Review Price £1,099.00
HP TouchSmart 610 – Peripherals, Value and Verdict
Naturally, touch isn't the only way to interact with HP's TouchSmart 610, and there's an extensive selection of peripherals included. The isolation/chiclet keyboard almost equals Apple's slim model for sheer style and slimness, though it includes a full number pad and dedicated volume controls, and uses AAA batteries. Its matte surface is almost soft to the touch and the well-spaced keys offer excellent feedback. Quite frankly, it's a king among bundled peripherals.
Unfortunately, the ambidextrous optical mouse does little to maintain this impression. It's as basic as it gets with a rubberized two-way scroll-wheel and two buttons, and its glossy surface shows off smudges worse than the PC's glossy screen.
The included glossy Windows Media remote is simply huge, which makes it comfortable to hold and gives the shapely rubber keys plenty of room for an excellent layout. It's not particularly stylish and will require you to move your hand to reach all its buttons, but otherwise does a good job.
When it comes to value the TouchSmart 610 is available for a reasonable £1,099. While this might seem expensive compared to PC rivals, don't forget you're getting a superior IPS screen, better connectivity, more adjustability and a more comfortable touch experience, not to mention extras like the TV tuner and media remote, all in a well-built and quiet machine.
Apple's new 21.5in iMacs are probably the TouchSmart's biggest rivals, also offering IPS displays. Build and design are on a whole other level, not to mention Thunderbolt connectivity, Sandy Bridge internals, better graphics and HD webcams, all for £100 less.
However, do keep in mind that you're left with a slightly smaller screen (the HP offers 23 inches), a third of the storage, no touch, no height adjustment, no wall mounting capabilities, no TV functionality, less connection flexibility, no HDMI video outputs, less memory and - crucially for HD movie-lovers - no Blu-ray player. In the end, which one you go for will depend on personal preference.
HP also offers the option of an £899 TouchSmart 610-1000uk, rather than our 1030uk review model. This gives you the same screen, chassis, flexibility and connectivity, put drops the processor down from a Core i5 to a Core i3, the graphics down to a Radeon HD 4270, the hard drive from 1.5TB to 750GB, memory from 6GB to 4GB and downgrades the Blu-ray drive to a DVD-rewriter. Frankly, for the £200 extra it demands, the TouchSmart 610-1030uk is by far the better deal.
Thanks to its ability to fold down to 30 degrees, here we finally have an all-in-one PC on which touch makes sense, and thanks to its gorgeous 23in IPS display it's a true pleasure to use from any angle. HP also throws in a whole raft of connectivity on top of powerful specifications, not to mention great extras like the digital TV tuner and Blu-ray drive, making for one of the most well-rounded models available. If you can afford it, it's well worth the outlay.
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