HP Touchsmart 520 All-in-One PC Review

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Considering how close HP came to selling off or severing its world leading PC division, it's products like the new TouchSmart 520-1070 all-in-one (AIO) that make us glad somebody switched out the company's water supply. Actually, it's HP's old CEO, Leo Apotheker, who was responsible for the OEM's temporary insanity, and not some tainted H2O, but that's a rant for another time and another place. What we're focusing on here is an AIO system that comes well spec'd and offers a surprising amount of performance in a form factor typically more focused on aesthetics and convenience than raw computing power.

The TouchSmart 520-1070 is a fairly remarkable AIO equipped with high-end hardware and a robust selection of software, all of which comes wrapped in a 23-inch touchscreen display with a speaker bar blasting out Beats Audio. Any fears that HP's preoccupation with righting its ship would result in a degraded product line go right out the window when you run your finger down the 520's spec sheet, which includes an Intel Core i7 2600S processor clocked at 2.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a capacious 2TB hard drive, discrete graphics powered by AMD's Radeon HD 6450A GPU, and even a Blu-ray burner. Oh, and there's a TV tuner shoved inside too, for good measure.

These are low-power, desktop-class components crammed into an AIO form factor as part of a redesigned TouchSmart series meant to be "light, thin, and altogether stylish." Other than the part about this being a lightweight PC (the folks at HP must work out), HP delivers on its promises, and quite frankly exceeds our expectations at nearly every turn. Before we proceed with our full-on groping, let's take a look at the TouchSmart 520's specifications.

Hewlett-Packard TouchSmart 520-1070 23" All-In-One Desktop
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i7 2600S (2.80GHz) quad-core CPU
  • 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 23" LCD (1920x1080); LED backlight; Multi-touch
  • AMD Radeon HD 6450A graphics
  • 2TB 5400RPM hard drive
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Slot-load SuperMulti Blu-ray burner
  • HD webcam
  • HDMI input
  • USB 2.0 x 4; USB 3.0 x 2
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic input jacks
  • 6-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader
  • Subwoofer output; Line-out
  • RF input; IR blaster jack
  • Wireless keyboard / mouse combo
  • Integrated speakers w/ Beats Audio
  • Built-in TV tuner w/ TouchSmart remote
  • 25.77 Pounds
  • 22.85" (L/D) x 8.54" (W) x 18.01" (H)- (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price (as tested): $1,399.99
  • 1-year warranty

It's been a couple of months since we last reviewed an all-in-one system, and we've never spent significant hands-on time with one this powerful or flexible before. Whereas the ET2410 by Asus reviewed in November 2011 screamed "average PC" at first glance, the HP TouchSmart 520-1070 appears to have a bit of a chip on its shoulder and is out to prove that the "all-in-one" moniker doesn't have to only refer to the physical form factor, but also a PC's ability to perform all types of tasks, whether it's burning Blu-ray backups, flipping through TV channels, or even *gulp* a bit of gaming.

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AKnudson 2 years ago

Well thank you hothardware i am know guilty of atleast three of the seven deadly sins, lust, pride and deceit.

lust because i want it Deceit because i will lie to get it. Pride because i will be so proud when i have it.

cowboyspace 2 years ago

All in one pc aren't just for me.I hate touching a screen and later see a screen full of fingerprints.I'm a gamer so It is not for me.

Nice Review thats some high end hardware right there, But for those people who likes All in one pc I will wait for win 8 to come out :)

CDeeter 2 years ago

Nice job HP! Glad to see them putting out such a nice system. Thanks for the review Paul!

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bobjr94 2 years ago

I just set one of these up at the bosses desk. I was fairly unimpressed, there is little reason to need a touch screen desktop computer. It's a pain to use, the on screen touch interface is slow and lags, your arm will get tired in 5 minutes from moving all over the place on about 2 feet of screen space. It's heavy, about 40 or 50lbs so it's not like you will have it in your lap. The beats audio is one step above a good laptop or cheap factory speakers, we tried it once and hooked up the 10+ year old microsoft speakers & sub. Future upgrades are not possible unlike desktops that usually are good for a mid-life upgrade. I think most people will just use the included keyboard & mouse and return to the windows desktop after the novelty of wears off in about 2 hours.

PhilipMoran 6 months ago

Had the HP 520 for 18 months and the 1TB Seagate hard drive is shedding magnetic surface and will die soon according to the SMART data! Why oh why did they put a Seagate hard drive in this amazing machine? Going to clone to a Hitachi before the Seagate dies. Of course we switched off the touch screen and plugged in a wired mouse and wired keyboard. The Intel processor coupled with 3.5" hard drive gives a very fast performance. Into and out of Sleep takes only a few seconds. The screen is glossy which is bad. Very reflective. A matt screen would be so much better. But for the money this is very good value and to be recommended.

[for £40 you can get a Hitachi hard drive and clone the unreliable Seagate].

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