HDX Dragon-First Impressions

April 30, 2008 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment

HDX Dragon = Extreme Power in a Great Stylish Package.

I saw the beginning of the change from the basic boxy boring desktop pc with a HP Media Center 873n Desktop PC that I previewed a few months before its public release (for the launch of the first version of Windows Media Center Edition, October 29, 2002). At the time I said that it still wasn’t “sexy enough” for the living room, or any room other than the home office or the den. And it sure wasn’t something I could easily put in the car and drag around New England to show off to friends.

Fast forward to May 2008. HP, you’ve come a long way. This is my kind of desktop replacement. Sleek styling, not a dust catcher, and a computer I’d love to have downstairs and to take with me on long weekends around New England. This is computing done right (at least for me). I can see the Dragon as a complete Entertainment/Home Theater/Productivity all-in-one system for small apartments, dorm rooms, campers, and guest bedrooms/dens, and the kitchen counter. It’s a svelte and sexy computer. (The only unsexy thing, which you can hide, is the power brick which is massive and very reminiscent of the Xbox 360 power brick.)

 

 unbox1

The HDX Dragon makes a stylish addition to my kitchen counter. A mini remote control is supplied that fits into a recessed storage area to the left of the keyboard.

I was gratified to see that, with the HDX Dragon, HP has made the jump to 64 bit computing (I’m an x 64 evangelist since way back). My review/contest giveaway unit came with Vista x64 Ultimate but Vista x64 Home Premium IS an option. My advice, go for Ultimate on this one. This is a high end, high class machine. If you decide to order this computer, get Vista SP1 pre-installed. (I’ve installed the SP1 update myself).

The HDX Dragon definitely has bells and whistles and icing on top of that. HP’s website lists all kinds of options which appear at the bottom of this post. (I’ve highlighted in yellow at the end of this the installed options on my review unit/contest giveaway unit that some lucky reader will receive). In addition, HP and BuzzCorps will ship more software and Blu-Ray HD movies directly to the winner.

Getting up and running  after connecting the power supply is a good experience. Booting up the HDX Dragon for the first time involves agreeing to licensing, selecting a user name and password, and the typical Vista “optimizing system performance” routines. This is followed by a short and slick video from HP.

Once at the desktop, the Fingerprint Reader application asks you if you want to register your fingerprints. It’s quick and easy. The placement of the fingerprint reader hardware is above the keyboard in the center area, and not on the side of the display as I expected. In any case, I find fingerprint readers a great convenience factor but not necessarily a security control.

The screen and video display is absolutely stunning and viewable from even what appears to be a 170 degree angle. I’d expect no less from a high end machine. The video is powered by a 512MB NVidia 8800. 1920 x 1200 pixels is awesome. And I can’t wait to view some Blu-Ray HD DVD’s at 1080p.

Windows Media Center easily found and setup the internal HDTV Hybrid Tuner. I’m not in a good OTA reception area, and only one channel (the local ABC affiliate) has enough strength for a decent signal, but the picture quality from that one channel is pretty impressive on this display. I’ll try hooking up one of my external USB tuners (connected to a Comcast set top box) and I’m sure it will be a terrific experience. By the way, the HDX Dragon boasts both VGA and HDMI connectors. If you have a big screen TV and are having a block party, go ahead and hook up, there’s plenty of video power to drive an external display.

Four USB ports provide enough connectivity for all my peripherals (and all at the same time!). There’s even a Firewire port so importing video from my Canon HV20 is quick and easy. Trackpad/mouse controls are very similar to the TX1000/2000 series notebooks. Very tactile and extremely easy and accurate. On a notebook this size, there’s room for more than the standard notebook type keyboard. I was glad to see a number pad, separate cursor keys, etc. It’s really like a full desktop experience.

I’ll have more to report over the next week.

