It’s clear that HP sees the value in this category. The PC maker’s new TouchSmart is sleek, polished, and is the first all-in-one we’ve ever seen to feature a subwoofer-out jack. HP makes a subtle but valid point here: The truth about these systems is that, regardless of where we set them up—kitchen, living room, garage—we find ourselves frequently using them as music stations, so why not aim for higher audio fidelity? Conveniently, HP has also integrated Monster’s (and Dr. Dre’s) Beats environment, allowing the TouchSmart 610 to pump out impressive enough sound to make people do a double-take.
HP’s Touch Smart is fast, polished, and has a nice screen. It’s also the only system of the batch that tilts up and down.
Beats notwithstanding, HP also packs some beef into this system, with a 2.93GHz Core i7-870, a full-size 2GB ATI Radeon HD 5570, 8GB of DDR memory, a 1TB 7,200rpm drive, a Blu-ray player, Wi-Fi, a TV tuner, and two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. As far as CPUs go, the Core i7-870 is a little old, but the higher clock enabled it to blaze through our CPU-intensive tasks, beating out MSI’s AiW by 20 percent in most tests and almost 50 percent in our Photoshop benchmark. It’s not Sandy Bridge, but it’s speedy. And, given the use of discrete graphics, Sandy Bridge is not necessary.
Game performance was another story, however, as MSI’s 5730 Mobility Radeon part bested the 5570 by a few frames per second in Call of Duty 4. Again, you’re not going to wow your friends by turning up the detail on Shogun 2’s battle scenes, but you will be able to play through campaign mode without the CPU’s turns taking days.
We like the 24-inch screen on the TouchSmart 610. It’s not as nice as Sony’s, but is still satisfying. We absolutely love the vertical slider on the back of the system, which allowed us to easily recline the screen into multiple positions. It is also wall-mountable. One other nice touch is the new version of its TouchSmart OS layer, which optimizes media chores and other OS functions for touch. As if to underscore the gaming potential of the 610 (and possibly the entire all-in-one category?), HP includes a free touch-enabled copy of the real-time strategy game Ruse.
This excellent, professionally crafted system demonstrates that while we’re not quite in the position of being able to play power games on all-in-one systems, we’re getting close.