HP IQ770 Touchsmart PC

July 1st, 2007 Computers, Desktop, Tech

The Touchsmart PC makes an interesting designer’s machine for several reasons. Firstly, several aspects of it are very big. It weighs about 10kg but is surprisingly compact in the space it takes up, considerably less than a large tower and monitor arrangement.

The 19′ screen looks a lot bigger than it is with the speakers down each side, giving you a clear, wide workspace that’s comfortable with multiple palettes spread around.

It’s got a massive 320Gb internal disk, more than enough for large graphics files. The Dual core AMD Turion chip isn’t the créme de la créme of heavy-use processors, but the nVidia GeForce 7600 graphics card gives you a beautiful picture with striking colour.

Despite its potential as a designer’s device, HP are positioning it as a home PC to be placed in a common area where everyone can access it. Aside from the bevy of media functionality, two features make it a virtual meeting place for the household.

First, it’s a touch screen, devised especially to work with Windows Vista and performing very well whatever application you’re in. The mouse and keyboard are wireless and the latter tucks away comfortably into the body as unless you’re sitting there doing actual computing, you won’t need it.

The reason you won’t is the other aspect of the Touchsmart PC — SmartCenter, HP’s proprietary application of applets that let you access and update calendar data, surf the web, play games and more. The idea is that anyone passing can leave a calendar note or message for anyone else in the family. Together with full Windows Media Centre, TV and sound ports and the heavy duty on-board speakers, it has the potential to be the electronic centrepiece of the home.

Subsequent versions may be more so if HP pursues this form factor, because what they’ve added to extra functionality they’ve sacrificed in other areas. Being small enough to tuck away, the keyboard is a little too small, making the keys very hard to strike accurately if you’re a speedy typist. You’ll be more comfortable manipulating a layout than writing a letter or email unless you can figure out a way to get another wireless keyboard to recognise the system.

If you can, the Touchsmart could be the most intriguing change in computing in a long while. Together with the Apple iPhone and the increasing popularity of tablet notebooks, the humble touch screen is making a comeback. With some tweaks, the Touchsmart PC could be the mother lode — all things to all people.

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