HP TouchSmart IQ800t Series Sparks Imagination

February 04, 2009 | Chris Maxcer | Comments 0

By Chris Maxcer

If there’s one PC that has the ability to turn iMac-loving heads, it’s HP’s TouchSmart IQ816. Yeah, we’re envious, OK? This gorgeous unit has been around for months, and meanwhile, not only do we not have a touchscreen iMac . . . we’re still waiting for the next generation with LED-backlit screens.

touchsmart-angle300x300But that’s another story. Back to the TouchSmart.

With a 25.5-inch touch-sensitive screen and a slick piano black design, it really only comes with two features Apple lovers are missing: a touchscreen and a Blu-ray drive.

First, the touchscreen. While its accuracy doesn’t match that of an iPhone, it gets the basic jobs done. And the basics? HP wisely offers up a custom interface that lets you touch, tap, and swipe the some compelling touch-based apps: a music player, photo browser, movie player, calendar, weather, notes, and the like. The point is, the combination of touchscreen and easy-access media apps makes the TouchSmart perfect for use in common household areas — like the kitchen or activity nooks near a dining room or home office. It’s even wall-mountable. HP also offers a smaller 22-inch version.

Family members can share photos, check their email, and play music (assuming that you’ve hooked it up to a decent set of speakers). Heck, you can even record a quick video clip, email it, or leave it for someone else.

The Living Room?

As for the Blu-ray drive, that’s awesome, but limited — where’s the HDMI video out port? It’s nice that you can watch Blu-ray movies on the TouchSmart, but wouldn’t it be much better on a big HDTV? Which brings up this point: what HP really needs to do is make a smaller TouchSmart more suitable for connecting to HDTVs . . . how nice would it be to have this baby sitting next to your HDTV?

It’s a small market for HP, but still . . . why not own it?

There’s more, though. The TouchSmart can come with a built-in TV tuner, which makes it handy, again, for the kitchen, but it also includes a PVR . . . and a remote. And, as you might have guessed, this unit is also great for dorm rooms and tight apartments.

On the Downside

touchsmart-side300x300On the downside, navigating HP’s online store is a freakin’ nightmare, and it’s online demos are only a little better. They don’t do the product itself justice, and nothing about the online store exudes any sense of quality. Seriously, HP could do so much better. Heck, the page shows off the TouchSmart to much better effect.

Meanwhile, there is one glaring issue: Windows Vista. While many of the TouchSmart reviewers like the device and design — ambient lighting anyone? — the Windows Vista experience, along with the touchscreen, drag it down. Perhaps Windows 7 will result in something a bit slicker.

In any event, it looks good, and if seeing isn’t exactly believing, touching and swiping comes pretty close. Hover Links:

Filed Under: Envy


About the Author: Chris Maxcer is editor and publisher of He's been writing about the tech industry for years. While he enjoys wicked cool gear and design, there's something to be said for turning it all off — or most of it — to go outside. To contact him, take a firstname.lastname guess at

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