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HP TouchSmart 600

HP TouchSmart 600

Touchscreen iMac wannabee

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Review Every now and again, reviewing a new PC can be a pleasure rather than a chore. The feeling is not the result of blistering performance or a full set of ticks next to a spec list, but the natural response to using high-quality kit that works exactly as you want it to. HP’s TouchSmart 600 looks beautiful and reveals an approach to product design that suggests the company has thought carefully about every component and feature, and how best to implement them.

HP TouchSmart 600

A touch of class? HP's TouchSmart 600

The main body of the computer is an all-in-one CPU and 23in widescreen TFT-LCD monitor, encased in luxurious-looking, shiny black plastic. The display resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels, making it just right for full HD video playback. Inside the unit, HP has fitted an Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 64bit processor running at 2.13GHz, and supplied 4GB of system memory and a generous 1TB of hard disk as standard.

This is a good basis for any home computer, but the big difference with the TouchSmart 600 is in the product design. For example, a pair of rubberised feet raises the main unit from your desktop by a few centimetres, leaving space to slide the keyboard all the way underneath when it’s not in use.

The computer leans back on a single, sturdy rear prop – touchscreen devices need this setup rather than tilt and swivel – with a cut-out area through which you can gather power and other cables. The rear prop makes a toe-curling crack sound when you hinge it backwards to its initial setting, after which it provides firm but smooth adjustment to allow the screen to be angled between five and 40 degrees.

The front of the main unit incorporates a built-in mic and webcam along the top bezel, and a pair of stereo speakers underneath the screen. Although such speakers are never going to offer adequate bass, the quality and volume of the TouchSmart 600’s audio output is unusually good for built-in speakers. If you were to use the computer for TV and movie viewing in a living room, the sound would be more than acceptable.

HP TouchSmart 600

Here’s a fine idea: a built-in camera card slot supporting six formats

The on/off button is found on the right-hand edge of the main unit, with the on-screen display (OSD) menu button further down, along with volume up/down/mute controls. Below all of these, close to the bottom, is a conveniently located single memory card slot that supports six formats: xD, SD, SDHC, MMC, MS and MS-Pro. We have seen the slow appearance of these slots on notebooks and peripheral devices, and it is good to see them being built into desktop PCs more often.

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