HP TouchSmart 600
Touchscreen iMac wannabee
As the name suggests, the TouchSmart 600 is a touchscreen device running Windows 7 Home Premium. This allows you to scroll, select and drag onscreen objects and interfaces using your fingers on the screen as well as navigate screens and rotate and zoom documents using two-finger manipulations.
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The computer comes with HP TouchSmart software installed, providing touch-enhanced programs for organising media files, browing the web, designing calendars and collages, and so on. These programs are fairly intuitive and enable some unexpectedly clever functions: in TouchScreen Photo, for example, we were able to zoom and rotate two images independently from each other but at the same time by using both hands on the touchscreen.
The screen is extremely sensitive and this can take some getting used to. The advantage is that response is gentle and precise, avoiding any clumsy pressing. The disadvantage is that you can end up selecting objects by mistake while your finger is hovering above the surface of the screen. Given the choice between gentle and firm pressure, we prefer the former, if only because it makes sweeping actions smoother and more accurate.
PC performance is good but not outstanding, least of all when running 3D games: this is a general home-use computer and media player, certainly not a hardcore gamer’s machine. On the other hand, processor-intensive tasks such as video playback and image manipulation are perfectly clean and glitch-free.
Its media player credentials are strengthened by the inclusion of an infrared remote control handset, again encased in shiny black plastic. You can use the handset to operate Windows 7 media players – useful if you are watching TV or a movie in a living room environment – and link it up with other IR-supporting peripherals such as games consoles and set-top boxes.
Use the remote to operate the PC and any connected infrared devices.
It does this using an external IR emitter unit that translates commands from the HP handset via the TouchSmart 600 to the selected peripheral. Although the IR emitter system is limited – it only supports one peripheral at a time – the remote control handset itself is excellent, whether you want to extend the IR capability or not.
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