Thursday, July 31, 2008

HP TouchSmart IQ506 - on my Wish List now!

Above is a picture of the new HP TouchSmart IQ506 touchscreen / touch-enabled PC. Calling it a Personal Computer may be a bit of an understatement though, since this nifty gadget has a lot more to offer than most "normal" desktop personal computers.

First and foremost in the innovative feature set (and the thing that attracts me most to this machine) is the awesome 22" 1650x1050 resolution widescreen MULTI-POINT TOUCH SCREEN interface.  If you are familiar with HP's first incarnation of the TouchSmart (the IQ770), you'll quickly notice a difference in both the screen size (the old one was 19") and the fact that the interface is now *multi* point touch-aware (sorta like the Apple iPhone).  Multi-point touch allows for easier (or more intuitive) ways to execute tasks like a "zoom" on a map or such.

The HP TouchSmart PC is currently available in two models: the IQ504 and IQ506, which start at $1,299 and $1,499 respectively (the latter having more features, like dedicated NVidia 9300M-GS graphics built in, a TV-Tuner, and a bigger hard drive - 500GB vs. 320GB on smaller version). Both include Intel Core 2 Duo processors - T5850 (2.16 GHz), 4GB of RAM, slot-load DVD burners, wireless, Gigabit LAN, and Bluetooth. But, just like its predecessor, the one thing that I find a bit annoying is the lack of any way to connect an external monitor (being a "media PC" or sorts, I find this oddly lacking, since I would really like to output the signal to an HDTV perhaps).

The system is using Microsoft Windows Vista 64-bit edition (Media Center) from what I can tell.  But, HP has also extended upon Vista's own media abilities through it's custom TouchSmart software that makes really nice use of the touch-interactive abilities of the display / input.

I'll be watching for a good sale price on one of the IQ506's (or it's successor, which from what I found in HP's online manuals that hint at a version with an NVidia 9600M-GS graphics card, is due in the fall of 2008).  Currently, the best price I have seen for the IQ506 was at OfficeMax online, with a sale price of $1349 USD.  CostCo carries the thing too, and includes shipping in the price (though, currently they seem to be selling at the normal list price of $1499).  I expect some promotional sales to be appearing as the holiday season nears for 2008.  This may be my Black Friday 2008 Christmas Sale purchase if I get lucky and find a bargain then!  :)

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