HP TouchSmart 600: The Messenger Returns

Messenger Redux

Messenger Redux

HP's TouchSmart All-in-One (AIO) PCs have certainly come a long way since their early bulky looking designs. Thanks to a bigger screen and touch capabilities, the units have evolved into a touch friendly machine that offers more than just your average experience when it comes to using one. In this case, it's not just the sleek messenger bag design or the gorgeous (but fingerprint smudge friendly) black color of the unit - but what HP has done to change the interior that has left us all fluttered with delight.

The HP TouchSmart 600 looks pretty familiar, but we're sure there's plenty of new things to look at!

Starting with the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive and HDMI port, the HP TouchSmart 600 puts on more multimedia love for folks wanting to take advantage of the big and glossy reflective screen of the AIO. It's a good thing too, as the previous model didn't offer any of these features, so an update implementing Blu-ray and HDMI is always welcomed by us. While it might look slimmer, the TouchSmart 600 is slightly bigger thanks to its larger screen and deeper rear. However, you'll notice that the unit retains much of the same flavor of the older unit, so you'll not find it any thicker.

Not much to look at here with the button controls, but the optical drive is now upgraded to a Blu-ray drive. Otherwise, everything else remains the same on this profile. This is where the bulk of changes come in. New here is the HDMI port at the top, with a TV in, audio in, S-video all located slightly further back and normally hidden by a cover (not shown here).

The other aspects of the unit too made a return:- the messenger look is still here, and audio was great as we remember it, easily filling up a room with its clear sound. Screen clarity too was something that we liked, though the reflective panels could be somewhat of a pain if you're viewing it at the wrong angle. HP has also thrown in a color adjustable ambient light that gives you some customization options. Love it bright neon blue? No sweat. Same with slimy green if that's to your taste.

Another tweak that we quite liked was the fact that you can now control the tilt of the built-in camera. It's the little touches that count, and it's this simple tweak that made us go "cool"!

Working in the dark? Fret now, the lighting that was found in the previous model returns with the added capability for color change. Don't like blue? Go green then.

HP doesn't expect you to get by with just touch alone though, so you'll have your standard keyboard and mouse included. There's also a remote for media viewing via Windows Media Center and a cloth to remove all your fingerprints smudges after use.

Lastly, we have our table of specifications for the unit, and our review unit comes loaded with the best specs of the three available TouchSmart 600 models. Of note is the inclusion of a newer NVIDIA GeForce GT 230 graphics engine, an upgrade to the older TouchSmart IQ500's graphics. Also, if 23 inches is just too big for your needs, there's also a 20-inch model, the HP TouchSmart 300 (which only comes in one flavor).