HP TouchSmart 520: Family friendly All-In-One

HP officially released news of the TouchSmart 520, its updated redesign of the previous TouchSmart all-in-one devices, and a stylish attempt at providing a family-friendly machine primarily used for entertainment within the home. As the worlds leading producer of Windows using machines it would appear to be well placed to position itself as the main opposition to the iMac as the all-singin’, game-playin,’ youtube-blarin’ machine that’ll be just as loved by little Jimmy as it will his Mum and Dad. According to this wonderfully handy press release, 34% of consumer desktop purchases last July were all-in-ones, so they are also very much on-trend.  Hats off to Hp, then.

HP-all-in-One

As it’s not released in October we haven’t managed to get our hands on a copy or a review yet, so we cannot comment on performance, but from the pictures we’ve seen it is an attractive little thing, with the 21.7 x 58.05 x 45.74 cm  screen hinged onto a frame like an artist’s easel.  This allows the screen to tilt back, forwards and around for supreme ease of sharing when you’ve just got to show that video with the guys on the treadmill to your nearest and dearest across the dinner table.

Users will be able to access all regular Windows applications, as well as a raft of ones built especially for the touch experience.  In a rather nice touch, the machine also harnessed the divine power of the TouchSmart Magic Canvas with HP LinkUp, which means purchasers of the TouchSmart will be able to use programs from their musty old notebook machines on this super-speeded all-round sexier model.

In a sign that it is making a pitch for all those music-lovers that have got thoroughly bored with listening through tinny speakers the music they’ve lovingly trawled halfways across the web to find Hp will also be incorporating the Dr Dre sponsored Beats Audio software.  The technical wizardy at play with this invention is alien to a philistine such as yours truly, but we are assured that its sole purpose in life is to make music sound the way the artist intended which, as far as we’re concerned, is a pretty good thing.

With a dreadfully decent 500GB of storage, the 520 will also have space for you to store all your non Apple-affiliated tunes on, as well as all those videos in that file you keep well hidden for fear of familial reprisal and/or police investigation.  Priced at £599 it’s an affordable price, and it does come with a wireless keyboard so typing long e-mails and documents isn’t a complete faff/impossibility a la iPad.  Time will tell, but from where we’re sitting the TouchSmart looks like a pretty smart (sorry) choice.

HANNspree’s budget priced All-In-On PC

The last time I wrote abut Hannspree, all of two months ago, it was to talk about the launch of its bargain tablet PC, which came in at an astonishingly low £249 – nearly half the price of most of its rivals. We came to the conclusion that while it was a great attempt, and the Hannspad was a good option if you simply could not afford to pay any more, its outdated OS could prove a real frustration.

HANNspree-AIO

This time, Hannspree has revealed an all-in-one touch-screen PC for another bargain price – just £349.99.

The SN22A1 is being aimed particularly at the student market – where space can be at a premium in college dorms, for bedrooms and even in the kitchen, where it would probably sit in addition to, rather in place of, the household’s main PC.

It looks pretty good, with its glossy black design and super-slim styling, along with ergonomic tilt to ensure it can be positioned where it will offer most flexibility.

The PC features a 21.5in multi-touch LED touch-screen HD ready display, and it can also be used as a standalone monitor for viewing TV and images and video from other devices, thanks to the inclusion of both VGA and HDMI ports.

Under the bonnet, you’ll find an Intel® D510 1.66Ghz, Dual Core processor, 3GB DDRII memory and a 320GB SATA HDD. There is also a built-in DVD player, 4-in-1 card reader, 4 x USB 2.0 ports and Windows 7 Home Premium as standard. Connectivity wise, it has WLAN/LAN and Bluetooth capabilities but no Wi-Fi.

Unsurprisingly, this all-in-one is not going to compete against the high-end machines, and while it is fine for word processing and web browsing, if you’re a gamer, it’s not something you’ll be interested in. Having said that, if space is a real issue, it’s a decent product, but if you’d rather go for power over space saving, you’ll be able to buy a desktop with more grunt for the same sort of price.

The SN22A1 is available from www.eu-shop.hannspree.com.

Acer Aspire Z5761: A touching performance

Acer is bringing its latest all-in-one to a somewhat crowded market, with the likes of HP and Sony having recently released their own all-in-ones. But what just might make this one stand apart from the rest is Acer’s own TouchPortal interface (powered, by the way, by Sandy Bridge processors).

Acer-Aspire

The ‘Touch’ family of functions includes:

  • TouchBrowser: a touch-friendly web browser designed for searching, retrieving and presenting information from the Internet;
  • TouchCam: a handy touch controls to add fun video effects while chatting online, or do theme-style recording and share with friends on YouTube;
  • TouchMusic, which lets you browse, manage and play your favourite music;
  • TouchPhoto, which integrates photo management with photo sharing capabilities and is designed to interact with both local images and online albums, and
  • TouchVideo, which includes video management and sharing features. It allows you to enjoy Blu-ray or DVD movies and home videos, as well as browse and share your videos to YouTube.

Acer has also included its new media sharing system – called Clear.fi – which brings all your multimedia content into a single system with a common interface. Out of the box, it promises to identify all your Clear.fi-enabled devices on the home network and then allow any digital content stored on them to be shared seamlessly.

Acer has done its best to make this new computer look like a part of the decor, rather than a piece of gadgetry – its sharp lines combine aluminium with matt and glossy black surfaces, along with cool blue lighting to light up the keyboard. The keyboard can be slid under the PC when not in use, to help achieve that minimalist look. The silver stand has a window for organising cables.

Spec-wise, it features Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, making it powerful enough for editing multimedia files and playing fast-action games, a 23in Full HD 1080p display, an integrated 5W stereo speaker system and Dolby Home Theater v4.

There’s an optional Blue-Ray Disc optical drive and TV tuner, and connectivity wise it offers support for 802.11b/g/n, Gigabit LAN and optional built-in Bluetooth 2.1, as well as featuring an onboard microphone and high-def webcam.

Storage-wise, you’ll get up to 1.5TB plus up to 8GB of DDR3 memory and eight USB ports. Sounds like quite a lot for your money, with an expected retail price starting at £799.

More details from www.acer-euro.com

The Aspire Z5761 will be available in early May with prices starting from £799 inc Vat