|Name||All-in-one PC: HP TouchSmart 610|
|At a glance:||23-inch, LED-backlit 1080p screen with massive tilt angle,Sports an older, dual-core Intel CPU,Built-in Blu-ray player and DVB-T digital TV tuner,Touchscreen supports multi-touch and gestures|
|Summary:||A slightly plain-looking but very capable and well-priced little machine.|
When HP introduced its TouchSmart line of PCs back in 2007, it seemed like we were on the cusp of ushering in a new era of touch screen-based computing. Four years later hardly anything seems to have changed in the desktop domain, though mobile devices have taken touch control to the next level. Still, HP’s latest offering in this line – the TouchSmart 610 –sits on plenty of its own merits aside from its touch screen capability.
Like every other all-in-one PC, the TouchSmart 610 fits every component except the power supply into the monitor unit, so you simply need to plug it into the wall and away you go.
The unique thing about this unit is the fact that you can tilt the screen in its stand all the way back to 60 degrees from horizontal. Most all-in-ones don’t go back nearly this far, which can mean they’re a pain in the neck (and wrists) to use at bench-height while standing up. With their tilt mechanism, HP have effectively solved that problem.
The 23 inch, LED-backlit 1920 x 1080 resolution screen is a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. It has a glossy finish which will reflect any light sources from behind or above you depending on how you orient the screen, plus it suffers noticeably from ghosting (it’s rated at a slow 14ms response time) so it’s not so great for fast-moving video like sports footage, or whizz-bang video gaming.
On the bright side, it provides crisp and clear images with amazing viewing angles. Given the wide angle that you can tilt the screen back by, a cheap LCD panel would wash out as soon as you tried to view it from anywhere but dead centre, so HP have obviously put some decent tech in there.
Watching a high-definition Blu-ray movie or Freeview TV show (via the built-in decoder) is a real pleasure on the TouchSmart 610. There are no distracting lights around the screen, fan and disc noise levels are nice and low, image quality is great and audio is also above average. The demo unit we received was missing the remote control, but from pictures I’ve seen it looks fairly usable.
As far as specs and features go, you get a slot-loading Blu-ray/DVD drive, six USB 2.0 ports, headphone/microphone/subwoofer jacks, a multi-card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, TV input (for the built-in DVB-T tuner) plus Wireless-N and Bluetooth connectivity. No HDMI inputs or outputs, sadly.
Under the hood, the particular version we received for testing (the 610-1020a) packs an Intel Core i5 660 processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory running at 1066MHz, and an AMD Radeon HD 5570 1GB graphics chipset, which means it should be able to handle all but the most demanding applications and games.
The optical-based touch screen can only recognise two points of contact, and sometimes the HP TouchSmart software was a bit buggy, but it performed as well as any other PC touch screen we’ve tested lately.
Overall, the HP TouchSmart 610 proved itself to be a very capable and usable machine. It worked great as a media player and packs enough grunt for common computing tasks, including some light gaming – all for a reasonable price tag. That wins it a thumbs-up from me, along with the PC World Editors’ Choice award for our 2011 all-in-one roundup.