panels we have seen.

nVidia graphics

Using the same mid-range nVidia GeForce 9600M GT GPU as the Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B. You can play the latest games or edit videos without trouble, although you may have to turn down resolution settings in some of the most demanding games.

Build quality is excellent. The screen is held firmly by a hinge that runs the width of the chassis. Fit and finish is also above average, and the cohesive design adds to the premium feel of this laptop.

The keyboard is faultless. Its shallow typing action will suit touch-typists, but a soft-touch finish to the keys also provides excellent long-term comfort and usability. A numeric keypad is squeezed alongside; the keys are slightly smaller than those on the main keyboard, but still offer an improved way of entering numbers.

The touchpad is large and responsive, but we found the plastic finish proved slightly too resistive, so scrolling your cursor onscreen takes slightly longer than it needs to.

Remote control

Backing up its multimedia credentials, you'll find a variety of ways to control the HDX when watching movies. As well as touch-sensitive media keys below the display, you'll find a full remote control to use from the comfort of your sofa. There's even a mini remote that stores in the ExpressCard slot for use when travelling.

Sound quality is better than on most laptops, thanks to Dolby-certified speakers by audio company Altec Lansing.

The powerful 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor is backed by 4096MB of DDR3 memory, and we found the HP was one of the quickest machines in day-to-day use. It handled all we threw at it with ease. However, battery life was poor at just 148 minutes, limiting mobility.

Overall, the HDX16 is a deeply impressive laptop. Offering the full power of the larger machines, it features a screen that's every bit as good, wrapped in a stylish and high-quality chassis.