HP TouchSmart 310 Review

by Reads (38,034)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 4
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.33
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Good screen
    • Multitouch!
    • Elegant design
  • Cons

    • Base model a bit underpowered
    • TouchSmart software confusing

Quick Take

The HP TouchSmart 310z is an affordable all-in-one computer with some great features - it deserves a look despite, not because of, HP's software.


As part of their continuing attempt to bring a multitouch experience to computers, HP recently brought out the newest iteration of their all-in-one lineup, the HP TouchSmart 310. Marrying a 20-inch, 900p screen with AMD processors and graphics, does HP’s latest multi-touch monster deserve a spot under your tree?

Specifications:

  • Processor: AMD Athlon II X4 615e @ 2.5GHz (2MB L2 cache)
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4270 (integrated)
  • Memory: 6GB DDR3 10600 (2 SoDIMMs)
  • Storage: 1TB SATA HDD @ 7200RPM
  • Display: 20-inches @ 1600×900 resolution with two-input multi-touch
  • Optical drive: 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti Tray-load with LightScribe
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless networking: 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Hybrid ATSC/NTSC/QAM TV Tuner, SD card reader
  • Power supply: 200W external
  • Dimensions: 4.65 x 20.47 x 16.22 inches (WxDx)
  • Weight: 19.84 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year limited hardware, 1 year limited hardware/software support

The HP TouchSmart 310z is available in a base configuration starting at just $699.99. This review unit, as configured, carries a suggested retail price of $1,109.99.

HP TouchSmart 310z

What’s in the box:

  • HP TouchSmart 310
  • KB/mouse USB dongle
  • Wireless HP keyboard
  • Wireless HP mouse
  • IR Blaster

This review unit didn’t come with a remote control, but HP said that shipping units that have been configured with a TV tuner will have them.

Build and design
HP has worked on the TouchSmart lineup for several years now, and with each successive generation, the design becomes more and more refined. One of the problems HP has faced in the all-in-one market is that, as their computers became more popular, certain manufacturers began to openly copy the design.

In bringing out the TouchSmart 310, HP took the opportunity to completely change the look and feel of this desktop. Where the last TouchSmart models used a tripod-esque design with a hinged rear support, the new model has a large, flat base.

HP TouchSmart 310z HP TouchSmart 310z

Changing the tilt of the machine is as easy as reaching out with a finger and pressing along the top of the machine.

Not only is the new stand easier to adjust, it also allows the TouchSmart to lean back further. This is important, since keeping the desktop in an upright position increases arm fatigue as users swipe back and forth on the multitouch screen.

HP TouchSmart 310z

The stand itself is solid and heavy, so users don’t have to worry about tipping the machine over. Additionally, it’s all removable, so if someone wants to dig into the system and upgrade the memory, it won’t stand in the way.

On the left side of the TouchSmart 310 are two USB 2.0 ports and nothing else. The right offers up an SD card slot, analog microphone and headphone jacks, and the desktop’s power button.

There’s also a small eject button, which pops out the tray on the rear-oriented optical drive. While a tray-loading optical drive doesn’t convey the same elegance that previous slot-loading drives do, it looks fine and performs well. HP had to cut costs in a few places in order to bring the base configuration’s price down below $700, and this was a logical trade.

HP TouchSmart 310z HP TouchSmart 310z

Fans of the TouchSmart lineup will probably notice the lack of brightness controls on the side – a sore omission. Instead of being able to quickly change the display’s brightness with a couple of button presses, that feature is now obfuscated beneath layers of clunky software.

HP TouchSmart 310z HP TouchSmart 310z

This unfortunate trend is common in all-in-one computers, and given how these computers are designed for rooms with varying light conditions – such as the kitchen or living room – being able to quickly change the brightness can make a big difference in terms of a device’s usability.

Despite that issue, the modern look of the new TouchSmart is appreciated. The design may not win any awards for being cutting-edge, but it’s decidedly contemporary; the older body style looks a little dated in comparison.

Keyboard and mouse
HP TouchSmart 310zOne of the highlights of previous TouchSmart reviews has been the phenomenal wireless keyboard HP includes in the box. In fact, it’s one of the best keyboards on the market. Unfortunately, as part of the cost-saving measures, HP did away with the high-end model for the 310.

The included keyboard and mouse are wireless, which is great, and have a solid build, but they just aren’t as nice. This is an important distinction since the brightness buttons available on the other keyboard aren’t on this model – notable since the brightness buttons aren’t available on the body of the TouchSmart, either.


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