The HP TouchSmart PCs (IQ504 and IQ506) are generating quite a buzz after they have been shown. We had the chance to play with one, and here are our first impressions.
First of all, this is an evolution of the TouchSmart IQ7xx that was only available in the U.S and the U.K. We played with it when we stopped by HP’s “home of the future” last year.
The screen is very sensitive and the computer will sense even a very light touch. The main interface doesn’t run on windows anymore, but it is easy enough to switch to Windows, if you want to use it as a regular computer. The touch interface home is agreeable to use, but at the moment, the multi-touch function isn’t implemented on all the sub-applications. This, I suppose, is only a matter of time (I suspect that the UI was first built to work with a mouse or a single finger). Overall, this is quite interesting, and we will anxiously be waiting for upcoming user-interface updates. There is a lot of untapped potential here. For example, in the photo viewer, one needs to switch to “slideshow” mode to see photos in full-screen – not so practical.
Design-wise, it has a better integrated design and added features like “ambient light” and of course, the larger display (22”), but lacks a video output (why?). The display can be at an angle going from 10 to 40 degrees, but I forgot to ask if it could be hung on a wall.
Conclusion: it’s cool, but the user-interface still needs some work.
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