New HP laptops designed to entertain

Calling a touch-screen enabled notebook a Tablet is the kiss-of-death these days.

This probably explains why HP has gone out of its way to avoid the term when describing its new Pavilion tx2000 Entertainment Notebook ($1,299 / £660). With its 12.1-inch touch-sensitive screen, the tx2000 is aimed at students and professionals who need handwriting input on a high-powered laptop.

Dual touch-screen

The new laptop comes wrapped in HP's new Echo Imprint design - a circular and fine-line design that's part 70s psychedelic art and part Paul Smith. Although that sounds like it really shouldn't work, the low-key subtlety of the design ensures otherwise.

Like most tablets, sorry, 'touch-screen laptops', the tx2000's display rotates 180 degrees and folds flat. The screen is able to detect the presence of the digitiser pen that's supplied with the notebook, automatically switching between touch-sensitive and handwriting modes.

HP bundles its QuickPlay software home entertainment software, which incorporates photo viewing, the ability to watch and record live TV and, god help us all, karaoke software. Powered by an AMD dual core processor with an Nvidia GeForce Go graphics card, the tx2000 will cost £699 at launch in the UK.

This one's a back-breaker

For those looking for a more immersive home entertainment and gaming experience, the Pavilion HDX series of notebooks ($1,999 / £1,000) feature a whopping 20.1-inch screen. These behemoths include Intel dual-core Duo and dual-core Extreme CPUs, Nvidia's GeForce 8800m GTS graphics, with 512MB of VRAM and dual hard drives.

Just in case you thought you were in any danger of being able to lift one of these beasts up, they also feature four integrated Altec Lansing speakers and a bass-reflex sub-woofer, integrated digital and analogue TV tuners as well as a Blu-ray drive for hi-def movie playback. No UK price yet. Chiropractor's appointment not included.

Also in the Pavillion range...

Unlike the tx2000, the £799 HP Pavillion dv6700 Special Edition doesn't do subtle at all. The Thrive Imprint design is a love-hate affair from the off. Powered by the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor with an Nvidia GeForce Go graphics card, the dv6700 also boasts an integrated webcam, a wireless mouse and HP's Quickplay feature for one-click access to DVDs, photos and music.

The final new addition to HP's notebook range is the value-driven 17-inch Compaq Presario A900 Notebook PC. Expected to retail for just £400 in the UK, the A900 will use an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, sport an integrated webcam and come with up to 160GB of hard-drive capacity.

The A900 doesn't escape the style makeover of its more expensive cousins either, with a HP Trace Imprint based upon a fingerprint adorning the case and interior.