Editors' note: This system has a two-year warranty included, not one year as previously indicated. The ratings and the text have been updated accordingly.
HP has already demonstrated its commitment to touch-based all-in-one PCs by putting great effort behind its TouchSmart software suite. With the new TouchSmart 610, showcased here with the $1,789 TouchSmart 610q 1065qd, HP embraces touch computing even further. Boasting an impressively adjustable stand, this 23-inch all-in-one offers immense flexibility in terms of how you interact with it. Round out that versatility with fast performance, robust features, and a competitive price, and the TouchSmart 610q 1065qd is the new high-end, home entertainment-oriented all-in-one to beat.
There's a lot to like about the TouchSmart 610, but the most interesting feature is its stand. Capable of tilting the display backward 60 degrees, the stand gives the TouchSmart unparalleled adjustability for an all-in-one, resulting in easier, more intuitive interaction with the touch interface.
We wouldn't go so far as to call the tilting screen revolutionary (or, for that matter, "magical"). You still have to adjust for the tiny text and other quirks of Windows application designs that don't have touch input in mind. The tilted design might also lead to more disappointment when apps you might be familiar with from your smartphone or tablet don't support multitouch gestures, when you go visit Google Maps in your browser, for example.
That said, plenty of programs feel completely natural to use with the tilted screen. Amazon Kindle for PC is a perfect fit, as are any text-heavy Web pages. HP's own touch-based programs, which include a basic photo organizer, a touch-oriented Web browser, a drawing app, and various media players, all also work well. A free real-time strategy game included with the system, R.U.S.E., is also designed to support multigesture touch input, but we found the interface unintuitive and slower to respond than most serious gamers will tolerate.
On a higher level, we find that the tilting screen raises some intriguing questions. Will you tilt the screen when you're sitting in front of the system? Typing on the included hardware keyboard is faster than using the software keys, but you could conceivably go without a keyboard and mouse entirely.
We also wonder why HP didn't design the system to tilt the full 90 degrees. Granted, it's not hard to imagine top-down computing being awkward without the appropriately designed apps. An upward-facing computer screen would also invite multiple users to crowd around and interact with the device from multiple vantage points, and short of putting the system on a coffee table and running the power cord across the living room rug, it would be hard for the average consumer to facilitate that kind of multiuser access. On the other hand, it doesn't seem like a full 90-degree range of motion would be that hard to add to the existing design, and more experimental users might actually enjoy such a capability.
We must also ask, given "http:="" news.cnet.com="" 8301-1035_3-20031203-94.html"="">HP's recent announcement that at some point all of its future PCs will ship with its new touch-designed WebOS, what will become of HP's legacy TouchSmart products like this one. According to HP product manager Xavier Lauwaert, the outlook is promising. "We cannot comment about our future plans about WebOS beyond what has been announced. However, as you have seen with TouchSmart 4.0 [HP's touch software suite], we try to offer the goodness of our latest offering to 'legacy' end users, and we stand committed to [continuing] to offer this type of premium experience/upgrade in the future."
|HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd||Apple iMac 27-inch||Sony Vaio L21SFX|
|Display size/pixel resolution||23-inch, 1,920x1,080||27-inch, 2,560x1,440||24-inch, 1,920x1,080|
|CPU||2.93GHz Intel Core i7 870||2.8GHZ Intel Core i5 760||2.0GHz Intel Core i5 2360QM|
|Memory||8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM||4GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM||8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAm|
|Graphics||2GB AMD Radeon HD 5570 graphics card||1GB AMD Radeon HD 5750 graphics card||1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card|
|Hard drives||1TB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200rpm||2TB 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||Blu-ray/DVD burner combo drive||dual-layer DVD burner||Blu-ray burner|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless||Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
Regardless of how you feel about touch input and HP's design, the TouchSmart 610q 1065qd happens to also be highly competitive according to its computing components. Windows all-in-ones still lag behind Apple's 27-inch iMac in terms of ultimate screen size, but the HP does match the Windows PC standard with its 23-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel screen. HP also offers one of the best deals we've seen for an all-in-one with a true multithreaded quad-core Core i7 CPU. In both its CPU and its 2GB AMD Radeon HD 5570 graphics card, the HP offers a faster, more robust computing experience than Sony's mobile component-based Vaio L21SFX. The HP's 1TB hard drive doesn't match the Sony's 2TB model, and the Sony also boasts a Blu-ray burner, to the HP's mere Blu-ray player/DVD burner combination drive, but we'd happily accept the HP's superior performance for those minor feature trade-offs.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
The HP trades performance wins with Apple's Core i5-based iMac. The TouchSmart's top scores on our iTunes and Cinebench tests suggest that for raw power, this system is one of the best in its class for processor-intensive work like video rendering, large batch file conversions, and other tasks that benefit from brute single-core or multicore processing force. The HP is also the fastest Windows PC in our Photoshop CS3 and multimedia multitasking tests, but the iMac's faster performance in those cases is likely because of its lower memory overhead. Regardless, you fill find few if any mainstream tasks for which the HP is not well-suited.
The only reservation we have about the TouchSmart 610q's performance is the fact that its older Intel Core i7 CPU will soon become obsolete once the newer Sandy Bridge generation of Core i7 chips become more widespread. The Sony, for example, includes a Sandy Bridge mobile chip. It's not as fast because of its mobile-designed architecture, but we don't think the desktop variants are too far behind. In fact, we've heard rumors that Apple will be moving its iMacs to Sandy Bridge in the near future. HP has told us that it will be adding Sandy Bridge to the TouchSmart 610 line, so if performance is a primary concern for you, you might wait a month or so before making a purchase to see what develops.
Thanks to its midrange AMD graphics card, it also makes a viable gaming system, and we were able to play both Crysis 2 and Metro 2033 smoothly at full resolution and reasonable image quality.
In addition to its performance and touch capabilities, the TouchSmart 610q also boasts some welcome connectivity innovations. The highlight is that it has two separate HDMI inputs, allowing you to integrate this system with more home entertainment devices before you need to buy a separate HDMI hub. It also comes with a useful software utility that lets you toggle the display between the incoming HDMI signals, and tweak brightness, contrast, and other basic settings. Sony may have introduced us to the wonders of HDMI inputs, but HP has taken the concept another step with this system.
The apparent trade-off for the second HDMI input is that the TouchSmart 610q lacks a video output, which means you can't add a second monitor or output to an HDTV. You will, however, find two USB 3.0 jacks on the back of this system. We expect that we'll see Thunderbolt become common in this category before too long, but for now USB 3.0 is the next best thing. You'll also find a handful of USB 2.0 ports, as well as a TV tuner, an SD card reader, and various audio jacks around the case.
|HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||208.3347|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$23.65|
Because of its fast CPU and graphics card, this TouchSmart 610q is on the higher end of power consumption for its category. It still uses only about 60 percent of the power of the far slower Dell Inspiron One 2305. The HP's power draw also correlates to faster performance, which is a trade-off we can live with.
HP includes a two-year parts and labor warranty with the TouchSmart 610q, an uncommonly generous departure from the industry-standard one-year coverage plan. You also get 24-7 toll-free phone support and a variety of support resources available on HP's Web site, as well as on the system itself.
Thanks to its fast performance, a competitive price, and innovations to both its case design and its video inputs, the HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd is a star among high-end all-in-ones. Its $1,789 price tag puts this system in the realm of PCs for more enthusiastic consumers, but for those willing to spend that kind of money, this is one of the best all-in-ones you can buy.
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HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 870; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB AMD Radeon HD 5570; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 650; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Apple iMac 27-inch (Summer 2010)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4; 2.8GHz Intel Core i5; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Dell Inspiron One Z2305
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.4GHz AMD Phenom II X4 610e; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5470 graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Gateway One ZX6951-53
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 550; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Sony Vaio L21SFX
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 2360qM; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 2TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive