"What was the first thing you noticed when you unpacked the system?" asked an HP representative during a briefing call about the TouchSmart 520 All-in-One PC that I received for evaluation about a week earlier. I told the tour guide that the system was extremely heavy, which led to a discussion about the weighted aluminum base, free standing configuration, and more.
Bill Gates introduced the first HP TouchSmart at CES in 2007. Since then, we've received a number of updates over the years. The latest version includes some serious hardware and a slightly redesigned design. Without a corporate reorganization at HP, the unit would likely never have seen the light of day. But I digress.
HP provided us with the TouchSmart 520-1070, which they named the star of their current all-in-one line of products, which features a lighter, thinner design and an updated version of HP's Magic Canvas software.
The 23-inch multi-touch AIO is powered by an Intel Core i7-2600S processor of the 2nd generation with 2.8 GHz, 8 GB DDR3 system memory, a 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, Radeon HD 6450A graphics and Beats Audio powered. Further advantages are a built-in TV tuner and HDMI-In, which essentially transform the 520 into a venerable entertainment / gaming station.
Despite the strong focus on multi-touch, HP knows that most users don't rely solely on physical interaction with the user interface. As such, they also included a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and media remote for wireless control. There is also a power cord, a power supply with a relatively large brick, an IR blaster cable, and various documentation to complete the package. Our price configured here today is $ 1,399.
Aesthetically, HP has a great looking system on its hands. The double aluminum base keeps the system firmly on the floor even when adjusting the viewing angle. It also doubles as a keyboard shelf when you need more space on your desktop or when you switch to touch-only mode.
At the bottom of the display is a sound bar powered by Beats Audio. We have seen Beats branding on HP notebooks in the past, but results are usually best achieved when listening with headphones. After all, there is only so much that can be asked of a pair of laptop speakers. HP certainly has the room to add a decent set of speakers here. Let's hope they did just that.
The 23-inch, backlit LED display offers a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, a brightness of 250 nits, a contrast ratio of 1000: 1 and a response time of 5 ms. On the non-glossy black bezel is an HD webcam with an integrated microphone directly above the screen.
On the left side of the computer are LED indicators for memory and card reader, a 6-in-1 card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, a microphone jack and a headphone jack. The rear I / O control panel has four USB 2.0 ports, line-out and subwoofer-out sockets, a Gigabit Ethernet socket, a power socket, an IR blaster socket and a coaxial socket for the TV tuner.
HP has installed a SuperMulti Blu-ray burner for loading slots on the right edge of the system, directly above four buttons with which the display options on the screen can be edited. Finally, there is an HDMI input that allows you to use the display as a secondary screen for your notebook or, even better, as the primary screen for your game console.