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HP Touchsmart 600-1220uk - Interface Cont., Performance and Verdict

By Benny Har-Even

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

As far as web browsing is concerned the good news is that you can at last now move web pages up and down with your finger from anywhere, without having to use side scroll bars. Hurrah. Twitter also gets its own dedicated finger friendly Touch App.

Overall, we like the Touchsmart interface, and feel it does enough to raise itself above the gimmick level. This is clearly a good thing as, after all, without a decent touch interface there would be little point in a touch-screen PC.

It’s not totally without flaws – far from it. It isn’t quite as responsive as an iPhone or Android device so one does have to be a touch more deliberate. There’s an icon for Skype and when we first pressed it, it launched the Skype set-up routine. However, once installed, the same icon remains, and launches the same set-up routine. We normally find we only have to install Skype once, and as there’s no integration between Skype and the TouchSmart interface, it’s rather pointless it being there in the first place. Also, the less said about the silly aimed-at-kids ‘Magic Desktop’ the better.

The music app is decent, and continues to play when you switch to other app – but where was the full screen album art and why can’t you use your finger to scrub within the track? Touch seems such an obvious way to do it.

As a conventional computer though, the presence of the Core i5 and that generous 4GB of RAM means that this machine is always a pleasure to use and the PC Mark Vantage score of 5,622 shows its power. With an Nvidia GeForce GT 230 in place it was never going to be a gaming powerhouse, but we could play TrackMania without any problems, achieving 34.6fps at the screen's native resolution, so casual games will be fine.

Finally, the thin, wireless keyboard is comfortable to type on and the mouse, while not the last word in style, is responsive and comfortable.

As ever, we like the TouchSmart 600, and with its strong specification it compromises very little. We like the improvements to the TouchSmart interface, though you’ll certainly need to drop back into Windows 7 on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for a cheaper variant, you can save £100 with a Core i3 and even slower graphics, while a TouchSmart 300, with a 20in display and an Athlon II X3 processor, will cost £899. If you can afford it, the 600 is the one to go for if you want all its features. Just keep in mind that for £1,350 there are a lot of alternatives, some of which are superior in certain areas.

The most interesting of these is doubtless Apple's Core i3 refresh of its iMac 27in for just £50 more. It might lack the Blu-ray drive, analogue video input and touch interaction, but does get you a superior, metal-clad chassis which looks simply stunning, and a bigger, better, higher-resolution IPS-based screen. Frankly, we know which we would choose.

Verdict:

The TouchSmart 600 is a good refresh of a convincing touch PC line. It’s smart, neatly designed and the Touchmart interface is good enough to actually bother with. As you can now plug in devices such as consoles via Component or HDMI, it's certainly a versatile contender and worth considering.

GoldenGuy

November 18, 2010, 5:11 pm

You gotta admit though, Apple is taking the mick by touting their iMac as the ultimate media centre when they still refuse to put a simple Blu-Ray drive in. I'd say that makes the choice a lot more difficult than the mere £50 gap you suggest. (Course you could always add one on under Windows with Boot Camp but the point stands.)

TechVegan

November 18, 2010, 8:42 pm

@GoldenGuy:


That's why we didn't say the iMac was superior altogether but rather an 'interesting alternative'. And as you mention, at least it's possible to add blu-ray to the iMac, while you can't upgrade the TouchSmart's average screen to an IPS panel as used in Apple's machine. But I do agree, it is 'taking the mic'.

jingyeow

November 18, 2010, 10:22 pm

Well the future is downloads and streaming. Apple can see this, and isn't even bothering with the disc route I guess. I myself do not purchase ANY games outside of Steam anymore. I don't want the clutter of discs or the time wasted installing games in that fashion.





The only time I ever use the DVD drive in my pc, is to watch the odd box-set like Futurama, and even then I'd prefer to rip them to the pc, so I never have to use discs again.

Jayboy

November 18, 2010, 11:46 pm

Downloads and streaming are the future. But until i get more than 50GBs a month download cap then i will stick to buying Blu-Ray discs and watch them on my tv rather than computer. I agree about Steam though. Since its come out for mac i can see finally how great it is. Being able to redownload titles with no charge is great too

TechVegan

November 19, 2010, 2:58 pm

@darkspark88:


It might be the future but it's far from a reality for many, and I agree with Jayboy.


About the games, surely it takes longer to download and install than to just install from disc? It's the same amount of data, after all...


And physical media still offer many advantages: you can't sell on digital downloads, or lend them to friends; they use up your bandwidth and data allowance; and you have to print quick-cards, manuals and maps yourself if you want to view them while gaming.

Dork

August 28, 2011, 9:01 pm

Bought this recently for £800. Great Price. Absolutely delighted. Its an amazing machine and the touchscreen works brilliantly. Pity about all the finger smudges. Yeah the silly kids games can be removed and you have to download alot of windows updates; but thats no big deal. The review did not mention that you have to use a usb dongle to get the wireless mouse\keyboard to work (all supplied); so that unnecessarily uses up usb port. Alot of computer with alot of features for the money.

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