UPDATE 9/9: I expect to get my hands on a TouchSmart 520 soon, but I want to answer -your- questions about it. So, in the comment box, tell me what you'd like me to test (and no, I will not do a sledge-hammer stress test on this guy). Within reason, I will try to do it.
I showed up at the office recently and was greeted by a small army of brand new all-in-one PCs – all getting announced today (OK, seven if you want to get technical about it). The one that stood out to me from the pack: The TouchSmart 520. Since it’s my “favorite” I’m going to focus more of my blog love on it. And yes, I’ll also give you the inside line on some of the other all-in-one desktops coming out as well. Just bear with me.
Since we launched the TouchSmart 610 earlier in 2011, I’ve played with it a bunch. I love that reclining easel design and the glossy lines. Still, some people might not like to slide the unit down-and-into the table while tilting. By comparison, the new 520 feels a little more mod (and metal). That’s thanks to the silvery-colored base and aluminum support struts that keep everything upright. It may not be able to do that 60-degree recline like the 610, but it kicks back a good 30 degrees so that the 520’s 23-inch touch screen is comfortable to use right up in your grill or if you’re standing near it.
For more on the outside look and feel, check out this slicked-up marketing video tour around the chassis. (It’s loaded with floating words such as, “Unique” and “Easy” – you know, like me!)
What lies under the hood? I’m glad you asked…
CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 RAM: 4GB Standard (6GB upgrade) Hard Drive: 750GB (1TB upgrade) Graphics: Intel UMA Integrated graphics (My advice: Upgrade this to a discrete card!) Video: 23-inch panel that supports 1920 by 1080-pixel resolution Audio: Beats with a discrete subwoofer out to work with the new 60-watt HP Pulse subwoofer.
And, I just wanted to throw this out there: I appreciate the fact that there are two USB 3.0 ports riding shotgun along the left side of the PC and an HDMI input.
Among the other highlights, you’ve got some stuff that we’ve gone over before in the wonderful world of TouchSmartiness:
Beats Audio built in. We’ve talked about that before (and I probably will again), but the short version is that it kicks bass. And with the Pulse subwoofer – which I get to in a separate story – adds a little extra “oompf” to your computer’s sound system.
LinkUp Technology. Built-in software makes it pretty easy to control any other Windows (XP, Vista, 7) computer in the house.
TouchSmart software and apps, ready-to-go. I recently wrote about some cool artsy apps that you can take advantage of on a TouchSmart, but of course you also get the latest build of the TouchSmart software suite. Rather than have me yammer about it, I actually have a video clip here that goes into more detail about what’s in store with TouchSmart 5.0 software.
You get a pretty good loadout here considering it starts at $899 for this stylish all-in-one and the slightly smaller TouchSmart 420 starts at $699 (both start shipping soon). Meanwhile if you want a TouchSmart experience while saving a few bucks, the 20-inch 320 hits in the beginning of October starting at $599. While I wasn’t able to grab one and throw my testing gauntlet at it (YET!), come on back. Ann promised me a reviewable unit that I’ll be able to mess around with. Don’t worry, I plan to tell you what’s on my mind when a machine does finally get to my desk.
No Touching Maybe you don’t need to reach out and touch the screen – but you still want a tiny machine that won’t take up too much desktop real estate at home. That’s where the Omni 220 ($799) and Omni 120 ($399) come in. Both offer a lot of the same style points as the TouchSmarts – and some useful features (LinkUp software is standard and Beats audio on the 220).
A Head's Up for All-in-One PC Use! All right, so I painted you a pretty picture of what you’re getting here. I wanted to take the opportunity here to share with you some of the other things to keep in mind when you’re considering getting this – or, quite frankly, any all-in-one PC. Because of the way these things are designed, you’re hard-pressed to be able to upgrade them after the fact. Basically, when you’re speccing out all-in-one PCs, think of the future. My humble advice – which you can take or leave – is to upgrade the RAM and consider a beefy hard drive from the get-go. The only exception to this rule I can think of right now is the new HP Compaq Elite 8200. This All-in-One PC, geared toward the small biz crowd, actually lets you pop off the back and replace the hard drive, the optical drive bay…and upgrade the RAM. Check out a quick video of how easy this is!
If you want to learn more about this upgradable guy, head over to 367AddisonAvenue.com where they will have breakdowns on it as well as the 3420 and the business-minded TouchSmart Elite 7320.
If you have questions, comments, observations or things that you’d like to see / learn more about, I’m here for you – so ask away!
Darren Gladstone (@Gizmogladstone) is a former journalist, now TNB's Blogger-in-Chief. He geeks out over games, gadgets and hot laptops.