This is the first desktop PC incorporating a touch-screen that HP has produced. In fact, it's one of only a few home PCs anybody has produced with a touch-screen. To make this technology worth having, the computer itself has had to be completely rethought. In the process, HP has produced a radically different media PC in the TouchSmart IQ770.
It's designed to be used as a conventional computer when needed and as a nifty touch-screen Media Center PC with fast, easy access to a wide range of different media and online information. The idea is that you could use it for everything from obtaining a weather forecast before leaving for work through to watching breakfast television or playing a movie, all by tapping the screen in true Star Trek style. Shame there isn't a Starfleet skin available…
HP has effectively taken a standard desktop box, split it horizontally and lifted the top section up from the back to produce a machine which in profile looks like a capital V resting on one of its arms. It's then attached a 19in widescreen LCD panel to the upper arm of the V with inset speakers on either side.
The screen itself can be raised and lowered with a similar height range to a high-end LCD monitor and it can be angled from vertical to around 30-degrees back. This is arguably not enough because, in its lower position, it could do with being closer to the horizontal to make the touch-screen more comfortable to use.
The lower front face of the machine is inset with a LightScribe-enabled, DVD-RAM-compatible DVD rewriter, two multi-format memory card slots and a flip-down cover for audio, S-Video, four-pin FireWire and USB2.0 ports. The wireless keyboard tucks away underneath the front lip of the base when not in use.
The right-hand side of the machine contains a flip-open bay for one of HP’s Pocket Media Drives – a slot-in hard drive for taking essential data with you. These drives cost between £100 and £130 depending on capacity. The right-hand edge of the screen contains controls for switching TV channels – the TouchSmart comes with a combo DVB-T/analogue TV tuner as standard – together with volume and mute.
At the back are jacks for the integrated 5.1-channel surround sound together with more USB2.0 ports, including one that sits next to a power outlet to accommodate HP’s USB/power printer Y-cable. The latter comes in handy if you own an A510 or A610 series HP printer and decide to dock it on the rear of the IQ770. A six-pin FireWire socket as well as S/PDIF and a new mini VGA format external monitor connector complete the connectivity line-up.