Connectivity is another strong point of HP's TouchSmart 610. Hidden around the sides you'll find a memory card reader, two USB ports and headphone plus microphone jacks, as well as twin HDMI inputs for hooking up consoles and the like. These are joined by slightly stiff physical volume controls on the left, and the seamlessly integrated slot-loading Blu-ray player and backlit power button to the right.
Unlocking a panel at the machine's rear reveals three audio jacks, including the subwoofer connection for augmenting the 610's integrated Beats speakers. There's an antennae port for the integrated DVB-T tuner, while peripheral connectivity is handled by two ordinary USB 2.0 ports and two fast USB3.0 ports for speedy external storage and quick device charging.
For networking the panel also hides a Gigabit Ethernet port, while wireless duties are taken up by WiFi N and Bluetooth. All this makes the TouchSmart 610 one of the most versatile AIOs we've reviewed.
Specifications are also nothing to sniff at (we're reviewing the HP TouchSmart 610-1030uk model, as opposed to the cheaper and lesser 610-1000uk). As the brains of the operation we have an Intel Core i5-650. This dual-core processor supports Hyper-threading for up to four virtual cores and will Turbo-clock up from its default 3.2GHz to 3.46GHz (depending on the number of active cores).
While it might not match up to the new Sandy Bridge processors found in some rivals and the new Apple iMacs, it's still more power under the bonnet than the average consumer will need for a while to come.
It's backed by a generous 6GB of DDR3 RAM, which again should be plenty for all but the most demanding consumer and is more than you get as standard with most all-in-one (AIO) PCs. Likewise with its storage, which at a whopping 1.5GB (albeit at a slightly slow 5,400rpm) is the largest capacity we've seen in an AIO.
As usual with this type of machine, the TouchSmart's weakest link is its graphics. Though there's a discrete AMD Radeon HD 5570 with 1GB of dedicated RAM, this is still a mid-range 'mobile' or laptop graphics card, and its performance reflects this. Naturally it does a fine job of video acceleration and intensive video as well as supporting DirectX11, but intensive 3D gaming is beyond it.
On the other hand, its performance is significantly better than many alternatives, and if you're willing to live with a few compromises many games will run smoothly. For example, at 1,280 x 720 on Medium Detail it managed a silky 41.65 frames per second (fps) average in Stalker: Call of Pripyat. However, turning the resolution up to the screen's 1080p maximum and upping detail to its maximum resulted in a far less playable 20.35fps.
If you're a gamer, it's also worth noting that the 610 comes with an HP-exclusive touch-enabled edition of Ubisoft's R.U.S.E., which we'll give you more feedback on in the 'Touch' section of this review.