Tech Talk Tuesday: HP TouchSmart IQ846 Desktop PC Review

09.15.09

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A few months ago Microsoft was kind enough to invite me to the Zune Lounge to preview their newest version of Internet Explorer. It was really a great invite and I loved seeing the new browser. Here’s an exact replay of how it went.

INCREDIBLY PATIENT MICROSOFT MAN: … as you see there are new search features where you click…

ME: Holy cow! Did you just touch the screen?

IPMM: Yeah, it’s a touch screen, as I was saying…

ME: Wow, what if you want to right click on a touch screen?

IPMM: Uh, well, you’d do this [demonstrates] and if you right click inside of Internet Explorer

ME: that’s terrific, how big is this screen?

IPMM: I don’t know, our client is Microsoft, this is an HP computer.

ME: Is there a representative from HP here? Because this computer is ah-maaaa-zing!

IPMM: No, you’re in the Microsoft Zune Lounge, we are all about Microsoft here

ME: Right, but my computer really sucks and it makes this whirring sound, so I’m pretty sure your software won’t work on it anyhow. Really, nothing works on it. How much do you think this computer costs?

IPMM: Mrs. Gottlieb, I don’t really know, can I get you a drink?

And then he picked up the phone and I think he dialed his therapist, but I can’t be 100% sure because he said something about wanting to be alone. And that is exactly how it happened. I am a blogger, I would never exaggerate.

Over the course of the next few weeks my computer got noisier and had me panicking more. I asked folks on twitter if they knew anyone at HP, and Daniel Paul (who apparently knows everyone in the world) was kind enough to make introductions. HP sent me my dream computer to review for you (plus one to be reviewed next week) and I’ve been grinning like a six year old ever since.

My HP TouchSmart came in the most humongous box I’ve ever seen, with zero foam, recycled cardboard insert and a minimum of paperwork. Kudos, packaging matters, it’s all got to return to the earth before you do if you want me to love you.

Now comes the tough part, telling you about the computer. It’s the HP TouchSmart IQ846 Desktop PC, but you can just call it *le awesome*. It comes all loaded up with Windows Vista, which is quite a treat for a lady that just tossed Windows 98. It’s fast, it’s quiet and the screen is brilliant. Not like brilliant smart, but brilliant, dazzling with rich colors and the built in speakers deliver rich sound.

The keyboard and mouse are wifeless and slip under the computer for easy storage. If you’ve ever read Dwell just for fun, you’ll appreciate the design of this setup.

This computer does everything, there’s all the standard computing things plus the touch screen (did I mention you can touch the screen?), but the big bonus is that it’s a TV and sound system as well. We popped in a Blu Ray disc and the picture is stunning. Music is crisp and clear.

This snazzy computer is also a television replacement. You can hook it up to your receiver and it works at a TV DVR combo. I hear rumors that it’ll wash the dog for you once it’s out of beta.

I adore this computer… love, adore.. want to marry this computer. If I were a single woman I’d probably buy this for my living room and use it as a computer, television and music player all in one. I’m an iphone devotee and it works well with the iphone. Woo hoo!

Now for the bummers. It’s expensive, for $1,800 you’ve got to actually need this. Who needs this setup? If you’re in an office and you give presentations this is perfect, the touch screen enables you to focus on your presentation and flip through slides with ease, further the quality of the pictures far surpasses anything a projector can offer. Like I said before this is a great solution for anyone who doesn’t want to clutter their home with three (or more) devices to watch films, television, listen to music or compute. The design is worth the dollars if you appreciate a beautiful home. I need the TouchSmart because I’m high maintenance. End. Of. Story.

The screen isn’t viewed well from above. If the computer is at a desk and you’re standing up the blacks will appear to be slate grey. It’s not a huge difference for me or my kids, but my husband noticed it when I was showing him something and he was standing while I sat.

I’d recommend this computer without hesitation. It brings a smile to my face every time I sit down to write. If you’re looking for specs they’re here here.