The Bottom Line
Jan 19 2012 - HP continues to be the master of the touchscreen based thanks to its software suite but it also does an excellent job of balancing the hardware. The TouchSmart 520-1070f addresses some of the features that were missing in the past round of models by including a faster quad core processor, USB 3.0 ports and HDMI input. This gives it some excellent overall performance that is tough to beat in its price range. The model still has a number of minor annoyances including some lackluster design and a graphics solution that still won't quite reach even 3D casual gaming experience.
- Excellent Touch Software Suite
- Strong General Performance
- Blu-ray Drive, HDTV Tuner and HDMI Input
- Dedicated Graphics Still Lack 3D Performance
- Design Isn't as Refined As Many Similarly Priced Competititors
- Intel Core i7-2600S Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 2TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 23-inch WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With AMD Radeon HD 6450 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Intel HDA Audio With Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Four USB 2.0, HDMI (input), HDTV Tuner, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- 22.9" x 18" x 8.6"
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, TouchSmart, Cyberlink DVD, Nortion Internet Security
Review - HP TouchSmart 520-1070f
Jan 19 2012 - HP's TouchSmart all-in-one's are the definitive choice for many looking for a touchscreen based desktop system. While they offer a fair amount of features, their 610 series had a number of annoying features that were missing. The TouchSmart 520 looks to address many of these while giving it a new overall appearance.
Apple was a major player in terms of overall performance for an all-in-one with their Core i5 quad core processor in the 21-inch iMac. HP has decided to introduce more performance with the TouchSmart 520-1070f that comes equipped with a Core i7-2600S quad core desktop processor. This combined with 8GB of DDR3 memory provide the system with a strong overall level of performance even in demanding tasks such as desktop video editing. Windows, the Magic Canvas suite and multitasking are all very smooth thanks to all this performance.
Storage features are overall quite good. A large two terabyte hard drive provides plenty of space for applications, data and especially media files thanks to the built-in HDTV tuner that can be used for recording programs. The only downside here is that the drive uses a green variety of drive that offers a lower level of overall performance that does impact things like boot times and data access. In addition to this, the system comes equipped with a Blu-ray compatible optical drive that makes this a very solid option for those looking for a multimedia and home entertainment based desktop system. Another flaw that was address in the TouchSmart 610 models is the inclusion of two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage devices in case their isn't enough storage space.
The 23-inch touchscreen is still the cornerstone of the TouchSmart series. The display panel offers a very high 1920x1080 resolution for full 1080p high definition video work. The screen uses a different form of hinge system than past models that offers a bit wider range of tilt adjustments as far back as 60-degrees which make the touchscreen a bit easier to use. Sure, it does not fold down like the Samsung Series 7 but it does offer a very solid hinge that keeps the display panel very firm rather than wobbly like many other models have. If there is one downside here, the graphics systems while improved over the integrated options is still a bit lacking. The AMD Radeon HD 6450 is a fairly basic dedicated graphics processor that won't be used even for much casual 3D gaming. At least it does provide a bit more for accelerating non-3D applications like Photoshop. It just would have been nice to see a bit more performance to what Apple and Lenovo offer.
What really sets HP apart from every other touchscreen based desktop though is the software. The HP Magic Canvas (formerly TouchSmart) suite is by far the most robust and feature filled touch software. It runs atop the Windows 7 operating system so users can bypass it if they wish but anyone using the touch interface will definitely want to load it up to access its variety of features from music, video, news and notes.
HP continues to use their extremely thin wireless keyboard and contoured mouse that was introduced in the 610 series models. The nice change is that the hinge design of the 520 allows for the keyboard to easily be stowed underneath when it is not in use. While the keyboard is certainly much better than the average desktop the flat design can cause some typing issues for those that use it for extended periods.