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on December 26, 2008
After using this laptop for over two months I am very impressed. There are a few drawbacks to be warned about though. Below is a breakdown of the positive/negatives I have found:

POSITIVES:
(1) Beautiful large 18 inch HD screen.
Graphic display is far better than I orginally thought. The display resolution is remarkable. It can be seen best by playing a BluRay movie (Recommend Iron Man and/or Dark Knight).
(2) BluRay player
See above
(3) Remote Control is very savvy.
Included can be used for multiple types of media (playing dvd's, scrolling through music & photos, etc.)
(4) Media card read that can recognize SD, XD, MMC & MS.
Comes in handy when you want to download pictures from a camera card, etc
(5) Look & feel of the case.
HP has used a great design and color scheme on this laptop
(6) Fingerprint Security reader signon.
Has an integrated fingerprint scan on the keyboard to validate the user before they are able to signon and use the laptop.

NEGATIVES (Have found only a couple so far but....)
(1) Hard to find a bag that it will fit in.
Everyone that sells this laptop, stipulates that it will fit in "any" 17" inch bag. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Be cautious when buying a bag. The actual length of this laptop is 17.25" inches. The majority of bags are made to fit no larger than 17.0" inches in length.
After searching I did find one bag I highly recommend. If looking check out the Case Logic 17" Classic Laptop Case. It securely fits a 18' inch laptop safely & securely.
(2)BluRay Player only played pre-2008 BluRay discs when first purchased.
You may need to download the latest HP Mediasmart software, as I did to play all BluRay discs (Read Below for additional info).

In short, this is a very well made laptop, and I highly recommend.
I would like to also point out, my last four laptops have been HP's. I have found there customer service & support to be above and beyond all others.
A perfect example of this occurred when I purchased this HDX18 laptop. The third night I had the laptop, I attempted to play a BluRay movie (Iron Man). When I inserted the movie into the drive, it attempted to read it for over a minute without success. I tried a few more times, with the same results.

So I went HP's website to chat with HP tech support (FYI.. very useful feature if you hate phone support as I do). After 15 minutes there support was able to let me know that my laptop had only been on the market for a little over a month, and that since the release BluRay had updated it's copyright security.

With this said, it took HP about two weeks, but they now have a newer version of software to resolve this problem. Although it was frustrating when I first found this problem, I was very relieved once I told by HP this was a known problem and it would be fixed shortly.
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on December 18, 2008
Purchased and shipped from Amazon. Apparently is has also been sourced elsewhere. As per someone else's review, when part of the initial personalization had a pulsing logo in the center, I was mesmerized. The screen is very, very impressive, and Internet photos on HP's AOL portal were magnificent.

It's big. Even the power supply/brick and power plug into the computer are over-sized.

I bought it because I wanted to be "wowed" -- I have aging HP laptops over 3 or 4 years old. (I bought them reconditioned direct from HP, because of presentation work a primary driver was name brand and a dedicated video card.) I returned a 17" lesser HP to Staples unopened as I justified the price increase on this model with more drive space, the subwoofers, and of course, a true HD screen which provides great real estate. It may prove to be useful in occasional presentation work as the world goes HD. I also have written music as a hobby using Reason software, and this has plenty of screen space, power, and hard drive space for 50-100GB of samples and music files and won't even sneeze. I don't have Adobe CS4 for Windows, but do own a Photoshop CS3, and again, the screen size on contemporary menu and tabbed software will be great.

Strange but true, my desktop is an aging G5 Mac (!) and this ALMOST makes me want to switch over to Wintel as my primary platform. I described this beauty as a "foldable desktop machine" to an associate. Time will tell as eventually I'll face the decision of a potentially serious change to an Intel Mac or see how well I adapt to this. (I gotta say though, those huge IMacs at Best Buy look incredible, but I'm spent out for a while.)

A few comments/constructive remarks: A backlight keyboard would be great. The way my office is lit, and I sometimes do presentation work in dark areas.. the keys are hard to distinguish and must be viewed dead on. I'd even pay a small premium for such.

Vista crashed the very first time during its boot up after going through the set up screens. A bit disconcerting, and I don't know whether it was Vista, or the machine. I've had one other freeze while at the log in/swipe fingerprint screen. I thought the latter a gimmick, but it is seductive in its own biometric way.
If you provide two headphone jacks, why not two earplugs? Literature somewhere may have described it as a Lightscribe machine, but it doesn't appear to be. Not that I really care about that or the media control, but we'll see in time about the latter.

