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As mentioned in various previous reviews I have been installing a new network at my learning centre/office and the PC'S we bought where the HP Touchsmart 310 range. We wanted something user friendly, modern and slick to go with the new office whilst having something that provided reliability, speed and efficiency and these computers certainly have done that. I was so impressed I even bought one for home use and for the past few months never seem to have been off them! The are a truly wonderful way forward for both personal and business computing and they are well worth the money. Whatever your purposes from using computers, if it's a desktop device you are after I would certainly recommend these.
I have been using the 20" model which retails at around £550-£600 including a keyboard and mouse. The unique feature embedded here is the fact that the Touchsmart system does not require a standing tower of any sort. Everything is built into the screen itself. This has baffled almost everyone who has used the systems so far in my presence apart from the odd few who don't notice. But the revelation that the screen contains everything is always something which gets a reaction. The monitor is not even very thick, much slimmer than the average laptop really and at an estimation its 2cm. That's outstanding really and it makes everything so neat.
With everything being in the screen it means it is so much easier to arrange. Gone are the days when vast number of wires were needed. This system is almost wire free apart from the plug and if you use a wireless keyboard and mouse combination instead of a wired one it reduces the hassle even more. It looks smart and tidy on any desk in any environment.
The design itself is very fetching coming in a dark black colouring. The panels on the side are grey and this is where all the main ports can be found including USB, Card readers and power buttons as well as volume control. The power lead plugs into the back as does any Ethernet cable (it wireless of course which is built into it and performs very well).
The first thing really to mention here is the touch screen capability. The whole system is designed around the novelty of touch screen. Phones, televisions and games consoles have long since taken the step into the realms of touch screen and it was only a matter of time before Desktop monitors did. How does it work? Rather well I would say. Its all very simple, one touch on the icons will give you the desired effect. It gets a bit trickier when it comes to right clicking and selecting but in time you will find it second nature. For the first few hours this will be a breeze but there are problems.
First and foremost I tend to find that the response time wears off quickly. In the first few weeks it was fast and every touch was responded to perfectly but as the week have drawn on this has reduced and now I am finding some of the models are not responding at all. Even my one at home is having this problem. You can reconfigure it but this seems to do very little. The Touchscreen is therefore very temperamental and I find that there is no real reasoning behind why it works in one instance perfectly and struggles the next.
One other problem is the fact that the icons are rather small. On standard display on a 20" the icons and buttons are very small indeed compared to finger size meaning it gets tricky pressing what you want and more often than not mistakes are made. Scrolling is easy though and there is no difference in loading speed between using the touchscreen and the mouse.
Typing is another matter altogether and the only major downside of the functionality of the system. You touch the screen with a simple tap and a keyboard shows up, press the keyboard and a small, and I mean small keyboard shows on screen to type. When trying to enter a website address or log in to a site this isn't so bad but typing anything lengthy becomes a chore and you cannot really rely on this device on its own. I would not recommend buying this without a keyboard or using it without one as it makes the whole thing much more difficult.
Generally though the display on the touchscreen is great. Bright and vivid colours, clear and lots of options to focus and suit the brightness to your liking. The one downside is if you use the touchscreen all the time you need to be cleaning it every time after use or it begins to look messy. You would be surprised how dirty our little paws can get and the screen shows every little mark.
The model runs on Window 7 which I am not going to go into detail on here. There are added features for touch screen users but generally Windows 7 is a great, easy to use system but for reviews of that see more in depth write up's in the sections relating to this. The same goes for Office 2010 which comes included. This runs smoothly on the 310 and has adapted features for touchscreen too. It's a doddle to use but for highlights of all the features in the office package see a review in that section. Safe to say both Windows 7 and Office 2010 are very smooth running and easy to use on this system.
The Wireless output is great, connecting first time to all networks, maintaining a good strong connection and being very reliable and well functioned. Some of the units in the centre are wired in and they run even better. The Internet on this system is a completely hassle free experience.
The system is quick to read any external devices and this surprised me as its speed is almost instant. Even my top of the range laptop cannot compete with this. Insert anything in the USB or card reader and the 310 works like lightning to give you rapid response. The card reader is a 6 in 1 meaning it will fit most types of your standard memory untisSpeaking of speed its quick to load, quick to shut down and operates smoothly meaning there is not much waiting around. Using this has saved me so much time and gone are the days of waiting for an age for computers to shut down and start up!
The sound is clear and vivid with the speaker being the strip along the bottom of the front of the monitor. It has a high end output making it perfect for viewing movies and online videos as well as listening to music.
I will refrain from going into spec details as a) they are listed above and b) to most people they mean nothing but safe to say the memory, ram and all other technical details all amount to making this an easy to use, hassle free and absolutely joyful experience!
In all this is a modern, stylish, excellent and superb device that I would recommend to anyone. Looks and performs well and another example of a device from HP that you can trust to invest in. Superb!
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