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September 8, 2008

Get in Touch with your PC Experience with the HP TouchSmart PC

A few weeks ago, John Obeto published a very extensive review of HP’s 2nd generation TouchSmart PC. The new HP TouchSmart PCs are a follow-up to the 1st generation HP TouchSmart PCs which were released in January of 2007. The 1st generation HP TouchSmart PC was one of the first consumer PCs that took advantage of features in Windows Vista such as Windows Media Center. John’s review goes from unboxing and OOBE (Out-Of-Box-Experience) to several testing scenarios. While the HP TouchSmart PC is a consumer PC – John also discusses the “unintended” use of the HP TouchSmart PC for the Small Business.


On my recent visit to Disneyland to see the Innoventions Dream Home, I was able to play around with the new 2nd generation HP TouchSmart PC courtesy of HP. At the Innoventions Dream Home, today there is a mixture of 1st generation and 2nd generation HP TouchSmart PCs. HP hopes to replace all the 1st generation HP TouchSmart PCs with the new 2nd generation TouchSmart PCs at the Innoventions Dream Home in the coming months.

So what is the HP TouchSmart PC exactly? It is an all-in-one PC with a 22 inch widescreen display that has built in touch capabilities. That means you can essentially touch the screen and utilize applications that take advantage of the built in touch features.  HP ships a suite of TouchSmart applications that take advantage of touch but more about this in just a bit. 

The HP TouchSmart PC

The HP TouchSmart PC Backside of the HP TouchSmart PC

The new HP TouchSmart PC ships with the following specs (complete list of details specs are listed here in this PDF):

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5850 (2.16GHz)
Chipset: Intel GM965 Express Chipset
Memory: 4GB DDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive: 500GB 7200RPM SATA
Optical Drive: Slot-load SuperMulti DVD Burner
Video Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9300 M GS HD with 256MB Dedicated Video Memory
Network: 10/100/1000 BaseT network interface
Wireless Connectivity: Integrated Bluetooth / Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) with built-in WLAN antenna
Audio: Integrated High Definition Audio with High-performance 2.0 Speakers
TV Tuner: Dual-format NTSC or over-the-air ATSC High-Definition TV Tuner
Remote Control: HP Media Center Remote control with IR (infrared) Receiver
External Memory Port:  5-in-1 memory card reader

You’ll notice the system ships with 4GB of RAM. Because of this – the HP TouchSmart PC also ships with Windows Vista Home Premium x64 to take advantage of the full amount of memory. The HP TouchSmart PC also ships with Windows Vista SP1 installed as well.

There are 2 models of the HP TouchSmart PC today: the IQ504t and IQ506t. The biggest difference between the two models is that the IQ506t is the model that ships with the TV Tuner built in.

Ports on the HP TouchSmart PC

The design of the 2nd generation HP TouchSmart PC is quite a bit different than the 1st generation. The main PC is a much sleeker design. HP describes the design as a “sleek piano black design with elegant espresso side-panel highlights”. The unit also comes with a HP Ambient Light that allows users to see their keyboard in the dark. The keyboard is also conveniently able to be tucked under the unit when needed as well which is nice especially if you would like more room.

While the design of this all-in-one PC is impressive, equally impressive is the HP TouchSmart Suite that ships with it. The TouchSmart Suite consists of the following applications:

  • HP TouchSmart Music
  • HP TouchSmart Video
  • HP TouchSmart Photo
  • HP TouchSmart RSS Feeds
  • HP TouchSmart Browser
  • HP TouchSmart Calendar
  • HP TouchSmart Notes

These applications take full advantage of the touch capabilities of the HP TouchSmart PC. Navigate through your RSS feeds with the touch of a finger. Go through your calendars by simply touching the screen. Play music, view photos, watch videos – all by touching the screen. In using these applications you can see that HP has invested a great deal in touch capabilities for this PC – which is very exciting. In my own experience trying these applications out myself – I found everything responds elegantly to the move of my finger on the screen. No lag, not hiccups what so ever. It was certainly a “wow” moment for me. If this PC was sitting in your kitchen or living room, to use it all you would need to do is walk up to it and touch the screen – no keyboard necessary.

Side-note: I’d like to note because this PC ships with Windows Vista Home Premium x64 – the TouchSmart Suite of applications work fully under 64-bit.

HP has invested quite a bit in touch technology for the PC. The HP TouchSmart PC is a culmination of 25 years of HP touch technology design and development. HP first brought a PC with touch technology to the market in 1983 with the introduction of the HP 150 PC.

For more details on the HP TouchSmart PC – check out HP’s TouchSmart Website at There you can view a demo of the HP TouchSmart PC’s impressive capabilities. You may have also seen their ad on TV as well. If you want to check out the HP TouchSmart PC out yourself in person – the HP TouchSmart PCs can be seen in a variety of stores such as Best Buy, Fry’s, and Circuit City. You can also see them, as mentioned above, at the Innoventions Dream Home at Disneyland.