At the time of writing, HP is offering its new XT TouchSmart at a £200 discount and for just under a bag of sand it’s not a half bad deal. Uniquely here, it’s got a good old fashioned 500GB HDD as well as a 32GB SSD which will appeal to anyone who’s had enough of teeny weeny SSD storage capacities. The 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is rather impressive too: it’s clear and very bright. But the 1.7-2.6GHz Core i5-3317U CPU with 4GB of Ram won’t blow your socks off, and there’s currently no i7 option.
With three USB ports - two of which are USB 3.0 - Ethernet and Thunderbolt, the XT’s connectivity array is more akin to regular laptop, though at 2.25kg and over 22mm thick it arguably is a regular laptop rather than an Ultrabook, despite the branding. It’s a solid and attractive machine, though, and I especially like the edge-to-edge glass covering the screen panel. The one disappointment is the Beats Audio speaker system, which sounded altogether rather low rent by the standards of other similarly branded HP notebooks.