Over the years we’ve reviewed several iterations of HP’s Touchsmart line (most recently last year's IQ810) and have watched with interest as it evolved over time. Each iteration has improved on the last and gradually dealt with niggling issues such as an underpowered specification or a lack of inputs - so with the latest update to the TouchSmart 600, we are hopeful that HP might have finally dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s to produce a flawless offering.
The HP Touchsmart 600-1220uk is the top-of-the-range model and costs £1,399 direct from HP. For that you get a 23in display with a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen, a Core i5 M430 running at 2.27GHz with 4GB of RAM, all of which is powering Windows Home Premium 64-bit. In this regard it’s no lightweight, though the Nvidia GeForce GT 230 graphics are a tad anaemic compared to what you’ll get in an iMac, with a Radeon HD 4670 Apple’s base line choice. Storage is provided by a 1.5TB hard disk.
As ever, the TouchSmart features the same simple but effective design. All the main components are located behind the display and it has just has one cable to hook it up – the power cable. It all rests on two feet under the display, with a stand behind it that enables it to be angled between 5 and 40 degrees.
The display is surrounding by a thick bezel made of heavy set plastic, which is smart but not chic in the way a Sony Vaio All-in-one or an iMac is. Top centre of the bezel is a web cam, while below it there’s a speaker strip. At the bottom right of the display there’s a button that directly launches the TouchSmart interface, which is really the main raison d’etre of the TouchSmart PC.
Down the left side you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone socket and a 3.5mm audio input. Above this you’ll find a button that turns on a light with various levels depending on how often you press it, which is useful to see the keyboard in the dark and provide some ambiance while watching late at night with the lights off. It’s not exactly Philips’ Ambilight, however.
On the right hand side you’ll find the power button at the top right, while in the middle there’s a power light that indicates disk access. Beneath this is a button that gives access to the brightness and contrast controls, while underneath this is large volume up and down buttons, and a mute switch. At the bottom is multi-format card reader.
Remove a panel at the rear and you’ll find three more USB inputs and a Gigabit LAN connection. You’ll also find a DVB-T tuner for terrestrial but we could find no mention of support for Freeview HD, which is a shame – something for the next version. You get both a 3.5mm line-out and a coaxial SPDIF output for digital audio and an IR extender connector.