HP TouchSmart 610 review

£1200
Price when reviewed

For all of the Asus ET2400XVT and Sony VAIO L21’s technological innovations – the former with 3D and the latter with gesture control – both of those systems still rely on somewhat unadventurous chassis designs. HP’s new TouchSmart 610, by contrast, has one of the most interesting all-in-one designs we’ve seen.

HP TouchSmart 610 review

For starters, it’s built around an iMac-style base rather than a slanting stand, which enables its tilting 23in screen to take centre stage: pull it forward and the display hunkers down towards the desk, angled upwards; push it back and it reverts back to the standard upright pose. This makes it easy to operate from a standing or sitting position – handy for when you’re either working or walking around the house.

HP has given its software suite a lick of paint since the last generation, too. Gone is the horizontal band of huge icons, to be replaced by a freeform front end with icons and widgets that can be moved and positioned freely. There’s a smaller carousel of all the PC’s apps running along the bottom, too, reminiscent of the Asus ET2400XVT.

The HP is far more pleasant to use, mainly because it’s smoother and more responsive. HP’s media tools are slick: albums and movies have their own carousels, and are joined by links to social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter alongside usual note-taking and painting tools and the software served up by Microsoft’s Touch Pack. A link to HP’s app store holds promise, but at the time of writing included only nine apps, the majority of which are children’s games.

HP TouchSmart 610

HP has also ensured that its TouchSmart 610 is reasonably fast, with Intel’s Core i5-650 processor running at 3.2GHz and delivering a benchmark score of 0.68 – one of the best results we’ve seen from an all-in-one and not far behind the 0.74 of the Sony, which was powered by a mobile Sandy Bridge chip.

Gaming performance is less stellar – the ATI Radeon HD 5570 is a modest, low-end part – and the TouchSmart’s score of 38fps in our Medium-quality Crysis test is the limit of its powers. Media files are handled with aplomb, though, and the rest of the specification is good: a 1.5TB hard disk provides a huge amount of storage, and there’s Blu-ray alongside 6GB of RAM – two gigabtyes more than the Sony offered. There’s a Hybrid DVB-T TV tuner, too, alongside a pair of USB 3 ports.

The screen is an inch smaller than the Sony’s, but still has a 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution along with sharp detail and accurate colours, with its whites brighter and blacks darker than all its rivals bar the VAIO. One minor quibble is that it appears slightly cold compared to the Sony, but it’s better than the oversaturated Asus.

The final feather in the HP’s cap is its Dr. Dre-branded Beats speakers, which are as good as anything we’ve heard on an all-in-one. They’re very loud, have plenty of punchy bass and rich, accurate audio reproduction across the rest of the range.

HP’s TouchSmart 610 has few weaknesses. Its innovative design is paired with plenty of power, a fine screen and top-quality speakers. The extra inch of screen space and better software mean the Sony is still our favourite, but the HP still wins an award – and is a fine alternative if the VAIO doesn’t appeal.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,500GB
RAM capacity6.00GB
Screen size23.0in

Processor

CPU familyIntel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency3.20GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 1156

Motherboard

Motherboard chipsetIntel P55
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total0
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3

Graphics card

Graphics cardATI Radeon HD 5570
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 5570
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskWestern Digital Caviar Green
Capacity1.50TB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Cache size64MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A

Drives

Optical driveLG CA21N
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs0
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker type2 x 5W
PeripheralsMedia Center remote control

Case

Case formatAll-in-one

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)4
PS/2 mouse portno
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Modemno
3.5mm audio jacks4

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readeryes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardHP wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partiion

Noise and power

Idle power consumption67W
Peak power consumption145W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings91fps
3D performance settingLow

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