No hard feelings, tx2, but there was always something just a little "behind the curve" about your design and feature set, and we're kind of glad HP decided to go all-new with its TouchSmart tm2 followup. The 12.1-inch laptop is powered by new Intel Core 2 Duo procs and even discrete ATI Mobility Radeon graphics if you're man enough, and claims 9 hours of battery life off its standard 6-cell. Most importantly, the capacitive multitouch screen is finger and pen friendly. The physical design takes some cues from HP's new Envy laptops, including the controversial unibutton touchpad and lovable aluminum build, and seems decently thinner, lighter and stronger than the tx2. The laptop should be out on January 17th with a starting price of $949.

We played around with the laptop, and outside of the slightly suspicious touchpad, we were pretty impressed by the laptop. The build quality is great, in both feel and confidence-building (a must for a convertible tablet like this), but HP's also really beefed up the software aspect, pre-loading the new Netflix-inclusive version of its TouchSmart software and the wild, almost-useful BumpTop 3D desktop. Tossing in a finger friendly version of Corel Paint and an interactive dolphin screensaver was also a nice touch. Check out a quick video hands-on after the break.

HP TouchSmart tm2 press shots

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HP TouchSmart tm2 convertible tablet hands-on

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HP TouchSmart tm2

Building on HP TouchSmart software innovation, the thin, powerful HP TouchSmart tm2 updates the tx2 – the industry's first convertible notebook PC with multitouch technology designed specifically for consumers.

With the convertible tm2, customers can choose the product configuration and input method that is most comfortable and natural, whether on a couch, in an airplane or while surfing the web. (3) As a traditional notebook, the tm2 offers a keyboard and touch-enabled display for input. Converted to a slate, the tm2 morphs into a sketchpad with digital pen, allowing artists to sketch on the go and students to take notes in class.

Feather-light capacitive multitouch display technology responds to the softest touch of a finger. The display also supports multitouch gestures such as zoom, scroll and rotate by allowing more than one finger to be accepted as input simultaneously. With the digital pen, handwriting appears on the display as digital ink, similar to writing on paper.

Featuring a sophisticated aluminum design with "Riptide" engraved illustration, the tm2 provides a full notebook experience with the latest low-voltage Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processors and optional high multimedia performance ATI Mobility Radeon™ discrete graphics upgrades.(4) The tm2 also provides up to nine hours of battery life via the standard six-cell battery and includes a fingerprint reader as well as an advanced thermal design that helps keep the PC cool.(5)

New touch applications enhancing the tm2 experience include:

• BumpTop, a touch-enhanced 3-D interface for photos and documents that allows users to spatially organize and "toss" or share files and photos to social media sites or email.
• DigiFish Dolphin, an interactive 3-D screensaver that recreates an ocean environment to be experienced via touch or a mouse.
• Corel® Paint it! Touch, whichTM allows users to draw and paint or turn photos into paintings using fingertips.

The tm2 also features many of the same exclusive built-for-touch applications found on the recently introduced tx2 and HP TouchSmart PC, including exclusive touch-enabled games and Corel Painter Sketch Pad application for creating digital art.

The tm2 now offers a touch-enabled Netflix application, which delivers thousands of full-screen movies and TV episodes that are instantly streamed from Netflix over the Internet and can be watched any time at no additional cost by Netflix members with an unlimited subscription. Other recently introduced applications within the TouchSmart software include Hulu Desktop or Internet TV, Twitter and HP Music Store.(6)

As part of HP's commitment to the environment and to eliminating all uses of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its computing products by 2011,(7) the TouchSmart tm2 is BFR/PVC-free.

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HP TouchSmart tm2 convertible tablet slims down and spruces up