One other area of contention that needs to be dealt with is performance. Now, you’ll have noticed we don’t cover many AMD powered notebooks, the last was another small and cheap notebook, the MSI PR210, and that’s because manufacturers aren’t keen for us to review them since the AMD mobile platform doesn’t match up well against Intel. So, despite this system having a 2.3GHz CPU, it still trails an Intel equivalent running at only 2.0GHz. Moreover, since our system actually has a faster CPU than that which will ship with customer units, this difference is going to be more marked.
It’s in the CPU intensive in-house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub tests where the disparity is clearest, with results that are far inferior to both of our test systems, both of which sported 2.0GHz Intel CPUs. This shouldn’t perturb the average user greatly since it’s still more than adequate for normal usage, but those with more demanding requirements should stick with an Intel based machine.
In addition, the AMD platform suffers when it comes to battery life. We only have the eight-cell battery so couldn’t test with the six-cell, but we found we got around four and half hours when using the Balanced profile. This sounds fine in isolation, but with Intel machines you’d be looking at over five hours, perhaps even towards six under the same conditions. Again, battery life is still acceptable given the price and features you’re getting, but it’s worth considering if battery life is a primary concern for you.
But does this, along with the other issues, tarnish the Pavilion tx2050ea’s other more attractive elements? Without doubt, there are enough issues to provide some serious thought and if you would prefer a higher quality screen over Tablet PC functionality then you’re better off looking elsewhere – perhaps the Samsung Q45, Dell XPS M1330 or Toshiba Satellite U300 would suit.
Yet, there are still enough positive aspects to the tx2050ea to make it an attractive proposition. For watching films in confined spaces few notebooks can match it, while it’s as attractive and well put together as any we’ve seen, especially at this price point. Throw in Draft-N wireless and a host of other neat features and its still a great option, even if it’s a little slower and less frugal than more expensive machines.
Despite a disappointing screen and some performance issues, the Pavilion tx2050ea is a solid and very affordable Tablet PC targeted at regular consumers rather than business users. Perfect for working and playing in confined spaces, its convertible screen makes it uniquely flexible, while its design makes it both attractive and easy to use. It won’t be for everyone, but those who fall for its charms will appreciate them all the more.