Operating System
The main control program of your system. See Productivity Software category for Office applications.
  Choices:
Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
Upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
Processor
A faster processor supports more efficient operations and applications performance
  Choices:
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.10 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T8300 (2.40 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T9300 (2.50 GHz, 6 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T9500 (2.60 GHz, 6 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Extreme Processor X9000 (2.80GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Display 
The window to applications, the Internet and more
  Choices:
20.1" diagonal WSXGA+ High-Definition HP Ultra Brightview Widescreen Display (1680 x 1050)
20.1" diagonal WUXGA High-Definition HP Ultra Brightview Widescreen (1920×1200)-"True HD" 1080p res
Memory
Use more programs at once and make them run faster with more memory
  Choices:
2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
Graphics Card
Bring your favorite applications and games to life
  Choices:
256MB ATI(TM) Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 2600 XT
512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTS
Personalization
Choose the way you would like your HP PC to look.
  Choices:
HP Imprint Finish (Dragon) + Fingerprint Reader + Webcam + Microphone
Networking
PC includes a network port for broadband Internet connectivity. Internet access sold separately
  Choices:
Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection and Bluetooth(TM)
Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection and Bluetooth(TM)
Hard Drive
Store your applications, data, digital music and digital photos on your hard disk drive
  Choices:
240GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (120GB x 2)
240GB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (120GB x 2)
320GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (160GB x 2)
500GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (250GB x 2)
640GB 5400RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (320GB x 2)
Primary CD/DVD Drive
Optical drives can be used to store data, play music and movies, and burn your own CDs or DVDs
  Choices:
LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
Entertainment &TV Experience
Includes online Program Guide. Review the TV schedule, record a single episode or an entire series.
  Choices:
Integrated HP HDTV Hybrid TV Tuner and 4 Altec Lansing speakers +the HP Triple Bass Reflex subwoofer
Primary Battery
The right battery can keep you and your Notebook PC working longer
  Choices:
9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Extra 9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Security Software
Stay protected from the latest online threats when connecting to the Web.
  Choices:
Norton Internet Security(TM) 2008 – 15 Month Subscription
Norton 360(TM ) – 15 Months
Norton Internet Security(TM) 2008 – 24 Month Subscription
Norton Internet Security(TM) 2008 – 36 Month Subscription
HP Featured Software
Software to help you get the most out of your PC.
  Choices:
Computrace LoJack for Laptops, One Year
Computrace LoJack for Laptops, Three Years
FREE Upgrade to Computrace LoJack for Laptops, Four Years from LoJack for Laptops, Three Years
Backup/Utilities
Don’t forget to add backup software to protect your photos, data and music!
  Choices:
Roxio Backup MyPC(TM)
Productivity Software
Get the tools you need to save time and improve your productivity
  Choices:
Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
Corel(R) WordPerfect(R) Office X3 (Now Vista compatible!)
Microsoft(R) Office Basic 2007
Microsoft(R) Office Home and Student 2007
Microsoft(R) Office Small Business 2007
Microsoft(R) Office Professional 2007
Finance/Accounting Software
Track your income and expenses with a financial software package for your home or business
  Choices:
Quicken Deluxe 2008
QuickBooks Pro 2008
Premium Photography Software
Software that helps you make the most of your digital cameras and brings your pictures to life!
  Choices:
$30 OFF Corel(R) Paint Shop Pro(R) Photo X2
Premium HDX Software Bundle
HDX includes full versions of all the software you need to protect, create and share.
  Choices:
Power Pack software – muvee autoProducer Premium, Cyberlink DVD Suite Premium and Serif Web Plus
Dimensions   9 cell:
18.7 (L) x 13.4 (W) x 2.3" (H)
Weight   15.3lbs
Weight varies by configuration
Total memory slots   2 DIMM
Maximum memory expansion   4GB
PCI expansion   Expansion port 3 connector
AC adapter   180W
Front-side bus (processor dependent)   Up to 800 MHz
I/O ports   4 Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0), IEEE 1394 Firewire, expansion port 3, Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver), HP HDX dockable media center remote control, 5-in-1 digital media card reader, microphone-in, integrated stereo microphone, eSATA port, HDMI external port, RJ-45 (LAN), VGA
Speakers   Altec Lansing (4 Panel Mounted and 1 Sub-Woofer)
Software – full versions   HP PhotoSmart Essentials, Muvee AutoProducer Premium 6.x, Adobe Reader 8.x, Microsoft Works 9.0, Microsoft Windows Media Player 11, HP Games Powered by Wild Tangent, Serif Web Plus 10.x, The Sims Life Stories Laptop edition, SlingPlayer from from Slingbox, QuickPlay, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Slingbox Flash Tour (Desktop icon only)
Software – introductory versions   Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 (includes 60 days of complimentary live updates; subscription required to continue receiving updates)
Basic warranty  
  • One year of hardware parts and labor coverage
  • One year of award-winning, toll-free, 24 x 7 support
  • 30-Days Free Software Support (Free 1 year Software Support with Product Registration) from date of purchase
  • E-mail response in as little time as an hour
 

 

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Entry filed under: HDX Dragon Contest.

Contest Countdown-HDX Dragon Days HDX Dragon Vista Experience Index

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