HP has joined the touch bandwagon by releasing a PC that has a touch-sensitive screen, allowing you to use your fingers to scroll through menus and files. But despite looking good on paper, and on TV commercials aired on primetime, the TouchSmart failed to impress us.

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Sure, the TouchSmart software is easy to use and can give you a ‘hands-on’ experience while taking a look at photos and videos. But when it came to using the touch screen on Windows Vista, we were plagued with small icons that were hard to press and unresponsive icons that needed to be tapped over and over.

Fortunately, HP has included a wireless keyboard and mouse with the package, making it easier for consumers to use the IQ508a for Windows-based programs.

The unit sports a piano black finish and is on the heavy side as all of its major components are installed behind the touchscreen. Up front, users can find a 22-inch screen, built-in speakers, webcamera, and a ‘Home’ key that automatically launches the TouchSmart function.


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The left spine hosts the ‘Ambient Light’ button that casts a cool white glow from the base of the computer, two USB ports, an audio line-in, and a headphone jack, while the unit’s power button, volume and mute controls, memory card reader, FireWire (IEEE 1394) port, and slot-loading CD/DVD drive can be found on the opposite side.

Removing the connector cover at the back of the IQ508 reveals three additional USB ports, plus Ethernet and digital audio ports (SPDIF out), an audio line-out, TV-in, S-Video in, Stereo Audio in, and an IR Emitter. The unit’s computer stand, security lock slot, power connector, wireless mouse and keyboard receiver, and cable clip are also located at the back of the unit.

The HP TouchSmart uses an Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 processor running at 2.16GHz, an Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics card (256MB), 4GB of RAM, and 500GB of storage space. This means that the unit can handle games, video editing, or a TV show recording with minimal slowdowns.

HP uses a Window’s Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition and comes pre-installed with HP’s Total Care Advisor and Update, Cyberlink’s YouCam, Muvee’s autoProducer, Norton’s Internet Security (Trial), as well as various Help and Tools software.


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HP’s TouchSmart software is also included and is the major highlight of the PC. This software allows users to listen to their music, play stored videos, check the weather, write post-it notes, play games (like Spider Solitaire, Chess Titans, and Mahjong), and surf the Internet. The interface is divided into two major sections, with the one on top displaying live content. The touch-sensitive screen worked well for the main icons, but unfortunately we had some issues pressing (and dragging) the smaller icons on the screen.

Since the unit comes with a built-in TV tuner, users can record TV shows directly to the hard drive and watch TV shows when they want to. It also comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, allowing users to stream/retrieve content from their existing home network.

While the HP TouchSmart IQ508a offers a lot to consumers, it still needs a couple of firmware updates to provide the best touch experience possible. The HP TouchSmart IQ508a is now available but is exclusively sold at Harvey Normalns with an RRP of $2,499. If that price is too steep, users can opt to purchase the IQ505a that has downgraded specifications and a missing TV tuner for $1,999.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.


HP TouchSmart IQ508a Product Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5850 2.16GHz
  • Memory: 4096MB DDR2
  • Audio: Integrated Intel High Definition Audio, 5.1 Surround Sound Ready
  • Hard Drive: 500GB
  • Optical Drive: Slot-load SuperMulti DVD Burner
  • Video Card: nVidia Geforce 9300M-GS (256MB)
  • TV Tuner: Single PAL TV Tuner with Personal Video Recorder Functionality
  • Wireless: Wireless 802.11 b/g/n
  • Remote Control: HP Media Center Remote Control
  • Memory Card reader: 5-in-1 Digital Media Reader supporting: MMC (MultiMediaCard), SD (Secure Digital), SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), MS (Memory Stick), MS PRO (Memory Stick Pro)
  • Keyboard and Mouse: HP Slim Multimedia Cordless keyboard (2.4GHz) and HP Cordless mouse
  • Dimensions: 93 x 535 x 442 mm
  • Weight: 10.7kg

HP TouchSmart IQ508a | $2,499 |  | www.hp.com.au

For: Noteworthy specifications; Touch sensitive screen and TouchSmart interface; Large screen; Wireless mouse and keyboard
Against: Small icons are hard to press; Occational hiccups with TouchSmart program; Unit is big and clunky
Conclusion: Touch interface is here with HP’s all-in-one PC.

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