HP TouchSmart 600 All-In-One PC Review


There is one last performance metric to mention, and it is one that more and more people are becoming concerned with: power consumption. We can’t tell you how owning a TouchSmart 600 is going to impact your carbon footprint, but we can tell you how much power it consumes and how much it is going to add to your electric bill.  Believe it or not, computers tend to spend more time in an idle state that any other, so a system’s idle state is usually an excellent indicator of how much power it consumes, generally speaking.

At idle, the TouchSmart 600 consumes about 64 Watts of power. We got the system’s power consumption as high as 102 Watts with Left 4 Dead, and as low as 3 Watts when put into sleep mode. Based on the current U.S. average of $0.1205 per kilowatt-hour, if you were to leave you system sitting idle for a year (not that you would actually do that, of course), it would cost you almost $68. In comparison, powering a mainstream laptop at idle for a year would cost about $25--and $150 or more for a high-end gaming machine.

You can tell that HP put a lot of thought into the design of the TouchSmart 600, with such stylings as its rather minimalistic design, HDMI inputs for gaming consoles, and hiding the majority of the system’s ports behind a removable cover. The system also features a screen that displays crisp and vibrant images, as well as stereo speaker system that delivers impressive sounding reproduction. Of course, the main feature of the TouchSmart 600 is the multi-touch-capable display--and to highlight this capability, HP includes a number of custom applications. While some of these apps are useful, it seems to us that a number of them were really little more than neat little demos of the system’s touch capabilities. We also encountered a few glitches with some of these apps--especially the ones that work with video.  Regardless, as multi-touch/gesture technologies become even more pervasive in computing, it's obvious there are advantages that come with a system that has full touch input capabilities, such as the TouchSmart 600 does.

The TouchSmart 600 does comes up a little short in the application and 3D gaming performance department. Overall performance is passable, but compared to the newer and faster GPU and CPU offerings found in today’s desktops, the TouchSmart 600’s multimedia capabilities are going to offer a more modest level of performance, though in this form factor lower-powered components are a requirement obviously. Combine that with the fact that none of the system’s components are upgradable--not even the memory or hard drive--and you have a system that is not very future proof. The TouchSmart 600 has some great features--but as a primary system, it doesn’t give you much room to grow. We tend to see the TouchSmart 600 more as a second PC--perhaps in a centralized location of a home, such as a living room or kitchen, that is if you're the power-hungry type at least.  From a performance perspective, if  you're looking for a more general purpose computing experience with HD multimedia capabilities, the TouchSmart will serve you just fine.

This all comes down to the question: Is the system worth plunking down a grand and a half for? Based purely on specs, you can get far more powerful systems for a lot less money. However, the TouchSmart 600 is much more than sum of its parts--you could consider it an elegant fusion of functionality and technology--certainly a conversation piece, to say the least. To us, the decision to buy or not to buy is predominantly dictated by your desire to have an all-in-one desktop PC with multi-touch capabilities. If your answer is an emphatic “yes, I want one,” then you’d be hard pressed to find a better system that delivers on this front.  Also keep in mind that there are less expensive models in the TouchSmart series, which will deliver much of the same functionality as you’d get with the TouchSmart 600 but with smaller screens or fewer options like the Blu-ray player that came with our system. We'll grant the TouchSmart HotHardware's Recommended seal, but it comes with the caveat that this recommendation is for the system in the context of a full-featured all-in-one desktop PC.  It's a subtle nuance, but an important one.

  • Multi-touch screen
  • Excellent image and audio quality
  • 16:9 1080 display
  • Custom touch-enabled apps
  • Quiet and relatively low power
  • Stylish
  • Middling application and 3D gaming performance
  • Glossy display can detract from image quality
  • Custom touch-enabled apps can be a bit flaky
  • No upgradable components

Related content