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HP TouchSmart 300-1120 review: HP TouchSmart 300-1120

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MSRP: $899.99

The Good Best-in-class touch software.

The Bad Small screen and underwhelming PC components for the price; slow performance

The Bottom Line On first inspection the HP TouchSmart 300-1120 seems like a capable enough all-in-one, but it loses a lot of appeal once you compare it with others on the market. If you want an all-in-one PC for the kitchen counter, this system may work for you. For general computing or home entertainment needs, you can find several other all-in-ones with better features for the price.

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5.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 4
  • Performance 5
  • Support 7

Editors' note: This review is part of our 2010 Retail Laptop and Desktop Back-to-School roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.

HP's TouchSmart 300-1120 presents a difficult value challenge. We admit that we're fans of HP's touch software, but we're not convinced that's enough to justify this $899 PC's small screen and underwhelming components. If you're passionate about the idea of having a touch PC somewhere like the kitchen, this system is your best bet from a technical standpoint. In terms of value, you can get a much more capable all-in-one system for a few more dollars. You can also spend less money for a similar experience from a laptop, an iPad, or some other Web-connected device.

HP's TouchSmart 300-1120 is essentially an update to the company's 300-1020 model we saw in January. Its hardware inside and out is nearly identical, with only a larger hard drive to distinguish the new model from the old. We like the looks of the TouchSmart well enough, its rounded, black-and-gray chassis looks a bit more polished than other Windows all-in-ones do. It's not as pretty as an iMac, but it's also not an eyesore.

This system's biggest strength by far is its touch software. HP has invested more thought--and presumably more money--than any other PC vendor has in its touch software, which results with a sleek, easy-to-use suite of touch-friendly apps. Of the variety of touch programs, our favorite is the Recipe Box, a cooking app that can scrape recipes from various foodie Web sites into a handy, indexed format that boasts not only touch support, but also voice control.

HP TouchSmart 300-1120 Gateway One ZX6900-01e
$899 $999
20-inches, 1,600x900 23-inch, 1,920x1,080
2.7GHz AMD Athlon X2 235e 2.93GHz Intel Core i3 530
256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 64MB (shared) Intel GMA 4500 integrated graphics chip
750GB, 7,200rpm 640GB, 7,200rpm
dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray/DVD-burner combo
Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

Even if we like HP's touch software, it's not enough to make up for the TouchSmart 300-1120's deficient hardware. Consider the $899, 20-inch HP in contrast with the $999 23-inch Gateway One ZX6900-01e. The Gateway system not only features touch input, but it also has a larger screen with a higher resolution, a faster processor, and a Blu-ray drive. The HP's hard drive capacity is a bit larger, and both its touch input and touch software are superior, but given its general hardware shortcomings, the TouchSmart 300-1120 is overpriced.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP TouchSmart 300-1120

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP TouchSmart 300-1120

Multimedia multitasking tests (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP TouchSmart 300-1120

Cinebench tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Gateway One ZX6900-01e
HP All-in-One 200-5020
HP TouchSmart 300-1120
Acer Aspire Z5610

The HP's application performance provides further proof of its underwhelming value. It's not surprising that the TouchSmart might fall behind a more expensive all-in-one like the Gateway ZX6900-01e, it's difficult to forgive its performance compared with that of HP's own $779 non-touch All-In-One 200-5020. Compared with that lower-end system, HP is essentially asking for a $100 premium for its touch software, with an overall performance loss thrown in for good measure. We like HP's touch apps, but they're not worth such a sacrifice.

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