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Joanna Stern Reviews the HP Touchsmart tm2 Tablet PC



Joanna Stern has given the HP Touchsmart tm2 Tablet PC a thorough review on Engadget and she covers all the bases and then some. The tm2 is an update of earlier tx models running a Core i3 processor with a 12.1 inch screen and a new touch layer on the capacitive display. HP targets these machines at consumers and I’ve always questioned why HP seems to think consumers love these big glossy, heavy, metal beasts with earlier models. Many of Joanna’s comments in the text and video portions of the review hint at exactly my concerns. Make sure you check out the video portion of the review, and you’ll see some concerns I, and many others, share with Joanna about how these touch screens bog down on Windows 7.

Other interesting factors of note, there is apparently no accelerometer so no automatic screen rotation. The fancy touch UI doesn’t work in portrait mode. Joanna says she had a decent Inking experience with no palm interference Inking in Microsoft Word, but that she had some issues entering urls in IE.

The tm2 starts at $899.



  1. GoodThings2Life

    06/27/2010 at 8:01 am

    I got one of the tx2000 tablets as a special about a year ago. It’s not a terrible piece of hardware, but it’s just too bulky and heavy for everyday use… and it’s a bit frustrating that they kept the same design base for the new model.

    I love the EliteBook 27xxp series… great form factor, and doesn’t have all the glossy bulkiness to it. I’m still disappointed about the HP Slate, because it looked to be a nice design as well.

    I still believe it wasn’t Microsoft that failed the Tablet PC, it’s the OEM’s and their lack of follow-through with only releasing minor updates rather than truly innovating with the hardware.

  2. Feralboy

    06/27/2010 at 12:25 pm

    While HP did make some “mistakes” with this machine (I’m using mine right now), they were likely to keep the price in the sub 1K range, which is pretty impressive. Yes, the screen is too glossy and the hump is unfortunate (though, I assume it’s in response to complaints about the battery sticking out the back on the TX2 — we’re never happy), but all of these issues melt away in actual use. I bought the TM2 believing it would be a temporary machine unitl I could afford a smaller, lighter machine, and well, I simply fell in love with it. Because my tablet is always with me, I may still invest in a lighter machine, but for now, the TM2 (pre i3 model) is a very nice machine. Windows 7 is always faulted for not being touch friendly, but in actual day-to-day use, you find it’s not only sufficient, but rather nice. I often use the pen and touch concurrently — in OneNote, for instance — and find the flexibility second to none. Sure, I hope we get a few tweaks to make it even more touch friendly, but in the end, I’m one happy tableteer with this purchase. Oh, and despite the hump, I’m typing this on my lap. If I take my hands off the machine, it will tip and possibly fall, be even that limitation is pretty easy to work with and no longer an issue for me.

    • acerbic

      06/27/2010 at 2:07 pm

      Somehow they managed to make the battery not stick out in any direction in the 2740p. I guess that must be so difficult that it raises the price by about $1000 :-(

    • Night

      06/27/2010 at 3:08 pm

      So, the glossy screen doesn’t alter your ability of writing notes and actually see what you are writing? I am a university student and i would like to buy this of taking notes in class, but the screen seems to be too glossy. I am afraid that i will not be able to clearly see what i am writing because of the “glossyness”.

      • Chris

        06/28/2010 at 10:45 am

        Night, I’m also a student, and I can tell you this is probably one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Granted, you will most likely want to do a format once you pick it up, and reinstall windows and all the necessary drivers and software you want, to get rid of all the bloat nonsense HP fills their computer with, but if you’re even moderately technically competent that’s very easy, and if you’re not, it takes less than a day to learn.

        I have no problem whatsoever with the glossy screen, or the battery at the back, and frankly I think those are details for reviewers to nitpick about. Also turning the screen brightness down from full but still to a comfortable level, switching off bluetooth, and keeping my usage to notetaking software, I can go through two 3-hour lectures and still have some power in the end as well – yes that’s more than 6 hours of use! The keyboard is beautiful to use, and the machine is light enough for me that weight was never a bother.

        I’d urge you to be sceptical of online reviews – a lot of these are done by staff who go through one machine to the other, who aren’t going to spend more than a limited amount of time with the machine to actually learn the best ways to use it and its intricacies. If I had the Tm2 for use for 5 hours, and an iPad for 5 hours, I’d definitely be more impressed with the iPad. But having actually spend considerable time with both, the Tm2 is incredible, and so flexible it can do anything – while the iPad, really is, just a toy. Being a student like you, I can tell you that once you’ve used touch Windows 7, Onenote, and a .pdf reader that allows you to annotate your documents, you simply cannot go back to a regular machine, the flexibility and rise in productivity you get is massive.

        I also ordered mine from the US shop so got a custom model with the switchable Radeon graphics, and this also serves as a surprisingly powerful gaming machine for modern games – I can easily play games like Bioshock, Dragon’s Age and Oblivion on this. And as for multimedia, you have a proper hard disk to store tons of movies, music, and the like, and if you download media centre software like xbmc, you also get incredible capabilities on how to access and store them.

        • Night

          06/29/2010 at 7:43 am

          Hi! Thanks for your toughts as a student about this tablet pc! It seems really nice to use it for abou 5 hour of note taking in class. Can I ask you something? Have you also re-installed the HP quick web? I ask because, to me, it seems to ben an interesting feature. Second question: do the 2 digitizer (the active one and the capacitive one) function inside the “Hp quick web” istant OS? It would be nice to use my finger to view some picture and files inside this istant OS.

  3. Modnar

    06/27/2010 at 3:30 pm

    Yeah been keeping an eye on this one for ages as it has the Wacom Pen and touch but being a uni student its a lot of $$ to spend especially being here in NZ as to buy it here costs even more.

    How many touches does the TM2 do? 2 or 4?

    • Sumocat

      06/27/2010 at 5:17 pm

      Wacom digitizer is currently limited to two. Supposedly that is a software limit, but an update is yet to be announced.

  4. Feralboy

    06/27/2010 at 3:34 pm


    I’ve used it in corporate settings and in a WPF class I took with little problem. Often, I use my cleaning cloth to elevate the top end when taking notes and it works well. If you’re getting it for class, and this is your first TPC, give yourself a month or so to get used to it. It’s got an awesome keyboard, but force yourself to use only ink and the TIP for a solid month and you’ll be golden. The power of the TPC platform is it’s flexibility…you use what tool best suits the task at hand. A lot of people don’t take up the challenge of the pen/touch interface and end up using their machines solely as laptops. A serious loss in my experience.

    Battery life, with near full brightness and wifi on, is 3-4 hours, tops, so expect to find an outlet during the day unless you’re careful with the usage (reduce backlight, turn off wifi when not needed, etc.) Strangely, the battery hump actually gives you something solid to hold on to when using it, but the reality is, you will likely rarely use it that way. It will either be lying on a table or cradled in you lap. In your lap, the hump is barely noticeable and since it runs fairly cool, even that’s not a problem. As a student aid, I think you’ll like it, along with OneNote 2010, I can’t think of a better combo…but ymmv (: Good luck in school!

    • Night

      06/27/2010 at 4:16 pm

      Hi! Thanks for your thoughts about this tablet. Yes, I don’t have a tablet at this time and i’ve never had one. But i’ve been reading about tablt pcs here on GBM for about 1 year and now i really “belive” in Tablet Pcs. I really think that the ink functionalities of Tablet Pcs are great!
      As for the “problem” of the battery life maybe it could be solved by using a “bigger” battery. Does a “bigger than 6 cell” battery exists for this tm2-2?

      PS. Sorry but since i am european i don’t think to know what is a “WPF class”. can somebody tell me? Thanks :-)

  5. Feralboy

    06/27/2010 at 9:37 pm


    No bigger battery exists. I can’t imagine the hump that would create! Lol!

    The screen is VERY bright, so bumping it down a couple notches to save battery life shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I haven’t done any tests, but I think some people are claiming 5-6 hours that way. Again, ymmv, and the new units, with the I3 processors may get more or less time (though, I don’t think they’ve shipped yet…at least not in the US).

    Tablet PC Forums has a very active discussion going on about this machine, so you might want to read the postings there as people have covered it from top to bottom.

    WPF is a Microsoft technology for GUI design…

  6. aj

    06/29/2010 at 10:08 am

    I just received mine, ordered a month ago from last night (a Core 2 Duo, not an i3.) I can update with some impressions once I get it up and running.

    Out of the box though some things jumped out at me right away.

    First of all… am I crazy or is this thing PINK??? I thought it was going to be silver, but I swear the thing has a pink hue. Not to be all uncomfortable in pink or anything, but seriously? My tablet is pink? Did I miss a step when I customized mine or something?

    It is very glossy, but once it’s powered on it’s not such a big problem. But the viewing angles are terrible, and THAT is a problem. I like to hold my tablet in my arm, and if I’m not holding it perfectly dead-on, it looks like ass. It’s very unforgiving.

    This is replacing my dearly departed Lenovo X61. Lots of differences to get used to: glossy vs matte, widescreen feels very narrow, capacitive “figer” touch not as accurate as the X61 was to the tip of my fingernail. To anyone transitioning from a paper-like tablet, I will caution that the TM2 experience seems inferior at first. Here’s hoping that the transition isn’t as hard as it first appears.

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