This computer has a touch screen , yes. But it is not a "Tablet PC" like the HP Pavilion tx2000 or a "UMPC" like the Samsung Q1 . This is not a laptop, but a desktop computer that combines a minimalist design with a large screen that we control, in part, with our fingers . The HP TouchSmart IQ500 is a somewhat futuristic vision of the home PC, intended as a multimedia center for the home.
A team that we have been able to test on tuexperto.com , and that has attracted the glances of regular and occasional visitors to our newsroom. Because the first thing that stands out about it, before even turning it on, is its design that integrates the monitor and all the internal components in one piece . Once we tinker with it, we discover its tactile possibilities . But let's take a closer look at it in this analysis.
Comfort and visual seduction
When one begins to unpack it, the worst is expected, due to the size of the box and the number of smaller boxes that come inside. But no, its installation is extremely simple : the monitor tower is connected by a cable to the power supply and this to the wall, we press the power button and it is ready to go, immediately recognizing the wireless mouse and keyboard, that connect to the computer via Bluetooth .
Because yes, despite being a desktop, the HP TouchSmart IQ500 brings integrated both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to our wireless network. Following the style of Apple's iMac , this PC is totally right with a design that not only provides style and eye-catching , but also makes it easy for us by placing everything we need in a single structure: stereo speakers integrated in the lower part , a DVD player-writer on the side, webcam on the frame and integrated microphone in the style of a laptop and the most basic connections in sight .
The latter are located on the sides: on the right, a FIreWire port and the card reader , just below the volume control ; on the left, two USB ports , microphone and headphone connections and a button with which we activate and vary the intensity of external lighting, which allows us to better see the keyboard in dark environments . Removing a cover from the back we find the rest of the connections, in case we need more USB ports or we want to connect the TV antenna, since the equipment has a dual card for analog TV and DTT .
The team is supported by its rear leg , whose inclination we can vary up to a maximum of almost 90 degrees to find the most comfortable viewing angle with its 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution screen . It is, therefore, a high definition screen , but not Full HD . The HP TouchSmart IQ800 , which raises the screen size to 25.5 inches, does meet this requirement, but it will not hit the market until December.
This is all very well, but surely what interests you the most is how the touch interface works . The first surprise we get is that the screen has tactile capabilities at any time, even on Windows Vista screens and menus . Of course, in this section we can do the basics : open files and programs with a double click, drag them from one side to another and use the usual buttons and icons as if our finger were the mouse pointer (close, minimize and maximize windows, move the scroll and zoom bars in the photos…). Nothing to combine fingers and movements like in the multi-touch screen of the iPhone . For example,If you place your finger on a point on the desktop background and drag it in any direction, you will create a selection field like when you grab several files with a single mouse movement.
In theory, the future Windows 7 will have multi-touch capabilities . But this simply touch computer works for the moment with Windows Vista, and to perform more complex actions with just our fingers we have to resort to a couple of special applications . The first is a window that allows us to display a virtual QWERTY keyboard on the screen and a handwriting recognition system .
The latter allows us to draw the letters both by moving the mouse and by sliding the finger on the screen . The application recognizes the strokes and converts them into characters, as we can see in the upper screenshot. Then we can insert the words into any program , such as the word processor (in this case Microsoft Works , which is something like "cheap Office").
But the most interesting application is the one that gives its name to this new family of computers. It's called HP TouchSmart and it acts as a skin over the operating system, with plenty of customization options. It is presented through two rows of icons , although HP calls them mosaics : an upper row with large icons, where we can place the programs and applications that we use the most, and a lower row with smaller icons corresponding to less used applications, such as Solitaire. and the classic Windows games .
By default, the large icons show access to applications such as the calendar and folders such as our photos and videos. We can move the icons from one bar to another by dragging them with our finger , and the same to move laterally between them. We can also add new icons, and therefore new shortcuts to RSS feeds, programs and web pages . Proof of this is the upper screenshot, where we have added a shortcut to your expert.com and the PowerPoint reader .
We can add any program installed on the hard drive , and to add web pages just write down its URL . For the image of each application, at first we can only choose from a small list. But it is enough to access the program or page that we have linked once so that the interface adds itself an associated image (in web pages, the cover is updated every time we start the interface). When we are on the web, the interface acts as a browser window , with the possibility of writing down new URLs in the address bar or adding them to favorites.
Of course, we have been left with a strange feeling when we see that, when browsing web pages, we cannot move by dragging our fingers on the page, but we must do it leaning on the frame, where bars appear formed by a succession of vertical arrows or horizontal. We have experienced the same bittersweet taste when opening the photos, as there is no possibility of sticking a pinch to zoom out or spread the fingers to zoom in . Instead, we are offered a simple editor to crop and rotate the image, among other possibilities.
We can only do multi-touch gestures while we are looking at the two rows of icons . And they are not a big deal either: we press with two fingers at the same time, leaving a good distance between them, and we bring them closer or apart to play with the zoom . It is strange that, if they have worried about enabling this option for the main screen of the interface, then we cannot do it when we access specific images.
Generally speaking, we expected considerably less from the behavior of the screen in the Windows menus, but much more from the special interface . But hey, it's a first try and less gives a stone Now, all this does not mean that we are facing a PC that can be handled like any other, and that presents other interesting features.
A good multimedia machine
With so much tactile curiosity we had almost forgotten to mention the purely technical aspects of this HP TouchSmart . Overall, if we think of it only as a PC, we are looking at a powerful machine, which comes with a 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of RAM memory to squeeze that 64-bit Windows Vista that comes pre-installed. The graphics is dominated by an NVIDIA GeForce GS HD card with 256MB of dedicated video memory .
These virtues are not noticed when starting the system , whose full launch is almost a minute ( shutdown requires about 20 seconds ). But they do get quite fluent when it comes to starting programs, opening documents, and performing all kinds of everyday tasks .
Of course, it is more intended as a multimedia center for the home, as a hybrid between PC and television with an Internet connection . In fact, watching videos on it offers a user experience similar to that of a medium-size thin TV , both in image quality and in sound. Its speakers provide enough power for the bedroom and living room , unless we live in the mansion of an aristocrat.
By connecting the home television antenna , the reception is quite correct , and we can change the channels with the remote control . The only notable trade-off, compared to a television, is the noise from the hard drive . You can see that they have tried to minimize it , but it is clearly perceptible when we see scenes in which silence predominates . Nothing that one cannot get used to, although some people are more sensitive than others in this matter.
Who wants this HP TouchSmart IQ500?
Someone who does not want to have the TV and the PC separately . Good to gain space in the living room or a little comfort in the bedroom . And undoubtedly, if this team could come to life, it would be throwing little pieces of paper at design lovers to attract their attention as they pass by. Although by remaining immobile he already manages to attract quite a few looks .
In addition to its excellent design , we really liked its concept as a team . Lately many televisions are seen that promise us the gold and the moor when it comes to connecting to the Internet. But they cannot access any content on the network of networks . And they often offer us a complicated interface to play the videos saved on home computers.
With this HP TouchSmart IQ500 it is as simple as starting Windows and opening the browser . Or access the shared folders of all the computers in our home network , both with and without cables thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi. These are the consequences of having a split personality: now I am a PC, now I am a television .
It can improve
As we have said before, its touch interface is not as refined as we would have liked . But with large touchscreens still in their infancy, it remains a curiosity that rounds off the whole. The biggest reproaches can be made, curiously, in two points of its graphic equipment, which are not sufficiently covered taking into account its price of 1,400 euros .
First of all, a more advanced graphics card would have been a good fit . With 22 - inch screen, we may need more video memory to see some movies with ease. On the other hand, we can understand that it has no way outHDMI , as it is designed as a self-sufficient screen, with a hard drive and DVD to store videos. But those who have a desktop Blu-ray would have appreciated an HDMI input , which would also allow, for example, to connect multimedia hard drives such as Myka or some Tvix models with greater agility than using the USB port .
|screen||22 ′ TFT LCD touch screen (1680 x 1050 pixels)|
|Weight and measurements||535 x 84 x 442 mm|
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 2.16 GHz|
|RAM||4 GB DDR2 667 MHz|
|HDD||500 GB SATA 7200 rpm|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit|
|Controls||HP TouchSmart touch interface|
HP TouchSmart interface direct home button
On / off button
Lower lighting control
Wireless keyboard and mouse supplied
|Connectivity||5 USB ports|
1 FireWire port
Memory card reader (SD, SDHC, MMC, MS, MS PRO, xD)
Stereo audio input
Headphone / speaker output
Telephone line output and Ethernet connection
Wireless: WiFi (802.11n) and Bluetooth (2.0 EDR)
Analog TV and DVB-T tuner card
|Graphic card||NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS HD with 256MB dedicated video memory (up to 2047MB shared with system)|
|Optical unit||Read and write CD and DVD|
Slot-load drag system
|Audio||Integrated stereo speakers and microphone|
|Webcam||VGA (640 x 480 pixels)|
Integrated in the frame
|+ info||Hewlett Packard|