Shiny Video Preview: HP TouchSmart IQ800

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Yesterday I got a hands-on preview of the latest TouchSmart model from HP, following the IQ500 earlier this year. It’s huge and lovely, but a little bit limited in terms of software. Watch the video above. That means there’s now two TouchSmart models available – the whopping 25.5″ beast in the video, and a smaller 22″ panel. Both are all-in-one units.

The new model has a massive 1900×1200 screen resolution. That means that everything looks very crisp and lovely on the big touchscreen. It’s got a new Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, 640GB of onboard storage, which is expandable to 890GB using slot-loading drives, Blu-ray drive and an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS HD. It also sports a TV Tuner and 5 USB ports. It can more than handle the big screen and resolution, so don’t worry about that.

So why am I calling it limited? Well, the TouchSmart software, although lovely, is very very locked up. Only HP can write programs for it. If HP were to put out an API of some sort, it would be pounced on by developers and really show its full potential. Even Apple – one of the most famously controlling companies there is – let application developers onto its platform, and the results have been hugely positive.

Minor openness issues aside, the TouchSmart IQ800 looks fantastic, and deserves pride of place in your living room. The keyboard is Bluetooth, and very slim. The speakers only deliver 2.1 sound, despite there being four of them, but the onboard sound card does support 5.1 sound if it’s connected digitally to an external amplifier and speakers. I would have thought, however, that you’d need to wipe sticky fingerprints off the screen fairly regularly, particularly if you’ve got kids

The poor PR lady in the video didn’t know the UK price, but I can tell you now that it’ll be available in early November at an estimated cost of £1500. Great, amazing, beautiful hardware. Limited, closed, controlled software. HP have it half-right.

HP

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Duncan Geere