CNET First Look
HP TouchSmart 310zThe $699 version of HP's TouchSmart 310z looks like an appealing home media center thanks to the upgraded touch software, but this tweaked $1,109 version lacks value. Configure a more modest 310z for a better deal without sacrificing touch functionality.
Hi, I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Here we're gonna take a look at the HP TouchSmart 310z. This is a configurable all-in-one desktop from HP. There's a 21 inch touch screen, a new design on the outside. It's a sort of a pedestal and stand model, makes a little bit easier to tilt the screen. If you're gonna walk right up to it, that's a nice feature. HP is also updated it's Touch Software. So, this is the main touch interface, down here is a carousel with A variety of apps that you can select to launch and up here HP has sort of done some cool stuff. Now all these icons are links to individual media files. We got a photo here, there's video file that you can play right here on the desktop, you can even create video and audio playlist, that you can launch directly from the environment here without launching a separate app. HP has also introduced an app market for downloadable apps, if you wanna add some but as it stands the system comes in about 28 different little apps, some are useful, some are not You got some media players, some art apps, RSS Feed, a web browser, a couple of games and a few others. The environment moves from side to side that let's you kinda expand your workspace and there's some neat environmental effects that just make the overall experience seem a little bit more engaging. So, as far as the actual touch experience, this is probably the best system on the market. We'd recommend the 699 base model for anyone who wants a PC seen in the kitchen or some other high traffic home area, where you might actually walk up thru the system and stand in front of it to use it. The TouchSmart 310z is a configurable system and HP sent us with a faster CPU, a larger hard drive, more memory and a few other upgrades. The jack up price of up to about 1100 bucks, now for that price, you can actually get a much larger own, one from another vendor with 23 inch display, a Blu-ray drive, faster CPU. So, the hardware value on the higher end version of the 310z isn't quite there. The good news though is that if you drop the specs down, chances are you won't degrade the touch experience too much. So, we advocate buying the system at a lower price and would slightly downgrade its specs. Now for brief tour of the rest of the system, you can see it's got a web-cam up here, you got a couple of USB ports on the left side, over here on the right there's the DVD Drive, you also got an SD Card Slot and a couple of analog audio jacks. Now for the rest of the ports on the back, you got a handful of USB ports, an Ethernet Jack, TV Tuner, Digital Audio Output, as well as a standard analog audio output. That's a pretty basic assortment of ports, there's no eSATA, no firewires, no HDMI input or secondary video output. So the system really is kinda designed to be a self-contained Unit. Now even with an upgraded Quad Core AMD CPU, the system was pretty slow on our performance test compared to other ones in this price range. That means we definitely wouldn't advocate the system for a productivity PC but as a day to day family PC, where you would woke up and actually use the touch environment, we can recommend the system at a lower price point in our view. So, I'm Rich Brown, this is the HP TouchSmart 310z.