Also, very alarming, was that my C drive showed up as 50 GB or so. This caused some worry. Fortunately, a good/lucky search term search of HP's site had a bug fix. Maybe it was due to downloading Vista SP1. The odd thing is, the bug fix worked automatically and not like the HP page described. All you had to do was launch it, and it did its job. You didn't have to type in parameters, etc.

I haven't tried the wireless yet, and don't have need that I know of for the Bluetooth, but it automatically linked up to my wired and wireless home office network. As someone else may have said, there wasn't too much junk to uninstall. I went with Kaspersky instead of the trial Norton, and loaded a new version of Home Office. I haven't had a chance yet to really push the graphics card or see how it responds with some of the 4 GB Ram assigned on top of the 512 dedicated. Time will be the shakedown.

Lastly, Amazon.com listed a rebate, but it had to be scrounged up on the HP website and wasn't a simple elegant link or form. That could easily have been improved.

That being said....Worth every penny. A steal. If you are on the edge deciding, it is really worth it and is a bargain in some ways. The value versus Mac laptops is outrageous.. this from a guy who really does need to use a true blue PC from time to time, not a Mac running Windows. I'm far from the typical user, but I love this machine.
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on January 7, 2009
I will begin with the screen, because if you are buying a 18.4 inch laptop, you are not buying it for portability. It is amazing, massive and hard to find a bad angle on. I had 4 friends watching a DVD on it, and they all could view it clearly and one asked if it was a blue-ray disk. It is that good. On the flip side, it is glossy as all sin. Like new MacBook glossy. Using this in the sun might just blind you. My concern with the gloss is color reproduction and stuff of that nature. I am not to the point where it is that important, and if given the choice of slightly "off" colors on this screen or the "truer" colors of an anti-glare screen that was smaller, I will pick this, hands down, everyday.

But you don't pick this computer to do work on, now do you? This computer is a entertainment POWERHOUSE. I will start with the gripes, and move on from there:

~It is too big. I said it. It is not a notebook you want to pack up and move all the time. I had a hard time finding a bag to fit it. If you are having a hard time wrapping your head around how huge this computer is, lay two pieces of computer paper long-edge to long-edge. This is just a touch bigger than that.
~Also, why on earth do the keys not light up? This is about the only thing I miss from my old computer, and it is even more upsetting when there is a row of back lit touch buttons above the keyboard. There is no excuse at this point. It obviously wasn't to keep the computer thin...
~Why do F9-F12 have the same functions as the touch buttons above? I would love to see some button to minimize all windows, switch to the flippy window mode, and maybe launch media center.
~The trackpad is about half as big as it should be. I need to lift my finger 4 times to go from the left edge to the right. Also, scrolling is not as good as my old laptop.
~The fingerprint reader doesn't like Chrome, so I have to enter passwords.
~It gets covered in finger prints. I know everyone say this, but it is true, and almost an issue.
~And not to gripe, but it doesn't feel quite as "premium" as the little label under my wrist states. Close, but not there yet...

Hmmm... I have to think about more things I don't like...

On to the good. And it is real good:
~This computer is filled with lots of little things that make it awesome. Two head phone jacks allow you to split the audio without splitting earbuds. 4 speakers and a subwoofer let you share the music with friends. And neighbors.
~A built in TV tuner is just silly, but great. I have set mine up to record shows at night, and then can watch them throughout the day when it is not connected to cable. DON'T lose the little dongle!
~The ports are more than I will ever use, but it is nice to have more than you want then less than you need. Also, thanks for a left and right USB port. Makes using a mice for lefties so much easier.
~The keyboard is, in my eyes, perfect. I would rank it above almost any other I have used on a notebook(best by far if it was backlit), and better than a fair number of real keyboards. The number pad seemed a bit like a joke, but it has come in handy in both games and work. Nice key travel, and zero flex. If you are a typer, this is a great keyboard for that.
~Games on this are as good as any desktop I have used, too. I have been a notebook (this is not a laptop... unless your idea of a lapdog is a golden retriever) user for several years now, so I only dabble in the desktops, but with notebooks like this, why would you want one. Someone said it is a folding desktop, and it really is.
~Bonus: while the power brick will get hot, the computer is never much more than warm.
~Battery life is as good as a computer this big should be.
~The case feels solid.
~The finish is amazing. One reviewer said they just stared at the screen for 10 minutes? I did the same thing with the case. It almost shifts colors a tiny bit? Maybe not as classy as a Lenovo or clean looking as a Apple, but you will still turn heads. (Please don't buy a computer to turn heads.)

As a final note, I have been a Mac user for several years now, and had never used Vista before this. Vista (on this machine, anyway) has really wowed me. I forgot how nice it is to be able to use any software I find. It isn't OS X, but then again OS X is not Vista....

