OhGizmo! Review and Giveaway – The HP Touchsmart 600-1055 Part 2… And 3

HP-TouchSmart600-angle-big-500x486

By David Ponce

It’s time to conclude our review of the HP Touchsmart 600-1055 and to bring our giveaway to a close. For those of you who didn’t follow, the previous article is here. We decided to combine parts 2 and 3 into one, simply because the initial article contained all the info you needed on the machine’s hardware, leaving us with only with the Touchsmart Suite of applications to review. If you’ll recall, we’re trying to determine if this all-in-one can serve as an entertainment hub and replace your TV, your DVD/Blu-Ray player and your CD/Stereo.

So, keep reading to find out in some detail just how it does. The early verdict? Works as advertised, but nagging software inconsistencies mar an otherwise excellent product.

Part 2
So how does this machine do as a DVD/Blu-Ray player? Turns out this is a fairly straightforward question and is simple to answer. Very well! The screen is large-ish (at 23 inches) and sporting a full 1080p resolution, the Blu-Ray image is sharp and appealing. The integrated player has several controls specifically designed for touch use, such as oversized volume buttons. Overall this part of the machine works as expected and the touch interface is used in an intuitive and logical manner, providing a value add for the user.

huluscreen

However, we thought about using the included Hulu app. Well, it looks quite good and it’s clear an effort has been made to make it touch friendly. Elements are arranged logically and easily accessible, everything is large and easily touchable… But it’s the scrolling through long lists that becomes somewhat tedious. Rather than use the more intuitive flick to scroll up or down, HP opted for a “Page Up, Page Down” approach, requiring you to touch an element above or below whatever show, or channel is currently selected and scroll entire chunks at once. After a while, it becomes almost tempting to use the mouse’s scrollwheel. This is of course not a huge issue, as everything is functional and perhaps comes down to personal preferences created from using an iPhone for too long. That being said, while Apple might not have pioneered touch interfaces, they did make help make them more mainstream and some of their design dynamics are slowly becoming ubiquitous. Why HP went a different route is beyond us and ultimately not that important.

The point being that the Touchsmart 600 performs really well as a Bluray player and the included Hulu application will be appreciated by its customers, design intricacies notwithstanding.

Part 3
musicscreen

It turns out that the Touchsmart 600 comes with some really good speakers. Of course, they’re small, so we’re not talking about earth shaking bass. But they deliver clear sound and more importantly, are distortion free even at higher volumes. This allows you to fill a room with sound without getting a feeling of loudness.

rhapsodyscreen

The included Rhapsody and Pandora applications of course expand on the good speakers and allow you to use the PC as an elegant music station. The fact that these applications are created for a touch interface makes them fun to use. Creating a playlist is as easy as literally dragging and dropping a track with the tip of a finger. And… surprise, surprise… flick scrolling is present! It’s not very smooth, but it’s there and does add somewhat to our enjoyment of the applications.

Conclusion
HP asked us to determine if the Touchsmart 600-1055 could be used as an entertainment hub. Our response is a qualified “yes”. Here’s what we mean. The Touchsmart 600 is perfect for a broad range of people, from the space-starved college student, to the family that wants something to congregate around in the dining room. It’s great for mainstream users. They will get a competent, solid piece of kit with an entire suite of software designed to make the most out of the touch interface. Slight and intermittent sluggish performance as well as confusing design inconsistencies in the software mar an otherwise flawless performance, but aren’t serious enough to tarnish what is in effect a good product.

However, the Touchsmart 600 isn’t so much for another kind of PC users: the media-center builder, or the gamers or just simply the more advanced and tech savvy individuals. The lack of certain outputs and inputs (no HDMI out, no component in) limits this PC’s ability to be used outside of what HP intended. The sealed form factor makes upgrading or replacing components daunting if not impossible. This is simply not that kind of PC.

So… to clearly answer HP’s question: this is an entertainment hub with solid computing abilities, albeit one with a fairly closed design, limiting its ability to be anything more than that.

