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HP TouchSmart 600 Desktop PC | Review

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In terms of jumping on the touch screen market, HP was one of the first end-product makers to jump on board the new technology. In fact, more than two years ago, they were the first to market a touch-based all-in-one PC. As such, given that HP has had a head start in dealing with the touch screen PC market, it has managed to refine the TouchSmart 600 based on real market feed back. Especially now that Windows 7 is available, the new operating system also helps to bring in more compelling and entertaining features for the multi-touch market.

Overall Specs The new TouchSmart 600 features the planet's fastest processor, the new Intel Core i7-720QM processor, which runs at 1.60GHz, up to 2.8GHz. It features a slim, 23" BrightView multi-touch widescreen, and runs on Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium. It comes with 6GB of DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB hard drive, and 1GB dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT230M graphics card to support gaming and multimedia processing needs. It features a Blu-ray player, HDTV tuner with remote, and HDMI game console connectivity so you can hook your Wii or PS3 up to the BrightView screen. It has Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n and integrated Bluetooth for your connectivity needs, and of course, is equipped with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

One of its bigger attractions is the collection of Smart Touch applications such as Twitter, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, and something cooks might like and make this perfect for the kitchen--the Recipe Box.

Look and feel In terms of design, the HP TouchSmart 600 doesn't veer too far from its predecessors like the last generation TouchSmart IQ506, and is perhaps not as design driven as the all-in-one iMac. However, its sleek black casing and BrightView screen does offer the PC a solid, high gloss look that is way better than unoffensive. Also, the black casing does help colors on the screen stand out more. Most of the inputs are cleverly hidden, and the HDMI and audio/video input are easily accessible on the side. The wireless keyboard and mouse are understated and matching, and it gives the system a more streamlined look sans wires.

Screen The BrightView screen is quite pretty to look at, and especially with the black casing as per-mentioned, makes the display as good as any mid-tier LCD HDTV. It is glossy, and since the PC supports Blu-ray, we can say the screen is quite a perfect companion for your entertainment needs.

In terms of touch sensitivity, as many have noted and are worried about, it can be slightly unresponsive at times depending on how you pace your movements. Sometimes, if you move your fingers a little bit too fast or didn't position it right on a certain button when tapping into a program, accuracy can suffer. But it is not too problematic and not so much of a nuisance either.

Audio Like the HP Envy line-up of laptops, the new TouchSmart 600 features Beats Audio technology, and thus audio quality is one of the strong suits of the PC. Beats Audio is a special technology developed closely with Dr. Dre and Interscope artists. Dr. Dre and HP worked hand in hand to bring people studio quality audio experience and allow consumers to listen to music the way it is intended by the artist. Simply put, Beats Audio instantly enriches your listening experience with additional depth and dimension. The difference between a Beats activated song and one that is not is quite evident even to an average consumer.

Sure, the sound bar situated under the screen leaves room for desire for better bass and highs, but this is nothing a good pair of stand alone speakers or headphones won't be able to fix.

Performance Overall, we would say that the TouchSmart 600 is a completely enjoyable PC and is perfect for home entertainment. Aside from amazing audio quality to accompany the high definition visual, HP has also partnered up with your favorite entertainment providers such as Hulu, Pandora and Netflix to make streaming videos, movies, TV and music that much easier. The interface of Netflix and Hulu have been streamlined so it is easy to flick through your library or videos, and everything has been categorized into an enjoyable organization. Of course, with the HDTV tuner and remote, one doesn't even have to be at the computer to change videos, movies or channels.

Some other fun stuff we do want to highlight includes Live TV/DVR, and tuning the PC for TV is as simple as following idiot-proof steps on the screen. The TouchSmart 600 also doubles as a fully-functional HD DVR, and it is quite easy to coast your way through programming guides as well.

One last fun thing which would be great for a bachelor pad, is perhaps the HP Ambient Light function, which is technically a series of LEDs under the monitor. It is an app where the user can choose shades from a spectrum of colors and make your screen glow. Accompany that with the right soundtrack, perhaps the right person will be able to pull it off without coming off as cheesy.

That said, TouchSmart 600 runs pretty smoothly without hiccups in terms of navigating its way through media applications and delivery quality entertainment. And with Core i7 and a solid graphic card, we believe this is quite perfect for an average gamer (hello, Star Craft 2, anyone?). It would be a perfect addition to any room, especially dorms as it can pretty much take care of all your gaming and entertainment needs.

Rating: 8/10