2740p First Impressions

Discussion in 'HP Elitebooks' started by lovelaptops, May 1, 2010.

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  1. Lehto

    Lehto Scribbler - Standard Member

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    @ Andolamin
    Your experience is pretty much same as mine. This is my first own Tablet PC and after this I wont be buying a normal laptop anymore.

    What comes to gaming. It can run Elder Scrolls Morrowind @ 1280x800 quite smoothly and Oblivion @ 800x600 with few lags here and there. Mount&Blade also runs somehow @ 1280x800 with settings turned down. Those are pretty much the only games I occasionally still play...

    Strange that it says chemically strenghtened glass on HP site (or was it support manual?) even though it seems like plastic or maybe theres a plastic layer to reduce glare, which kind of defeats the point of having strenghtened glass under it.
     
  2. JimO

    JimO Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I'll try not to repeat too much what others have already written here, with this first impression.

    Got my 2740p on Friday (it's now Sunday) after the customary delay through HP's ordering system and manufacturing process. I ordered the standard configuration, but had I known about the discounts others on this board got with CTO orders, I would have gone that route and ordered a unit with SSD and different RAM config - but those are easy things to change.

    I'm still getting oriented to this machine (it has a lot of features packed into a very small footprint), but here are the first things I've noticed:

    1. Screen - I have the standard, not "outdoor" screen, and noticed immediately upon boot-up how dim it was. Using the standard hotkeys, turning off the ambient light sensor (fn+F11) and boosting brightness to max (fn+F10) helped, but it was still unacceptably dim. If this discovery had not happened on a weekend, I would have been on the phone with my HP rep asking about a return and possible replacement with an outdoor screen unit, but thanks to a post by lovelaptops (thanks!), I found the Intel Graphics and Media control panel in the System Tray and used the Display / General Settings / Color Enhancement controls to improve the situation. The brightness, contrast, and color settings are now very good.

    The other issue with the screen is that it doesn't take full advantage of available real estate - in addition to the silver bezel, which is about a quarter-inch on the sides and 5/8 on the top and bottom, there is an additional 3/8 or so of black border inside the bezel, before the display area actually begins. I assume this is space occupied by the touchscreen or digitizer sensors, but the effect is to make the screen smaller than I thought it would be. My guesstimate is that about 10 square inches of otherwise usable display area is wasted.

    2. Trackpad - I very much prefer discrete mouse buttons to the single-piece mousepad design used on the TM2T and Envy (both of which I tried and returned), so even though the trackpad on the 2740p is tiny, it is an improvement over the "unipad" design. I like the integrated pointing stick, but so far, have not found a way to adjust the pointer speed for the trackpad and pointing stick independently (just right for the trackpad is too fast for the pointing stick, and just right for the pointing stick is too slow for the trackpad). If anyone has an answer for this, would appreciate a reply.

    The only other issue I've found with the trackpad is the problem others have noted when moving the pointer with one finger and resting another finger on the left mouse key (which is my habit when using scroll bars) - it occasionally causes the screen to scroll uncontrollably (even when the pointer is not on a a scroll bar). I'm assuming that this can be configured away using the Synaptics control panel in the System Tray.

    3. Keyboard - pretty good. I'm a touch-typist, and would prefer a bit more travel and less key resistance, but spacing is good and I'm getting used to it. I'm coming from a Macbook Pro, which has an excellent keyboard, and doubt that I'll ever attain the same typing speed on the 2740p, so will have to think about using a keyboard when I'm not on the road.

    4. Battery life - Using this machine at the brightness level I need, with WIFI on (bluetooth off) drains the battery in less than 3 hours. I have the slice battery as well, which takes the total to 4-5 hours. With both batteries charged, I can stay busy on a trip across the country, so these numbers don't bother me too much. But I did expect better, based on the reading I did prior to purchase.

    5. Performance - Very good, so far. I'm sure the standard hard drive is the weak link (I'll replace with an SSD once I get a set of Torx plus bits, which are amazingly hard to find), but the processor is noticeably faster than the Core 2 Duo on my (ca 2007) MacBook Pro. Opening 20 tabs at once in IE takes about 10 seconds less time.

    6. Heat - Theres a pretty constant flow of warm air issuing from the back left vent, but neither the noise nor the temp is bothersome. No discernable heat from either palmrest, or from the bottom (although I'm mostly using with the slice battery on the bottom, which would insulate). So I'm happy getting an increase in horsepower with less heat than my previous notebook.

    7. Build quality - Very good. Not noticeable gaps or flex in the housing. The only quibble I have is that the pivoting screen hinge has a bit of rotational wobbliness (but only if you move it with your hand) at the centered position.

    I haven't really gotten serious about playing with the table features yet, but so far, I'm favorably impressed with this machine. Every computer has a few warts, and the few that I've noticed on the 2740p aren't deal-breakers, for me.

    Thanks to everyone who has posted information and advice on this forum, it has helped me in my evaluation tremendously.
     
  3. Jonndz

    Jonndz Pen Pal - Newbie

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    JimO,

    Thanks for your first impressions. I am interested in the slice battery that you mentioned. Can you please tell how thich and heavy the 2740p becomes with the slice battery attached ?

    Thanks
     
  4. JimO

    JimO Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Jonndz, I'm travelling right now and don't have the machine with me - didn't get enough time over the weekend to transfer my files and configuration from my previous notebook - so I'm not certain about the slice battery dimensions and weight.

    But this - RX932UT - appears to be the HP part number. It doesn't show up as a 2740p accessory on the HP site, but it does show as a 2730p accessory. But I could find no specifications for it, but I did find specifications for an RX932AA battery that appears similar. It lists weight as 1.24 lbs and thickness as .7 inches. The slice battery I have is no where near that weight or thickness (I would guess 1/3 inch thick and around 1/2 lb). So perhaps the specs on the HP site are shipping specs.

    The bottom line is that the slice battery is noticeable, especially if you're holding it in one hand while using the pen interface, but otherwise, it doesn't bother me.
     
  5. Techfinance

    Techfinance Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Johndz,

    Even though I don't have my 2740p yet, I did receive the "slice battery" and it is 1 1/4lbs and about a half inch thick. It should add the feeling of the computer having a very solid base because the battery covers the entire lower housing of the computer. I can't imagine it will make that big of a difference when you are holding it. It's 1 lb.
     
  6. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    My comments, questions are inserted into Jimo's text below. Really nice overview, JimO; I comment only where I don't agree completely, or when I have something to add.

    I had the same experience with the hot air coming out of the vents and I changed the fan setting in the BIOS so the fan is more thermostatically operative; it cuts the amount of time the heat blows out in half.

    My greatest disappointment by far is the battery life. I would really like to know what realistically to expect with the slice and some power adjustments for: 1) web surfing with wifi, 5-10 windows opened; 2) playing 720p (Hulu, etc) or full HD (external blu ray drive) video. If 4.5 hrs is the right number with the slice and just wifi surfing, then the number is more like 3 with the slice running video, and this machine, sadly, has to go back and I'm Lenovo bound. Say it aint so!

    Finally, JimO didn''t mention audio, but that was a disappointment for me too. I know you can get only so much power and fidelity out of such a small form factor but, frankly, I expected better, especially after some reviewer comments. My speakers seem to have a frequency response that goes from mid-midrange to upper midrange! Disappointed that neither the Windows 7 sound enhancements nor IDT do anything to help here. Again, the 2740p shows it's business colors with miserable multimedia performance: washed out video colors, terrible audio and not enough battery life with the slice to watch two movies. Meh.
     
  7. digital-doc

    digital-doc MedicalTabletPC

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  8. Jonndz

    Jonndz Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the info. I really did not think the slice is .7 inches thick. In fact by looking at this picture it appears that the slice is only .25 or .3 inches thick ? What do you think?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. mazzarin

    mazzarin Pen Pal - Newbie

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    It's around .3" when connected. There are a few extra mm added when it's standing alone due to the connector, but that goes inside the unit anyways.
     
  10. JimO

    JimO Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Lovelaptops: I haven't measured battery time carefully. Now that I'm back from the road, I'll try to monitor more carefully and report results.

    I agree that the frequency response is mediocre. On the other hand, speaker volume is much better than I expected, with less distortion than I'd feared, at high volumes. And I've noticed, that audio quality through a good pair of headphones is very acceptable. If you connect external speakers (when not travelling), you should be able to get sound equal to most other notebooks.

    I agree that the color gamut seems to be a bit off, and that the colors are anything but vivid, but after fiddling a bit with the Intel GMA control panel, they're much better than they were, out of the box. Right now, the GMA "Color Enhancement" settings I'm using are:

    Brightness: 69
    Contrast: 40
    Gamma: .5
    Hue: 10
    Saturation: 26

    I plan to play with the individual RGB settings some more, but for now, these settings are acceptable for me, on my machine. If HP is using multiple LCD sources, the same settings might not work on other 2740p's, however.

    I have been able to resolve one nuisance, which was the default scrolling region on the right side of the trackpad, which caused a maddening degree of unintended scrolling, when I first used this machine. I don't have the manual dexterity on a trackpad this small to avoid the scrolling region when I'm just trying to move the pointer, so I used the Synaptics control panel to reduce the size of the region to 0, which has boosted usability (for me) tremendously.

    One more aspect of this system that I really like is the docking station. It has a good selection of ports (including eSata and DisplayPort), a very slim DVD+/-RW drive, and is small enough to travel with, in a pinch.

    I have to admit that I've suffered some buyer's remorse with this purchase, but I've promised myself that I'll migrate my apps and data for a week and see what it's like to live with the 2740p, before deciding on whether to keep it. I really do like most aspects of this machine, so perhaps with a week of day-to-day usage, the rest of it will grow on me.
     
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