PROS
+ Nicely designed software that takes advantage of the touchscreen
+ Integrated music and video applications designed for touch
+ Good quality speakers that complement the viewing and listening experience

CONS
– Small design inconsistencies
– Occasional sluggishness

The Giveaway
As you may know, HP is giving away one of these all-in-ones to a lucky reader. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and we’ll select a winner by Thursday, 11:59 EST. US and Canada only, enter once… or we’ll give you nightmares.

137 thoughts on “OhGizmo! Review and Giveaway – The HP Touchsmart 600-1055 Part 2… And 3”

  1. I have to admit after reading your review I am more sold on the touch Idea than before. As far as an entertainment hub it has a larger screen than my bedroom tv and I dont currently own a blueray player at all, That is another + for me. Thank OhGizmo and hp for a great giveaway. Part 2 & 3 have been a long time waiting and anticipating!

  2. Could you do a similar review of the sony L series? I'm trying to decide between the two, or just select my entry as the winner and my decision is made:-)

  3. Like everyone else, I can use a new computer. These things age faster than I do (do they age like dogs, 7 people years for evey computer year?).

  4. Wow…this could revolutionize home entertainment as we know it. I would certainly put this tech through the paces myself. If I had one of my very own that is. Sweet review as well!

  5. I like built in apps they look so much better than navigating to the websites. There is a Dev community for the HP Touchsmart series, there is a youtube app already. Looking forward to seeing what apps come out in the future like Amazon VOD, Vudu, CBS, NBC, etc.. πŸ™‚

    Also I did a little more research into the apps and PlayOn has a all these apps plus many more. They have a a couple different plugins that allow you to use PlayOn through windows media center. Since the hp Touchsmart can utilize windows media center this might be a very cool option.

  6. Before reading about it here, I never knew something like this actually existed.

    It looks great and actually looks like something that can be used.

  7. I use a graphic tablet and a PenAbled touch-screen notebook for editing photos. I have my doubts on how useful the Touchsmart would be, at least in my case. Nonetheless, I would be willing to try one out …

  8. Man, this is absolutely sweet. And a great review, by the way. I can just see my grandkids clamouring to be the first to use it. I sure hope I win.

  9. Yeah, definitely the space-starved college student. Would be great to have a capable entertainment device (I don't need no fancy HDMI out, with my college student lack of fundage anyway.) And now, back to preparing for finals tomorrow, and writing papers. WOO!

  10. I agree with your article fully. It has come a long way since the IQ series. The touch screen is way more responsive and the software was actually written with windows 7 engineers.
    Great product

  11. That's a pretty slick looking computer. It sounds like HP really put some effort into this. I've seen the touch interface in action and it is pretty nice.

  12. Once again, a solid review! Did you ask HP about any planned software upgrades or alternative applications that are available for it?

    On-the-other-hand, not only do I want one, but I will be doing the mind chant of “Mine! Mine! Give it to me!”

  13. It surprises me the lack of the HDMI out, since it is basically created for this kind of entertainment, anyways, I really hope I can win it, other way I would buy it, the little problem is the money…

  14. I’d be interested if I could anticipate a steady stream of touchscreen compatible apps from HP or 3rd party developers that I could download. But I haven’t seen much new in the 6 months since this model was rolled out. Disappointing.

  15. So just to double check, this uses a software blu-ray player (as opposed to taking over the monitor and playing directly from hardware, bypassing the operating system)? Basically what I want to know is if I can play blu-ray discs in one window while still doing other stuff in other windows.

  16. Got rid of cable last year and my family and I would love this. Just caught the 3yro. drawing on the old LCD screen this morning! Love your website!

  17. all of my laptops, computers, and server are HP. good product, dependable, and excellent customer service… have a touchsmart as well. and it was the best purchase ive ever made.

  18. I am an HP devotee on my second HP laptop. . . Why only the second one? Because the first one lasted so long, I didn’t need to get another one until this past fall! So why would I like this HP TouchSmart desktop? Because 1) I like the larger screen and economy of design; 2) I am a SmartBoard user who uses and likes touchscreens; 3) I like flexibility of this desktop; and 4) I would like to share this desktop with my senior citizen mother who would be able to grow technologically via touchscreen technology!

