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HP TouchSmart tm2-1010ea - Performance, Battery Life, Value and Verdict
As already mentioned, European models of the tm2 are somewhat crippled by not featuring the option of Intel's newer Core i3 and i5 processors. The extent of this is obvious from the chart below, which compares to the Core i5 found in the similarly-priced Samsung SF310. However, where sub £1,000 tablet convertibles are concerned, the tm2's 1.3GHz SU4100 holds up quite well to the Celeron SU2300 CPU found in its closest rival, the Butterfly Touch.
While not quite as smooth as Nvidia's Optimus system as found on the SF310, AMD's switchable graphics nonetheless works, allowing you to get long battery life using Intel's integrated effort or extra performance courtesy of AMD when plugged in. You can even engage in a little modest gaming, as the Mobility Radeon HD4550 managed a smooth 34.7fps average in TrackMania Nations Forever (albeit at 1,200 x 800, which is slightly less demanding than our usual test resolution of 1,366 x 768). More demanding fare is not on the menu, however, and Stalker: Call of Priyat wasn't playable.
Thanks to a 62Wh, 11.1V battery, the tm2 can survive for quite a while away from a socket. In the semi-intensive Productivity test, it managed a very respectable seven hours and forty minutes, which should be plenty for most users. Of course this will decrease considerably if you use the AMD graphics.
When it comes to value, the tm2 is in an enviable position. It's one of the few convertible tablet laptops available on the consumer market, and the only one we're aware of with Wacom's digitizer built-in for under £1,000. Indeed, for the hardware and features you're getting, its current price of £600 is a bargain – especially when you throw in premium extras like the external DVD rewriter.
On the other hand, as a normal laptop its touchpad is a pain, and it's bulky with limited connectivity. As a tablet, it's not always comfortable to hold (not helped by its 1.9kg weight) and its poor screen really lets it down. Thus it's certainly not for everyone, but if you'll use its features, it's an affordable and versatile option.
HP's tm2 is a mixture of great and disappointing, though its flaws are at least easier to stomach thanks to its reasonable price. With the added advantage of being one of the few players in its field, it's definitely worth considering if you're after a convertible tablet laptop, but we're still waiting for a machine of this type that truly delivers.