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HP TouchSmart PC

HP TouchSmart PC

Cool Yule Rating: 4.5 stars

Price: Starts at $1,499

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Description: Taking a page from the iPhone, HP has enabled touch-screen technology to provide a nice overlay to Windows Vista, creating an all-in-one desktop PC that may have families moving their computer from the office or a den into the living room or kitchen. With a focus on hands-on photo viewing, music, videos and handwritten "notes", the TouchSmart is the modern-day equivalent of the refrigerator door. Two sizes are available, either a 22- or 25.5-inch widescreen. Two models also include a TV tuner, letting you turn your PC into a home media center as well.

Specs include Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1 (64-bit version), Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (2.16GHz), 4GB of system memory, a 256MB NVIDA GeForce 9300M graphics card, a 500GB hard drive (7200 RPM SATA), 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth, a slot-loaded DVD optical drive, 5-in-1 memory card reader, two USB ports, a 1394 port, and Microsoft Works 9.0 software.

In using the device, I really liked the overlay that HP had put over Windows Vista, and wished that more was done to make me forget that this was still, essentially, a Windows PC. I tested this in an office, which probably wasn't the best setting -- I kept getting annoyed at having to use my fingers and kept going back to the mouse and keyboard. A side note -- the included wireless keyboard didn't connect for me, so I had to switch to a wired USB keyboard. Had I brought this home, I probably would have used the touch screen aspect of this more to do things like create notes and calendar items.

Still, I could see more families using this as a media center PC, although I'm not sure this would replace the TV as the main source of entertainment (maybe as a second TV / entertainment center in a smaller room).

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