HP TouchSmart IQ506 PC - The Full Review

Touchy Feely

Touchy Feely

With a computer named TouchSmart, obviously there's going to be a lot of touching going on for the IQ506, so HP has made the screen scratch proof (to a certain extent) and while the thought of testing it with a screw driver did enter our minds, we were also quite leery of damaging the beautiful surface, so we skipped attempting that test. The screen also seems like it is fingerprint resistant as we didn't see any obvious smudges even after pretty heavy usage of us messing around with the touch friendly UI. Consequently, because it's resistant to smudges, you'll find that the screen isn't a smooth experience to slide you fingers across such as when navigating the TouchSmart UI (more on the software interface layer on the next page).

Like the older IQ770, the IQ506 can also be navigated via touch in Windows Vista, though we don't really recommend doing so as it can get quite tiring. Right clicking in particular, was somewhat tedious as it kept to the same "hold finger till menu appears" concept of the IQ770. There have been some improvements though, a 'ghost mouse' appears when your finger or stylus interacts with the screen and you can easily tap the left or right virtual mouse button for easy input.

As for design aesthetics, the IQ506 has been designed to look like a large messenger bag and it shows, from the design of the small flap that's located somewhere near the bottom edge of the otherwise straightforward looking unit. As for the glossy surface area which usually poses a problem with fingerprint smudges, thankfully we didn't notice it visibly this time around.

If you think that the side profile looks like a messenger bag, then you've basically got it as that was HP's intention all along.

A closer look at the bottom of the unit reveals two USB 2.0 ports, the headphone and microphone jacks and a button to control the lights for helping you type in the dark (as seen during our preview ).

You can see where the light's coming from at this angle. The little House button also serves to launch the TouchSmart UI.

The right side of the IQ506 sports a 5-in-1 card reader, the volume controls and a IEEE 1394 port.

The same slot-loaded SuperMulti DVD Burner which we saw during our preview.

A hidden compartment on the back opens up to reveal three more USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, an S/PDIF out, an audio in/out jacks, a TV-in and a S-Video port.

Audio clarity was also something the IQ506 excelled at, at full volume, our playback of the various tracks that came with out prototype made for easy and clear listening. Volume at maximum was loud enough to fill a room substantially, while distortions were barely detectable. Video playback also looked good on the glossy screen though reflections might be an issue especially if the unit was placed directly below a light source. Otherwise the screen display was crisp, bright and clear enough for our eyes.