Netbooks are not new to us and certainly not to HP. HP had its own portfolio of netbooks under the HP Mini brand name. Netbooks are good if you’re traveling frequently and really don’t want to carry the burden of a full fledged laptop and yet have your most essential requirements fulfilled. How about also getting a taste of tablet like functionality with touchscreen enabled one? With introduction of Windows 8, that seemed true and better as Windows 7 wasn’t really made for both netbooks and especially touchscreens. Suddenly there was an increase in the touchscreen enabled laptops and Windows running tablets. HP on other hand thought it would be a good idea to create a fusion of the netbooks and tablets. Now whether that goes down well with consumers at $320 (~Rs.30,000) is altogether a different question. That’s why we put ourselves in your shoes tried to find it out for you. And we’ll be referring it as TS10 in the most part of the review, so don’t get confused.
Just like we said earlier, HP TouchSmart 10 is the mix of a netbook and a tablet. It gets its design traits from the old Mini series. Design has obviously been refined with the time. This time around, although the netbook is slim, surprisingly it has earned some weight compared to the Mini series netbook. For example, HP Mini 210 weighs around 1.22 Kg while this TS10 is close to 1.5 Kg. Yet, you can carry it around just as efficiently. It’s 22 mm thick.
HP TS10 has a 10.1 Brightview, touchscreen, LED backlit display with HD+ resolution (1366×768) which brings pixel density close to 155 ppi. To the most us, this would sound just too less as we all live in the world where displays churn out more pixels than our eyes can notice actually. With the operating system of different kind, experience is totally different as well. It’s got 79 keys, island-style keyboard which is 93% of usual ones of same style.
On the left side of the TS10 there are heat vents, a HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and a card reader. HP hasn’t color coded (blue) the USB 3.0 port but instead put a label next to it. Color coding really makes it easy to identify ports, at least HP should have known this. Then, on the right side we have a combo audio 3.5mm jack, couple of USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45 port and charging port.
The battery fills the void between the display hinges. Speakers are on the bottom of the TS10 but since the bottom is slighlty curved towards the front, they don’t get suppressed very much.
The hardware used for TouchSmart 10 is just what any netbook would have. It is built around AMD’s A4 dual core CPU at 1 GHz and 2GB of RAM with AMD Radeon HD 8180 taking care of graphics. It’s got 500GB of HDD as well. In some markets it’s sold with 320GB one and 500GB is an optional upgrade. TS10 features a 3 cell 2422 mAh battery, which accroding to HP, should provide five hours of usage before giving up.
It’d be wrong on our part to expect unrealistic performance from any netbook irrespective of the brands. Netbooks aren’t made for the performance, rather they are get-your-work-done style devices. And the hardware isn’t definitely the spectacular in the case of TouchSmart 10. With A4 dual core CPU, it’s already looking poor. During our review period, it felt very much underpowered. If you are a workholic who keeps 5-10 tabs open in the browser while you work on your presentations and listening to the music, hiccups will surely be your company. Both the poor hardware and the not-so-optimized Windows 8.1 are to be blamed. Although there is a dedicated GPU to offload graphic intensive stuff from the CPU, it doesn’t seem to help very much. Plus, it has to take care of HD+ resolution (so more pixels) and touchscreen information. At least, at this price point HP should have considered using better hardware which would have efficiently run the Win 8.1.
PCMark8 Home Conventional
The benchamrking softwares too were not appreciative of its performance. They put the TS10 in the low performance category. So if you’re considering using it for anything more than casual works, then be warned.