In its previous incarnation as the IQ500, HP's Touchsmart more than convinced us that we're ready for a touch-sensitive desktop. It showed us that tapping your way through web links works just as well on the desktop as it does on the iPhone.

Then along came Asus with its Eee Top, and proved that you can have touchscreen cleverness at a cut price cost, and the world was better for it.

HP is moving in a different direction, though. In terms of price, size and features the IQ810 couldn't be at a more opposite end of the scale to the Eee Top. Has HP gone the right way?

A giant among PCs

With a 25.5in screen, the IQ810 is the biggest all-in-one PC we've seen. Despite the fact it blocks out the sun, it retains the classy feel of its predecessor. Basically, it's the same, just bigger.

That means installation is as simple as plugging in the power cable and turning it on. There's little in the way of button clutter around the frame, and an impressive array of card readers, USB ports and A/V connectors around the sides.

It's as near silent running as possible, and to complement the true HD specs of the screen there's a slot-loading Blu-ray drive hidden away on the right.

The 1920x1200 panel itself is absolutely lovely, with rich, bright colours and a decent enough refresh rate for anything you're going to be doing on it.

Bad angle

Not everything scales up so well with the IQ810. The stand is a simple angled prop, and can't be adjusted so that the screen is flat.

That's a problem, because even at its narrowest slant, the size and tilt of the display means part of the picture is going to fade out of a decent viewing angle. That's a waste of otherwise top-notch image quality.

You can wall-mount the IQ810 vertically, but unless we're missing something obvious that means you're unlikely to be using the touch screen, which is surely the whole point. With its width and built-in TV tuner it makes a great hanging media centre, but standing up to change channel is a bit too retro for us.

Confused character

So the question is, who is the IQ810 for? The size, price and ability to drag and drop with your fingertips has great potential for professionals, but professionals would never put up with the annoying stand.

Instead, the bespoke Vista skin and huge number of pre-installed entertainment apps suggest HP sees the IQ810’s role as a bit more fun. The only drawback is that it’s too big to watch movies on up close, and why pay for a touchscreen to view at a distance?

With a better stand and less bloatware, the IQ810 would be awesome. Instead it makes touch-control seem more gimmicky than it is. We’re sure touchscreen PCs are the future, but it needs to be better thought out than it is here.


Stuff says... 

HP Touchsmart IQ810 review

An incredible touchscreen machine let down by a badly designed stand