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As we've become accustomed to with HP machines, the tx2050ea is a very well designed and constructed notebook. HP has brought this model into line with the rest of its Pavilion line, with a glossy black lid and bezel and an attractive imprint design that continues on the interior. It's full of nice touches, such as a button for turning off the touch pad and playback/shortcut buttons on the bezel that can be easily accessed whatever position the screen is in.
You also have the mini remote that fits into the 34mm ExpressCard slot, while there are infrared receivers on both the front edge and on the bezel, so you can use the remote in both normal and tablet positions. A fingerprint reader to the side of the screen is another nice touch, though it can be a bit awkward to use depending on what finger or thumb you employ - please do remember to log more than one!
Nowhere, however, is the quality of the construction more apparent than in the screen hinge. It's beautifully designed, holding the screen firmly in place but making it easy to adjust and switch positions within seconds. It's definitely the best mechanism we've seen, which is important given consumers will have less patience for fiddly lock mechanisms than a hardened Tablet PC user. But, why would you want a convertible screen in the first place?
In fact, HP's reasoning in this respect seems fairly solid. Flexibility, especially in portable notebooks, is a useful commodity and this machine has it in spades. It's particularly useful in confined spaces such as trains and planes, where on a normal notebook it might be difficult to get a comfortable viewing angle for the screen.
It also enables you to view documents and web pages in portrait mode and obviously write notes using the provided pen. And, though that isn't something a lot of people will find useful, handwriting recognition is surprisingly good and an active digitiser means you can hover over the screen with the pen and rest your wrist down while writing. It's just a shame that using your finger is still such a hit and miss affair, which means you'll want to use the provided pen in most instances.