Dell smart desk vs HP Sprout: the fight for the future of desktop PCs

Dell has unveiled its vision for the future of high-end desktop workstations.

The Dell smart desk is a similar concept to the HP Sprout, which was unveiled at the end of last month. Both offer an immersive desktop experience for designers, engineers and digital artists.

The Dell system uses a horizontal touchscreen LCD display, in front a of regular widescreen desktop monitor. The horizontal screen offers ten-finger touch recognition, allowing it to be used as a virtual keyboard or to manipulate on-screen objects by pinching, swiping and other familiar gestures.

Dell’s demonstration video also shows the user putting a hollow ring onto the touchscreen, which acts as a dial to finely adjust colours in an art application, whilst using a stylus in the other hand to brush the selected colour into an on-screen graphic.

The ring can also be used to scroll the orientation of Google Maps or scroll through various desktop screens. Dell’s video seems to show alternative desktops projected either side of the horizontal display, so that the user can swipe from one virtual desktop to another, in a similar vein to the multi-desktop system being introduced in Windows 10.

The system has clear similarities with the HP Sprout, although HP’s desktop projects the image onto a capacitive touch mat in front of the user, instead of using a second touchscreen LCD. The Sprout also has a 3D camera that’s able to scan in objects placed in front of it.

HP Sprout

More importantly, the Sprout is a finished product that’s ready to go on sale for $1,899 next week, whilst the Dell smart desk is nothing more than a concept at this stage, giving HP a tremendous head start.

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