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Hands-on with HP's new HDX laptops and TouchSmart IQ800

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We got a look at HP's latest and greatest, and it's a mixed bag. For starters, we just can't stand HP's consumer laptops (not to be confused with the company's rapidly improving business lineup), and the HDX16 and HDX18 seem to revel in all that's wrong about HP's consumer approach -- no matter how many million units they move. The glossy trackpad is difficult to use, the overly-glossy screen is bad enough in press shots, and a downright pain in real life, and the glossy, chrome-ish exterior is gaudy and over the top -- did we mention glossy? It's one of those love-it-or-leave-it affairs, and we really could leave it. The new, larger TouchSmart IQ800 (pictured) has a lot more going for it, and the hardware is quite elegant, but it seems to share many of the problems its touchphone brethren face: the software isn't quite there, and therefore almost might as well not be there at all. Everything seems half-baked, and not ready for full-time use. The display felt a little "dull" to the touch, with a somewhat laggy response, web browsing is difficult and pointless, and the music app puts manual labor back into playlist creation. It's a decent "home screen" for a living room PC, there are some neat, beautiful gimmicks that would be fun to show off to house guests, and all the elements are in place for a really great touchable desktop experience -- we really do want to love this thing -- but HP needs to devote a little more cash and QA time to this side project to get it over the "hump."

Gallery: Hands-on with HP's new HDX laptops and TouchSmart IQ800 | 21 Photos

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