We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
 
Budget PCs Reviews
15,103 Reviews

HP TouchSmart 300 review

£721.26 inc VAT

Manufacturer: HP

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

HP is no stranger to the all-in-one market, having churned out a number of multitouch-capable machines under the TouchSmart line. But the HP TouchSmart 300 occupies a somewhat peculiar niche.

HP is no stranger to the all-in-one market, having churned out a number of multitouch-capable machines under the TouchSmart line. But the HP TouchSmart 300 occupies a somewhat peculiar niche.

At 20 inches, it's a bit small to serve as your primary media centre, but the HP TouchSmart 300 costs more than similarly sized budget all-in-one PCs (20 inches or smaller). It also outperforms them all, scoring 98 on the WorldBench 6 test suite. This places the TouchSmart 300 well ahead of touch-enabled, budget-priced competitors suchh as the 20-inch MSI Wind Top AE2010 (60), and tantalisingly close to pricier rivals like the 24-inch Sony Vaio L117FX/B (105). It also scored slightly higher than its larger sibling, the 23-inch HP TouchSmart 600 (92).

The star of the show is HP's custom TouchSmart software. It offers full-screen, touch-friendly widgets for media playback, browsing, and manipulating photos, and for accessing popular web applications like Hulu, Pandora, and Twitter. But while the software is typically quite responsive, we found its performance on the HP TouchSmart 300 to be a bit sluggish (see our video review).

Our test configuration came equipped with a 2.8GHz Athlon II X2 240e processor, 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory for Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), and a 640GB hard drive. The display sports a maximum resolution of 1600 by 900, which is comfortable for using touch applications, and great for watching 720p HD content. Gaming fans, however, should look elsewhere. Its ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics delivers a paltry 18 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 3 (highest settings, 1024 by 768 resolution).

The HP TouchSmart 300 has analogue and digital audio jacks, five USB ports, a multicard reader, a DVD burner, a remote control, and an HDTV tuner. A gigabit ethernet port allows for easy connectivity, but using the included 802.11n wireless means you'll need to deal with the power cord only when you're moving the unit about. The stubby metal feet are also removable, and the unit can be mounted on a wall. Unfortunately, features missing from this model include HDMI and composite inputs for consoles, and the funky ambient lighting found on some other TouchSmart models that offered a distinct glow.

HP also throws in a wireless keyboard and mouse. The mouse is a bit plain, but offers up excellent connectivity across a respectable distance. The full-size keyboard (with number pad!) is slim, and fairly attractive. It actually might be a bit too slim: Our thumbs occasionally hit the keyboard's frame while tapping the space bar, which can be annoying, but is not exactly a deal-breaker. The built-in stereo speakers perform well enough, provided you aren't expecting much in the way of bass.

The HP TouchSmart 300's strengths and weaknesses place it in a rather confusing position. An ideal spot might be inside a dorm room or a kitchen (one widget's sole function is to gather and display recipes). But buying a touch-enabled, Web-connected media center to play slideshows and music while you cook might not strike everyone as the best use of funds. And at this price range, students are likely to opt for something they could tote to class.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

HP TouchSmart 300 Expert Verdict »
HP TouchSmart 300-1025uk Scores 8.8 out of 10 based on 5 reviews
Media centre all-in-one PC
Stereo speakers, display, camera, touchscreen
519x131x408mm
11kg
AMD Athlon II X3 400e triple-core
64-bit computing
4GB DDR3 SDRAM
SO DIMM 204-pin, Serial ATA 500MB 7200rpm hard drive
DVD±RW (±R DL)/DVD-RAM, 24x (CD)/ 8x(DVD), 24x (CD)/8x (DVD±R)/4x (DVD-R DL)/6x (DVD+R DL)
6 in 1 card reader: Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card
20in LCD display, 1600x900
ATI Radeon HD 3200 Shared Video Memory (UMA)
High Definition Audio
Mouse, keyboard
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

That being said, if you're in the market for a touch-friendly all-in-one and want something with a 20-inch screen size, you would do well to consider the HP TouchSmart 300. If you're up for spending a bit more, users less interested in touch might want to consider the capable and readily upgradable 21.5-inch Lenovo IdeaCentre A600.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • HP TouchSmart 600-1255qd review

    HP TouchSmart 600-1255qd

    The HP TouchSmart 600-1255qd is part of the latest update to the HP TouchSmart 600 all-in-one touchscreen PC range, also known as 'TouchSmart 600 Quad'.

  • HP TouchSmart 7320 review

    HP TouchSmart 7320

    The HP TouchSmart 7320 is functional, and performance is decent. But it fails to stand out.

  • HP TouchSmart 600 review

    HP TouchSmart 600

    The HP TouchSmart 600 PC is boosted by Windows 7's gesture support, but HP's custom multitouch software is even more impressive.

  • HP Envy 23 TouchSmart review

    HP Envy 23 TouchSmart

    This HP Envy 23 TouchSmart all-in-one desktop PC is a bit pricey at just over £1,000, but it's a relatively good-looking machine with a nice, sturdy build. Read our HP Envy 23 TouchSmart review.

  • HP TouchSmart 520 review

    HP TouchSmart 520

    The HP TouchSmart 520 is an excellent all-in-one PC with premium specs for less than £900.


IDG UK Sites

Amazon 3D smartphone release date, price and spec: The hologram phone?

IDG UK Sites

iPhone 5s review: why the iPhone 5s is still the best phone you can buy in 2014

IDG UK Sites

Passwords don't work: here's four ways to fix them

IDG UK Sites

The art of rebranding: Creative agency The Neighbourhood explains how & why it rebranded