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Touching the future of compact computing

A few months ago, HP announced its revised consumer desktop PC concept: the TouchSmart PC.

Based around an all-in-one screen like the latest iMac, it also borrows heavily from Apple’s multitouch ideas to allow for simple, intuitive control through a touchscreen graphical interface.

It’s not the first touchscreen computer the company has made – that title goes to the HP 150, made way back in 1983. The processing power and materials lagged behind the dream then, but a quarter of a century later we have the technology to bring the vision to life.

As the home computer becomes a commodity and non-techy users seek convenience over performance, this is an important step towards making the PC more accessible for everyone. We had the chance to try out one of these PCs and, while the TouchSmart interface isn’t suited to every day-to-day task we’ve come to rely upon the home PC for, it’s now getting that bit closer.

Staying with HP, we finally managed to get hold of a Mini-Note 2133 for review. And we can see why HP has been reluctant to provide samples to the press since its compact laptop launched a few months ago. Yes, it’s underpowered, and yes, it needs some crucial ergonomics addressing. You can read our verdict here, but suffice to say, there's a potentially great laptop here, waiting for some considered refits to bring out its best.

In the meantime, some incredible mini laptops are available at attractive prices. The Eee PC may have started the vogue, but we found four serious pretenders to its throne for our October issue round-up.. And how do the best mini laptops stack up against cheap-and-cheerful full-size notebooks, working with the same £400 budget?

The October issue of PC Advisor is on sale now.

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