HP TouchSmart PC IQ500
Give your PC the finger
- TouchSmart interface is fun and easy to use, great screen, good speed
- No ExpressCard slot, three USB ports are in an awkward position at the rear, no Blu-ray player
A relatively new-breed PC with an intuitive touch-screen interface that would be just as useful in an office as in a home environment.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Interacting with your PC by directly using your hands instead of a peripheral is not something new, but it's not yet mainstream either. In fact, it seems like a bit of a novelty when you first start using the TouchSmart PC. It's not until you launch HP's own TouchSmart interface that you quickly realise how useful, and how much fun, it can be.
This interface allows you to access your media libraries by dragging, holding and tapping your fingers on the screen, similar to what you can do with the iPod Touch — although the HP doesn't support multiple inputs. It's a very easy-to-use interface (it can also read your iTunes music library) and it looks great on the PC's 22in glossy LCD screen.
We should probably talk a little about the hardware first. The TouchSmart PC is an all-in-one unit that's slim (it's about 6cm thick) and rests on the desk much like a fold-out photo frame. It's about 46cm tall and very different to the TouchSmart IQ770 Desktop PC . It boasts a powerful configuration, which drives the 64-bit version of Windows Vista and HP's TouchSmart interface, and its performance in our benchmarks was typical of a well-rounded PC. Our WorldBench 6 benchmark recorded a score of 73, while iTunes took 1min 42sec to convert 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s. Both results indicate that the unit will run office and multimedia applications comfortably, and it will also multitask without dragging its heels.
Running the show is a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 CPU, along with 4GB of RAM (all of which can be used as the 64-bit version of Windows has been installed), integrated Intel (G965 Express) graphics and a 320GB hard drive (which isn't much storage space these days). You can get different configurations, of course, and prices start from $1999, which isn't too bad for a new-breed PC.
The question you have to ask yourself when looking at this PC though, is "Why would I want something like that?" The answer is style. HP is hoping this PC will bridge the gap between PC technology and consumer electronics, and that users will set it up in their living room as a kiosk of sorts. Of course, the touch screen is handy when all you want to do is play music and videos — indeed, it's liberating to be able to use your fingers to select and drag music to a playlist, or hit a few icons on the screen to start watching a DVD — and you can also use your fingers to write and draw, but you'll want to use the supplied cordless keyboard and mouse for conventional tasks such as using the Internet and office applications.
But it's not just for the home; the suitability of this PC for making presentations in a boardroom and for installing something flashy in a reception area is apparent. Its screen possesses wide viewing angles and reproduces colours vibrantly. For small presentations where a projector is overkill, this unit will run slideshows and videos without any hesitation.
In our tests, we had lots of fun using the touch-screen to navigate around Windows and launch applications. The only place where the touch-screen was inaccurate was in the lower-right area of the desktop, near the System Tray (we've seen inaccuracies at the edges of screens before; for example, Fujitsu's LifeBook T2010 (3.5G)). You will have to calibrate it before you use it, in order to get the best results.
Although the screen isn't high definition — it comes close at 1680x1050 — we still think the TouchSmart could benefit from a Blu-ray drive and an integrated high-definition TV tuner. (A TV tuner is supplied in the IQ508 model.) These components would definitely make the TouchSmart the main focal point of a home entertainment set-up, although you could argue that its 22in screen just isn't big enough for that sort of thing. (A 27 or 30in version of this unit with built-in Blu-ray and TV tuner would be something to behold!)
The unit's built-in speakers produced fuller sound than we were expecting, and you do get a decent bass kick out of them, although they do rattle at high volumes. The volume can be adjusted via the control buttons on the right-hand side of the screen.
Interestingly, the TouchSmart doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, which indicates that it's not entirely based on mobile technology, and this is reinforced by its 3.5in, 320GB hard drive. This drive spins at 7200rpm, so it provides good speed. A notebook hard drive, on the other hand, would probably hinder the TouchSmart's performance a little, but it would save energy, too. During our tests, the TouchSmart PC consumed about 87W when running the TouchSmart interface, and 7W when the computer was shut down, but still switched on at the outlet. This is more economical than a typical PC and monitor configuration though.
For connectivity, you get integrated 802.11 draft-n, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0, so you won't need to add anything to it in order to get the fastest possible network connection speeds. There are five USB 2.0 ports to accommodate external storage devices, but three of these are inconveniently located at the rear of the PC. You might want to plug in a USB hub to make more ports available to you. You also get an SD memory card reader, digital audio output, a mini-FireWire port, a webcam, and microphone and headphone ports. The right-hand side of the unit features a slot-loading DVD burner.
As you can see, the basic foundations of a PC are there, but the TouchSmart PC IQ500 offers a very different user experience thanks to its intuitive touch-screen interface. We like it a lot and think it's a great concept, especially for users who use a PC to primarily play music and view photos and videos.
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Internet Security
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Tivoli PAL BT
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
There are countless trends competing for attention in the gaming notebook and laptop space but not all of them are either useful or benefit the core gaming experience.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- Apple finally updates Mac mini with new quad- and 6-core CPUs, space gray case
- MSI releases Trident X Series
- MSI teams up with Sony for the upcoming Venom movie
- ASUS announces Intel Mehlow workstation products
- ASUS bring VivoMini PC to Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?