HP TouchSmart IQ500 All-In-One PC - HP TouchSmart IQ500

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Of course, the IQ500 was always going to live or die on the quality of its touch interface, so it's about time we got onto that. Initial impressions are, as before, very strong. Upon launching the TouchSmart PC interface from the desktop, or via the 'Home' button at the bottom right, you're greeted by a tile based arrangement that's unintimidating and simply invites interaction.

This is split into two, with primary applications dominating the centre of the screen and a strip of lower level ones below. Each can be navigated by dragging or flicking your finger across them, with the screen responding to the speed and ferocity or these movements. You can also customise and re-arrange all the programs, dragging and dropping them into your own desired locations. In addition, the larger tiles will display information relevant to that program so, in the case of the weather application, it shows the weather for that day within its tile.

Fundamentally the TouchSmart interface is focussed on multimedia, with music, video and photos being the mainstay of its functionality. Here the TouchSmart performs very well. Both the Music and Photo applications feature a rather smart album flip style interface, along with more conventional grid based systems - with music displayed using album art.

Playlists can be created by dragging and dropping and you can control the music playback from any screen using media controls in top right corner, or through the provided remote. Like any good media player it'll keep an eye on your music folder, updating as files are added, while you can also opt to use your iTunes music folder if that's what you happen to use.

For anyone who wants to do very minor edits to photos the Photo application is perfectly capable, too. In it you can crop, rotate, auto-enhance and remove red-eye and if you decide the changes aren't that good, you can always revert back to the original. Everything is arranged intuitively, making it easy for any novice to quickly control.

All is much the same in the Video segment, with large, friendly and easy to use controls. It's a shame, though, that while you can playback regular video files, you can't watch DVDs through the TouchSmart interface. This, of course, can be done using Windows Media Center, but it seems like an odd omission.


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!


September 19, 2008, 7:00 am


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.



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.


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.


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. :)


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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