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I’m Lee Sabow and I ’m on the Windows Commercial team, responsible for working with OEMs to deliver great PCs to our customers. Each month I’ll be reviewing a Windows PC developed with businesses in mind. One of the great benefits of Windows is the wide variety of PCs and devices available to customers, to meet every work style. My blog series will showcase those PCs that I think you should consider for your business or organization, based on your employee groups and how they work. I believe there is a perfect PC for everyone, and finding the right match helps you and your employees be more productive and have more fun at work.
For my first review on the Windows for your Business blog, I’ve been testing an HP TouchSmart 9300 Elite Business PC. I’ve been excited to get my hands one this as it’s one of the newer multi-touch all-in-one units on the market.
Our hardware partners have been building all-in-ones for both consumers and businesses for some time, but business interest in the form factor has been picking up. After spending a few days with the machine I can see why; there’s a big beautiful touchscreen that makes collaborating with coworkers a breeze, and to top it off the performance is excellent – it’s a speed demon of a PC. I see a lot of value in terms of employee productivity here and HP sees many businesses purchasing these machines for kiosk-type usage, retail and collaboration/video-conferencing for smaller meeting rooms.
Models start at just over $1,000 and go up from there in a range of specs. The model I tested is a bit over $1,500 direct from HP and other vendors. Just behind the beautiful 1080p resolution 23” touchscreen (1920 x 1080 pixels) is an Intel 2nd Generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a speedy 1TB drive, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 425M MXM graphics, and a slot-loading Blu-ray drive.
HP provided this machine with a default installation of Windows 7 Professional and some of their own custom applications and utilities, including several specific to touch. I didn’t get a chance to explore them extensively, but my initial take is that they added some good full-screen touch experiences in my brief exploration. Beyond the touchscreen, one of my favorite things about this machine is that it kept up with everything I was doing and had room for more. What’s more, it did so quietly. Don’t expect the sound of an older desktop if you haven’t had the chance to use a newer all-in-one. While using this as my main PC during test period, I got the chance to run my normal test applications. My test applications are standard for a business environment: Microsoft Outlook, Word and PowerPoint 2010, Lync, Internet Explorer 9 and Zune. Ok, Zune may not be powering as many businesses as Microsoft Office, but I always work a little better with music. The Windows Experience Index indicates the high-level of horsepower under the hood of this sleek machine. Since the hard disk is a standard spinning unit the max score is a 5.9 (check out my colleagues Ben and Ryan’s explanation of hard drive speed).
Now how do we quantify all this? I have trouble with a lot of benchmarks or even stopwatch time tests as the number matters a lot less than how performance feels to me (or you). Still, it’s comfortable to go ahead and measure things by the numbers. Please keep in mind that these are non-scientific numbers measured on my wristwatch. In my tests waking from sleep and going into sleep were near-instantaneous. I attempted to measure on my watch, but my reaction times were slower than the PC.
Just to show a bit of what this machine can handle, I played one 1080p video while simultaneously running two instances of one my favorite performance tests:
The 1000 fishes on each screen started to slow down a bit from their 60 fps max rate once I added in the 1080p video, but still swimming along at a pretty brisk pace.
The touchscreen was very responsive. I was able to drag and snap windows, draw in Paint and manipulate presentation objects in PowerPoint easily. One item to note here is that TouchSmart 9300 only supports two points of touch, which isn’t a large practical concern for many applications but could limit some custom application interactivity. For example, I could paint two parallel lines with my fingers in Paint, but not three.
Since this is a business PC I didn’t test games (and to my manager, I certainly would never do that during the workday), however this machine clearly has the power to keep up with your workday and perhaps some play as well.
Form and Function
The HP is a nice-looking, solid machine. Taking it out of the box I knew it was serious when I was hefting the 25 pounds, but it looks fairly svelte on my desk. While there’s a fairly thick bezel around the monitor, it looks (and feels) natural. The black plastic on this machine has both some areas of gloss and matte to create a nice contrast and minimize the overall profile.
One of the cool things about the HP TouchSmart 9300 is that it can lean back 60 degrees so you can almost use it as a drafting table with touch. It was nice to be able to whiteboard out with a coworker electronically. The adjustable angle takes some getting used to and a bit of a trick to shift it, but the positive side is that the machine is very solid, even when multiple people are touching the screen.
When looking at a machine for business it’s important to know that the machine is going to be able to stand up to heavy usage. Additionally, the unit is very serviceable for an all-in-one design, with easy access to the innards for upgrades or repair.
Even though the TouchSmart is a touch machine, it also includes a very solid wireless keyboard and mouse that feels great in the hand. While I kept reaching for the screen, when writing out much of this review I was using the keyboard. The sound coming out of the speakers was a welcome change from my laptop speakers.
Final thoughts and wrap-up
This is the first desktop machine I’ve used on a daily basis for some time. Having a big touchscreen on my desk was an interesting new way to work, and it unlocked a lot of possibilities for me. One big win was collaboration with my coworkers – my teammates and I are going to miss this machine when I return it to HP. This HP TouchSmart 9300 is worth putting on your consideration list for a new machine around the office.
Thanks for checking out my first post. Have any questions or comments? Leave them here at the big, find me on Twitter and be sure to keep reading Windows for your Business Blog.
One item to note here is that TouchSmart 9300 only supports two points of touch, which <a href="www.learnrosettastonenow.com/">Rosetta Stone</a> isn’t a large practical concern for many applications but could limit some custom application interactivity.
I see a lot of value in terms of employee productivity here and HP sees many businesses http://www.torosettastone.com/ purchasing these machines for kiosk-type usage, retail and collaboration/video-conferencing for smaller meeting rooms.
You had me until "While there’s a fairly thick bezel around the monitor, it looks (and feels) natural...."
I have a Dell touch monitor now and it too has a thick bezel. This will be bad for Windows 8 migration as much of the touch swipes there are on screen edges and the bezel will be an impediment.
Please work with your h/w partners to eliminate the bezels. Thanks!!