HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd review: HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd

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MSRP: $1,789.99

The Good The HP TouchSmart 610q's benefits include fast performance, competitive pricing, and innovations to its case design and video inputs.

The Bad We have few complaints about this system, although it would have been nice if HP had included a video output port.

The Bottom Line We recommend the HP TouchSmart 610q with few reservations thanks to its speed, its competitive pricing, and an innovative tilting case design that makes this a best-in-breed touch-based all-in-one.

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8.5 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

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.

The TouchSmart 610's stand is remarkably adjustable.

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 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
Price $1,789 $1,999 $1,999
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.

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

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
HP TouchSmart 610q 1065qd
Sony Vaio L21SFX
Apple iMac 27-inch
Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112
Dell Inspiron One 2305
Gateway One ZX6951-53

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.

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