Here at TrustedReviews we're always keen to see truly interesting products. So, when this 20.1in behemoth first came to our attention back in May, suffice to say it piqued our curiosity. Back then it was rumoured to be a foray into the gaming space, however those claims proved to be erroneous and the end result is a large and unusually designed desktop replacement with a focus on entertainment and multimedia.
Indeed, it's the unusual design that first attracts and HP's design teams have certainly been earning their pay packets of late, consistently creating eye-catching, contemporary and classy consumer desktops and notebooks. The HDX is just another example of this, with the large 7.05kg chassis made to look surprisingly elegant thanks to the combination of some pleasing lines and the glossy black/silver finish. On the outside there's also a elegent "Dragon" inspired imprint design, a feature we previously saw with the HP Pavilion dv2560ea.
The first thing you'll probably notice, however, is the screen and its unusual hinge - or rather its two hinges, since that's what it has got. One is a normal hinge attached to the base, while the other pivots from the middle of the screen. It's an ingenious idea and, importantly, it's one that's been carried out to near perfection.
When opening the lid the screen stays firmly fixed into place until it reaches the limit of the first hinge and only then does the second hinge unlock, enabling you to move the screen into position. This may sound rather mundane in words alone but believe me it feels beautifully engineered, with the second hinge helping to create a far more natural and comfortable viewing position.
As a result sitting in front of the HDX feels far more like sitting in front of a desktop monitor, which given its status as a desktop replacement is no bad thing. Obviously the physical size helps in this regard too, with the 20.1 display sporting a 1,680x x 1,050 native resolution, just like desktop display. This is no coincidence, since the LCD panel used in the HDX is without doubt a desktop monitor panel rather than one designed for a notebook.
This isn't a problem in and of itself since it's a pretty good panel, producing nice colours, good contrast levels and smooth motion. However, with the HDX coming equipped with an HD DVD drive, the native resolution sits uncomfortably between 720p (1,280 x 720) and the full fat 1080p. When you consider that notebooks such as Qosmio G40-10E are shipping with, albeit smaller, 1,920 x 1,200 displays, the 1,680 x 1,050 of the HDX seems underwhelming. It's a topic that's generated a considerable amount of argument in the office, with some considering it a major problem while others accepting the compromise. It's an issue I'll be revisiting later on, but until then let's take a closer look at the chassis as a whole.