Bottom line? I have told tons of friends to look at the HDX series, but not this laptop, and the main issue is the size. I really is too big. If you need a big screen laptop, this is the one. But if you want most of the features this offers, take a good hard look at the HDX 16. It is just a touch less expensive (both are a bargain, in my eyes), every bit as powerful, and and really a portable computer. However, if you HAVE to have the biggest screen on the block, by all means, go for it! I don't regret it, and neither will you!
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on December 9, 2008
I just received this laptop yesterday, purchased on Amazon.com (sold by J&R). The delivery speed was top notch and now on to the laptop:

The size is very big yet thin and sleek but you definately don't realize how big it really is until you see it right in front of you. Set up was a breeze (~20 minutes) to get everything up and running. A great thing about this laptop is that it didn't have much pre loaded crapware to bog down the computer which was great.

The screen real estate is huge and it is beautiful. When the screen saver first came on (Windows Energy) I probably sat and stared at it for a good 10 minutes before I realized I wasn't doing anything.

The laptop also came with a nice remote control to handle all your media center needs and even slides into the laptop itself so you'll (hopefully) never lose it.

The hard drive is great but is partitioned into 2 drives which I don't really like but is a minor gripe.

The heft of the laptop is not as bad as I thought considering the size of the laptop.

I haven't checked out a blu-ray movie yet, (waiting for Dark Knight to come to my apt) so will post a revision once I see it.

The only con I have with the laptop is the mouse pad. It's not the typical mouse pad in that it feels like glass so your finger gains friction with the pad and doesn't glide as easily it does on other mouse pads. This is slightly frustrating but is probably something you will get used to after extended use.
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on November 10, 2008
I travel a lot and need to maintain productivity on the road. I need speed, disk capacity and a high res display. This machine has all that, plus entertainment features like HDMI output that let me play Blu-Ray movies on a hotel LCD TV (just make sure and carry an HDMI cable with you). I used to carry an HDX dragon with a 20" screen. I like the extra size on the screen, but this HDX18 weighs half as much and fits into any standard 17" screen case -- which the Dragon does not. The NVIDIA 9600M GT display adapter is not nearly as fast as the HDX Dragon's 8800M GTS but is fast enough for all but hard core gamers.

I did upgrade the drives to 2x500GB to have a terabyte of space. Only wish would be able to upgrade the RAM past 4GB (I run a lot of virtual servers...)
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on March 15, 2009
I walked into a sams club this morning wanting to inspect the HP 17's, found this laptop open box for 1075.00, walked away with 1075.00 less in my checking account.

I was using a 13" first gen macbook (core Duo, integrated graphics, running Vista) up until 12 hours ago. I had switched to "PC's" for video editing purposes (Adobe CS3/CS4 authors Blu-ray, Final Cut Studio does not) so I have had 6+ months of Windows use going and was happy.

For having a Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, Inviddia 512 9600, 2 320GB hard drives, all sorts of connections Apple wont supply like Esata, HDMI, etc and of course this huge 18.4" screen for under 1100.00 at the time, how can you not pass that up?. Even at retail it is still cheaper than a Macbook pro, cheaper than the 17" MBP, and more more more.

Other than trying to get adapted to such a huge screen coming from the 13" I have had zero issues. The finish is very nice, a welcome from the typical white I had, the silver keyboard is nice, however back lighting would have been nice, the touch sensitive audio controls are pretty neat, and the Blu-ray is just wonderful.

I dont know how PC people have been getting by with small track pads, however being able to "tap to click" is a new welcome feature, and no matter how fast I set the mouse speed, i will always need to make a few "swipes" to get to the other side.

Adobe CS4 Master collection installed fine, Flight Sim X, Call of Duty 4 and 5, and Crysis run excellent on this laptop. At first I thought it was weird that no software discs were included, but I learned that you can burn those at any time.

This is a great laptop, very large, a bit to big to just bring to bed to read, the battery does not last very long (45 minutes for me) but what do you expect with so much LCD to power?.

My first PC I have ever purchased and I am very pleased, HP makes nice equipment, and I would recommend this to anyone wanting a portable desktop, as this laptop is more desktop than laptop.
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on January 13, 2009
This laptop has all the latest features like fingerprint reader, sub woofer/stereo Altec Lansing speakers, built-in webcam and internal microphones, bluetooth, blue-ray drive, numeric keypad and a good engine under the wood. you can use it for watching movies, The 18.4" diagonal screen can be useful when designing using CAD, listening to music and gaming...I love the chrome finish on the touchpad which is very easy to clean also a titanium keyboard. For me it reflects light in the dark so I can see the keys and wow!!! it's a 64-bit processor. Most of all a breeze to setup...
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After twenty years of using nothing but desktops, I finally decided to get my first laptop. I did a large amount of looking around and finally decided on a laptop in the HP HDX series. I wanted a big screen and since I didn't (and don't) plan on carrying it around a lot, I wasn't too concerned about its size. Portability and weight weren't major considerations. If they are for you, then definitely don't get this. It is something of a monster, quite heavy. Furthermore, as far as I've been able to discover, there is only one case that will accommodate a laptop this side, one by Targus. It is less like a messenger bag or pack back and more like a suitcase on wheels. But except for the size, this is a great laptop and I'm completely delighted with it.

There is really only one advantage to buying a preconfigured laptop. You can get it quickly. But I would recommend people who really know what they want to do their own configuration. I wanted a computer that was really strong on media, so I opted for the 1 GB video card, a Blu-ray burner, and a TV tuner. I also got the bluetooth wife modem so that I wouldn't have to use a transceiver. The computer has been exceptional in this regard. The screen is bright and unbelievably detailed. Blu-ray discs don't look quite as good as they do on my Samsung high def TV using a PS3, but it is close. The built in speakers are amazingly decent for a laptop. Although I prefer using headphones for movies and videos, the speakers are good enough for two people to watch something together. But for music while I type I usually just use the built in speakers.

Just about everything else about the computer is great as well. I find the keyboard comfortable to use and the action on the keys are really nice. I don't like the touchpad, but that would be true for absolutely any laptop.

If you are looking for a laptop that is superb at multimedia but that doesn't have to be especially transportable, you can't do much better than this laptop. My one piece of advice for anyone configuring a laptop is to put your upfront money almost entirely in things that cannot be upgraded easily later. Put off the printer if it means you can get a faster processor. Don't worry about the size of your hard drive, because there great inexpensive external hard drives (you can get a 1 TB today for less than $150). But also plan on doing other things to extend the life of your computer. I got the Blu-ray burner, but I plan on getting an external DVD drive to minimize the wear and tear on the internal drive. I got a single battery now, but plan on getting a second one later. But it is pretty difficult to upgrade your processor speed or video card later. Of course, if money isn't a consideration for you (it was for me), go ahead and get everything right now. But whether you have to economize or not, this is a great multimedia computer.
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on April 25, 2009
My main goal for a laptop was a large screen for photo editing and watching movies. I did a lot of research looking into different brands and decided to go with HP as it seems to be the best deal. Originally I had decided to go with Mac's new 17" laptop, but the lack of a bluray drive (not even as an option) and $700 more for a comparable system made me go with HP. The built in battery on the new Macbooks also don't seem something I want.

I configured mine with a 6 gb RAM and a faster CPU, but the basics of this laptop are the same with all models.

I thought the finger print reader to log on was a gimmick but it works extremely well and I used it all the time.

The screen is very good has great dynamic range for photo editing and decent for watching bluray or normal DVDs.

I'm not sure why, but glossy screen coatings seem to be the hit these days. In a bright environment you will see your reflection in the screen which is a little annoying.

The size and weight is significant. Finding a bag for it is a challenge, but for me the large screen size was more important. I don't travel much, but when I work with the laptop I need performance and a big screen.

Wireless connection is quick and it was simple connect my mobile phone via bluetooth to sync data. The built card reader is a nice feature, but it does not support compact flash cards which is a bummer as all my cameras work with CF only. On the positive side, there are USB connectors on both sides (big plus!) and both a SATA and firewire connection to connect a fast external HD or card reader. The HDMI output lets you use the laptop as a DVD and bluray player.

The trackpad works great and can be disabled for typing.

The keyboard is a joy to work on. It's a real full size plus number pad. The controls for video and audio playback are separate above the keyboard which I prefer over double or triple used keys on small notebooks.

The battery life is OK, but not as good as some others. But I guess this is part of the compromise for having such a large screen.

The power supply is large and heavy and adds even more weight to the already heavy laptop when traveling.

Overall I'm very happy with my HP, I can't find any real negatives apart from small things which are not a big deal. I would definitely buy this laptop again and recommend it to anyone who's priority is screen size/quality and performance over size and weight.
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on March 30, 2014
This the most beautiful screen I ever saw. I have been looking around to get a large screen TV that has the same picture quality but could not find any. Watching Bluray and DVD is a pleasure. I am pretty demanding when it comes to picture quality. I already returned 4 TVs because their picture would not compare to this laptop screen.
The audio is very good.
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