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HP TouchSmart IQ500 All-In-One PC review

Andy Vandervell

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

In an IT world increasingly dominated by notebook PCs, be they small low power netbooks or fully fledged desktop replacements, the regular desktop PC is becoming increasingly marginalised - a fact only exacerbated by the slow decline of PC gaming. All-In-One PCs like the Apple iMac and today's specimen, the HP TouchSmart IQ500, have only enhanced this impression, though in the case of the TouchSmart PC things aren't as straightforward as that.

Why is that, then? Well, the clue is in the name because whereas the likes of the iMac content themselves to regular PC duties, albeit in a compact and all inclusive shell, the HP throws a touchscreen into the mix as well. This is matched with a custom touch interface for accessing music, video, photos and all manner of other things, while a TV Tuner and a 500GB hard drive make this into something of a multimedia centre, too.

This is, in fact, the second generation of TouchSmart PCs, the first being the IQ770, but the IQ500 is so far removed from the original, that it feels like an entirely new product. Indeed, when we first set eyes upon the IQ500 at HP's global launched event in June (see: Hands-On with HP TouchSmart IQ500), we're not ashamed to admit we were somewhat smitten. Whereas the original TouchSmart was a rather bulky affair, the IQ500 is more like the great majority of All-In-One PCs in being slim, compact and thanks to some curvaceous lines and a clever stand, very good looking.

A smart glossy black bezel and silver trim surround a 22in, 1,680 x 1,050 LCD display that, like the iPhone, uses capacitive rather than resistive touchscreen technology. All you really need to take from this is that whereas older touchscreens required a certain level of pressure, the screen on the IQ500 responds to the lightest of touches. It's also an impressively bright and colourful effort, bringing out photos and video with no shortage of fidelity, even if the glossy finish renders it more reflective than many.

Going back to that stand, the system employed by HP is indecently simple but also incredibly effective. At the front are two little Perspex legs, both of which are balanced against a large adjustable arm at the back. It can be adjusted to offer anywhere between a 10 degree and 45 degree viewing angle and is suitably stiff and secure that it provides faultless stability.

Either side of the screen are an assortment of connections and shortcut buttons. On the left, for instance, are a couple of easy access USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, above which sits a button for adjusting the 'ambient light'. This runs along the bottom edge of the machine, lighting up the keyboard in the dark, and though we'd sooner see a backlit keyboard, this does the job well enough. Meanwhile on the right are a memory card reader and a four-pin FireWire port, above which sit some volume controls.

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Wackywavinginflateablearmflail

September 19, 2008, 6:58 am

"a 22in, 1,680 x 1,050 LCD display that, like the iPhone"





That's one hell of an iphone. Details Andy!

Wackywavinginflateablearmflail

September 19, 2008, 7:00 am

Whoops...

stuart 2

September 19, 2008, 7:02 am

I think the TouchSmart use Optical Touchscreen technology from NextWindow (http://www.nextwindow.com/) which is achieved with cameras rather than a screen overlay which is how they manage to keep screen brightness up.


http://www.frst.govt.nz/news/N...

ilovethemonkeyhead

September 19, 2008, 1:35 pm

i think infra-red - like the original one if you look closely at the screen it's a little bit sunken in, the very edges of the screen, where the bezel starts have a small red coloured boarder: that must be an infra-red sensor.





it allows you to be able to use a stylus or anything else as a pointing device - something captive touch can't do. in some cases you can actually move the mouse cursor or make selections without touching the screen, by hovering anything really close to the screen.



HSC

September 19, 2008, 2:39 pm

if HP wants this and the IQ800 to occupy 'living spaces' then they must include a digital video output so that consumers can output to big screens when needed.


For what is essentially a laptop there is no excuse. The motherboard has two digital and one vga output - so they are only scrimping on providing a port.





are you listening HP..? Even an iMac has one...








Of course I expect the problem to be resolved eventually. Living room pc's are getting more available and more powerful. Once monitor manufacturers start building touchscreens ready for Windows7 the competition will increase.

Epic

September 19, 2008, 3:19 pm

Given that the user interface is one of the unique aspects of this machine a few screenshots wouldn't go amiss or even a video review

Andy Vandervell

September 19, 2008, 4:55 pm

Video review is coming, just waiting for it to be edited together. :)

twisted2

February 15, 2009, 10:54 pm

I must mention a seemingly minor point with this type of design. Namely the slot loading drive for discs. With so many companys using the tiny ones how do you get them in? If its like my imac then you won`t be able to. Could well be a major setback for those who rely on pc`s for mobile phones, card readers and such as all I have seen of that ilk use small discs. Or am I being senile in my old age and missed something?

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