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First look: HP launches Touchsmart PC

Computer control at your fingertips

HP has just visited PC Advisor to show off its first desktop to integrate a touch screen, the Touchsmart PC. This combines the functionality of a desktop computer with a one-touch multimedia centre.

The flagship product, developed to work with Vista Home Premium, includes a Smart Centre button that boots up the computer in seconds, enabling you to use the touch screen feature to access your frequently used applications such as the radio, media player or organiser. This means there is no need to wait for your computer to boot up and then load your application.

The Touchsmart offers an impressive entertainment experience with its 19in widescreen monitor and integrated speakers. The screen can be easily rotated and as there is also a TV-Tuner included it makes sense that it can be adjusted upright to view as you would a normal television.

Applications can also be accessed by pulling out the wireless keyboard, using the remote control or the stylus that fits snugly into the side of the machine. If you have a Photosmart compact photo printer then printing out your snaps is also simple using HP Photosmart Touch. With a few taps of the screen you can select, enhance and print your photo in a similar way to the machines found in photo kiosks.

There is a strong family emphasis with the Touchsmart, as well as its entertainment capabilities. It is designed to be placed in any room of the house and perform multiple roles such as an organiser, entertainment centre whilst also including the normal capabilities and applications of a desktop. In addition to recording voice notes, written reminders can be scrawled using your finger tip or stylus. These post-it style notes can then be dragged to the Calendar, which is in sync with Outlook. The touch screen has been specifically designed to be durable. Featuring a protective film, it is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth if you do place it in the kitchen where it is likely to get splashed. There is no fear of anything dripping into the fans either, as they are housed at the back behind the screen.

The overall design of the computer is streamlined as the keyboard and mouse can all be tucked away neatly if you want to use the machine for watching movies. Clutter is reduced further as one cable is used to power the entire unit, which also makes set-up a doddle. One of the other great things about the machine is that it uses notebook processing chipsets. This means that it’s cool, quiet and also keeps power consumption down.

If you are looking for more than sleek looks, the Touchsmart also includes a built-in webcam and microphone that make it perfect for keeping in contact with friends and relatives using Skype or Messenger. It also offers a lot of connectivity options on the front and back of the device along with Bluetooth and wireless. Other features to boast of include an AMD Turion dual-core processor and support for the AMD Live entertainment platform.

Weighing over 10kg, the Touchsmart is certainly not something you will be able to carry around with you but there is a slot for an 80GB or 120GB HP Pocket Media Drive if you want the option to take any of your files with you. These will be available from April priced at £99.99 (80GB) and £129.99 (120GB). The Touchsmart also features a 320GB hard drive, which is more than enough room to store all your files.

The HP Touchsmart is available now priced at between £1,199 and £1,299 and has already received a great reception from the consumer market.


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