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Hands-On with the HP TouchSmart IQ500 PC

So far, so good, and continuing the tour around the machine there are few more delights to be found on the right edge. Okay, so "delights" might not be the word, but a memory card reader, ExpressCard slot and a FireWire port are important additions nonetheless, as is the slot-loading DVD drive a little further back.

Right at the back are all the other connections and there are plenty of them. A further three USB ports bring the total to five, Gigabit Ethernet is present and there's a plethora of audio connections, including S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio out and in, a TV aerial input an infrared output and S-Video for video - though it's not entirely clear if this is an input or an output. Indeed, if one were being very picky the lack of other video outputs and/or inputs is a shame, though not unexpected given this is an all-in-one machine.

Inside, HP has changed from using AMD to Intel for the chipset and CPU, in this case using GM965M Express and a 2.00GHz T5750 Core 2 Duo. This sits in the lower mid-range of the Intel's current mobile CPU line-up, with a 667MHz front side bus and 2MB L2 Cache. All the same it's perfectly capable for what's required here and HP has matched it with 4GB of RAM, a 7,200rpm 320GB HDD and 64-bit Windows Vista Premium.

Configuration does, however, vary depending on region. For example, we already know that the US will get some discrete graphics options, but as yet there's no confirmation for this in the UK. Instead, the TouchSmart is likely to launch with integrated Intel X3100 graphics, so you can forget about playing any serious games for now.

You will get Wireless-N Wi-Fi, though, which opens up the prospect of wireless transmission of HD content and you won't suffer any bottlenecks from the Gigabit Ethernet, either. All in all it's a reasonably balanced configuration and though the proposed £1,099 price is by no means cheap, you're getting a whole lot of functionality for the price and this brings me nicely onto the TouchSmart's true selling point, its custom user interface...

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