The All-In-One device (or AIO) is not a new idea. This form factor has been tried before by both the PC and Apple camps. The history of the design concept is mixed. There have been a few that enjoyed some success but most where passed-by due to a lack of connection to the utility of the concept. In simple terms: “Why bother? What if I want to add an expansion card?”
However, now there is a new element, the sense of touch. Touch interfaces, and in this case, Multi-touch interfacing, is a big issue and the single defining characteristic of this new PC that makes a viable alternative in the desktop market. With all those smartphone “smarties” swiping and grabbing at the screens of their mobile devices, it is finally time for the desk-bound to have a little fun, don’t you think? So is the HO 600 worth it?
The Touch Interface
Touch is a new feature in many PC monitors. Ever since Microsoft Surface was demoed, it has been the dream of many to whip through photo editing with both hands in true Minority Report style. This unit from HP kills it. By any set of standards, the software is the “thing” in the case of a Multi-Touch desktop experience and HP has done a bang-up job. The ordinary experience of swooping and pinching your way through Windows 7 might just do it for you. It is so much faster and it just feels more natural. Once you discover that HP has included a host of Multi-Touch optimized applications, you will see that some of them are downright fun to play with.
Fully Functioning… Everything
First things first, this is a fully functional TV/DVR with a 23 inch screen. Finger painting your way through the TVLand is a unique experience. Photo editing is Da Bomb. Be warned however, HP designed the Multi-Touch optimized applications to run concurrently. This means that if you run one, you are running them all. This is only a problem if you are using the DVR as that tends to drag on the system down a bit.
As for the hardware involved, the unit is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13GHz with 4GB DDR3 RAM. There is a slot-load Blu-ray player/DVD burner for your movie needs. The NVIDIA GeForce GT230M with 1GB dedicated RAM, while sounding impressive, might just be a little weak with the demands of the 23-inch 1080P multi-touch display. As for the rest of it, there are a bunch of inputs, including 6 USB ports, a card reader, a coaxial input, S-Video, HDMI, audio and composite. Generally a good, well equipped machine.
Ok, so imagine that you are sitting in front of this 23 inch diagonal screen and doing the Minority Report thing. Photos are squeezing up and flying off and your favorite TV show in the background. Suddenly you see the coolest thing in the world and your fingers fly to Twitter, touch-n-go fun. That is almost worth the price of admission. The future of this form of PC is assured. Touch is the future of the User Input. With Google buying BumpTop and HP’s recent purchase of Palm (not just for their WebOS, really!), you can expect to see much more of this from all manufacturers in due time.
There are already a number of them coming out such as the Lenovo IdeaCentre 600 and several others. For now, the HP seems the best of breed but that won’t hold for long. The nice thing is that making this buy now could get you upgraded to the coveted WebOS soon and that would be worth the price. Oh. Price? About $1400.00 depending on options and where you buy.
HP USA: HP TouchSmart 600