Unboxed: HP Touchsmart IQ500

Back in 1983, HP made a bold attempt to introduce touchscreen computing with its HP 150. It bombed, but last year the US company resurrected the conce

Back in 1983, HP made a bold attempt to introduce touchscreen computing with its HP 150. It bombed, but last year the US company resurrected the concept with the impressive Touchsmart IQ770. We were big fans, which is why we were excited to find its successor, the IQ500, on our doorstep this morning.

The design has changed quite radically. Gone is the bulky base unit – the IQ500 is a match for the iMac in the design stakes, and takes no longer than five minutes to set up.

Of course, the Touchsmart is all about the 22in touch sensitive screen and the software 'skin' for Vista, previously called Smartcenter. This has also been give an overhaul. The video below gives you a taste of how it works – the home page is very much like Apple's Cover Flow, letting you flick through links (or 'tiles' as HP calls them) to all your media. There's even some multi-touch, although we haven't figured out whether you can use this to do anything more than resizing the tiles.

The downside of all this prodding is that the screen can become a smudge-fest – ours is already heavily fingerprinted. Still, at least the laptop-esque AMD processor has been replaced by an Intel Core 2 Duo, and it'll be available in 320GB, 500GB and 750GB flavours. Prices will start from £1100 and it'll be available from August – but look out for our full review and hands-on video soon.

HP Touchsmart IQ500