  19. I'm dependent on a dell laptop from 5 years ago, please free me from this hell. Yes I admit my mistake. Oh, ohgizmo god, have mercy on me.

  20. Oooh count me in! I have always wanted a Toouchsmart PC, I have never had enough money to buy a new one, and I always have to share my current one. I really think that it looks slick, and a touch computer would be perfect for me. I spend my time watching movies and playing games… and creating some

  21. I would love to use this in our small space. . . I wonder why there is no hdmi out or component in? I will have to use something else for a gaming system. odd

  22. Nice machine, but in the 6 months since its rollout I would have expected to see more touchscreen apps available from HP or anyone for Touchsmart buyers. Maybe they're out there and I just don't know about them, but HP could do a better job leveraging their head start with the technology.

  23. I am a design engineer and this would go so nicely on my desk. I have never won anything in a contest before… lets see if this breaks the streak!

  24. Awesome for kitchen/ breakfast bar. Beats trying to watch the news on my phone in the morning. Also, looks great for recipes while cooking.

  25. I Still feel disciminated because you won't give it to me since I leave in Germany. So if my comment 's getting selected now I bite my shiny metal ass off!

  26. OhGizmo:
    Thank you for letting me responds. Yes there are a few flaws in this neat PC. Well all the manufactures make them. The most impressive thing I like about it is what in your report, you reminded me of. Regardless of a few flaws, putting in your dining room or somewhere where the family can sit down and enjoy it together is one of the best things in our society today. We all have our pc in our own space and we leave the rest of the family alone. We try but do we ever sit down and have a meal with our family at the end of the day and find out what are kids are doing? Probably not. I remember playing Monopoly for hours with my dad and mom.

    Well this might just be the item to bring that family back together. Not just something that gets played on by everyone but a family thing. Do homework together, mom and dad do the bills, family surfs the internet together, and dad explains the right and bad about what to do and where to go. And yes entertainment, this baby got it all. Maybe, just maybe HP'S got something to get our family system back together where it all started. I remember 4 TV stations, family time and do not be late for dinner. Well that’s out the door today, Well thanks to HP their might be a chance. Take this machine and make it a family thing. Do not use it for daily stuff but as family stuff. And yes its fun, more fun than anything else. Get the kids using the internet in front of you so you know what they are doing? Have them respect the right that we have given them, our founders of the internet (AL Gore :))
    Anyway, I have bought allot from HP. I purchased more HP pc’S, printers, handhelds ECT that most people or families combined. I love and have some products so but they have the best; anyway, I think a family would love this mega machine, as for me I would book it.
    Well HP I just written your marketing plan for this real nice product. Good luck with sales. BW

  27. OhGizmo:
    Thank you for letting me responds. Yes there are a few flaws in this neat PC. Well all the manufactures make them. The most impressive thing I like about it is what in your report, you reminded me of. Regardless of a few flaws, putting in your dining room or somewhere where the family can sit down and enjoy it together is one of the best things in our society today. We all have our pc in our own space and we leave the rest of the family alone. We try but do we ever sit down and have a meal with our family at the end of the day and find out what are kids are doing? Probably not. I remember playing Monopoly for hours with my dad and mom.

    Well this might just be the item to bring that family back together. Not just something that gets played on by everyone but a family thing. Do homework together, mom and dad do the bills, family surfs the internet together, and dad explains the right and bad about what to do and where to go. And yes entertainment, this baby got it all. Maybe, just maybe HP'S got something to get our family system back together where it all started. I remember 4 TV stations, family time and do not be late for dinner. Well that’s out the door today, Well thanks to HP their might be a chance. Take this machine and make it a family thing. Do not use it for daily stuff but as family stuff. And yes its fun, more fun than anything else. Get the kids using the internet in front of you so you know what they are doing? Have them respect the right that we have given them, our founders of the internet (AL Gore :))
    Anyway, I have bought allot from HP. I purchased more HP pc’S, printers, handhelds ECT that most people or families combined. I love and have some products so but they have the best; anyway, I think a family would love this mega machine, as for me I would book it.
    Well HP I just written your marketing plan for this real nice product. Good luck with sales. BW

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