10 Things Your Might Not Know About HP TouchSmart – A Short Review from Singapore

This is short summary and review for the newly release HP Touch Smart IQ500 has launched in Singapore. I was invited by Melvin Yuan to take a look at their releasing product in this coming July in Asia last Tuesday. 2609200627_5dd617efd9.jpg

After talking with the HP product manager Daniel for TouchSmart IQ500 in Singapore, and tried first hand on the set. I’ve discovered that there are 10 things you might not be aware of HP TouchSmart through merely looking at the Ads or some online review, here they are:

  1. No Apple-like multi-touch yet, which means no pinch to zoom nor three fingers to go back, but the multi-touch screen is designed to be object-sensitive rather than pressure-sensitive, so you can actually use your fountain pen to write on the screen.
  2. The native screen resolution is 1680 * 1050, which means you can view HD1080p with large amount of pleasure due to its clarity because of many pixels are present, but you can’t take the advantage of the full resolution of 1080p because it still lacks quite a number of pixels according to that.
  3. The keyboard and mouse came with the computer are both wireless. To me they feel just alright comparing with those magnificent ones on my MacBook Pro and my Logitech DeNovo Edge. And the wireless duo doesn’t come with a dock + charging station like that of DeNovo Edge – Yes, you need to replace the battery.
  4. Don’t eat KFC and play with the screen at the same time! the screen is not oil-proof, though it could resist a certain amount of normal grease on your fingertips.
  5. The PC comes with a remote control, which is designed for Windows Media Center rather than the HP TouchSmart Center, which is the piece of software HP developed for this TouchSmart PC.
  6. TouchSmart Center can’t do TV, nor could it easily help you to transfer photos from your memory card to computer just yet. And yeah, you can’t delete the photos or videos through the interface either, which might be a good thing for people who like to press the X button all the time.
  7. The plainly washed white and bright ambient light makes me want to buy a nice lava lamp and put beside the PC to create some nice ambience  instead Lava Lamp
  8. They are many pieces of pre-installed software on the PC. Many are quite useful, unlike that of Sony. But for that many games installed, you have only 4 free credits to play, so pay more to play them all.
  9. HP software does not use the native resolution, which causes screen to flick  and computer to hang for a period when switching out of the TouchSmart center program using Alt+Tab
  10. Vista still hangs now and then, and many applications take a while to start.

And here are the ten things you might know about:

  1. HP produces some of the best Ads in the market today, including a nicely composed tune
  2. The product looks really nice from afar, a giant photo frame sitting there.
  3. You can use your stylus to write on the screen and play ink ball with your thumbdrive
  4. Playing Solitaire and BeJeweled with fingers are really neat with friends together, a multi-user hot-seat scenario.
  5. Coverflow on the machines is nicer than that of Apple, there is more context visible when spreading like a fan instead of vertically stacked.
  6. You can watch TV on your desktop without bothering to buy TV cards and install them
  7. They have wooping 4G RAM pre-installed to use on the system
  8. It runs a 64-bit Windows Vista!
  9. Telling Mom how to use the computer has never been easier, MA, just use you hand to press that red button!
  10. It has built-in audio and video recording capability, you can do audio notes and voice memo easily.

Check it out for yourself when this coming July, you just find the perfect PC to sit in your living room.

PS: I think Apple’s iMac 24 inch’s look is cool comparing with this as well, but it lacks the Touch function and many more. And there are many reviews out there, if you will, take a look at them as well. But you really gota touch this HP TouchSmart IQ500 first to experience for yourself.

HP Mini Landed in Singapore

HP Mini Launched in Singapore yesterday. After listening to so much online buzz, I finally got a chance to get my hands on the product. Previously, I played a little bit of Sabrina’s ASUS EEE PC, I thought Mini would weigh equally light, but I was wrong. The machine felt rather sturdy, with the metal casing and acrylic protector, but that was at the cost of the weight. In my hand, it felt almost as heavy as my MacBook Pro. I was contemplating on the idea that putting Mini into my bag and forget about it, and take it out to use whenever I want to, now, my dream was shattered by the sheer weight of this device.

HP Mini PC

The price for the Mini was out of my expectation as well. $999 for the usual version with Vista Home Basic version, and $1399 maximum for the high-end version with Vista Business, 2G RAM and Bluetooth. And to make things worse, the battery only lasts about 3 hours on a 3 cells and 5.5 hours on a 6 cells, and the keyboard is still plastic. If I have to purchase the device at that price, I would already start thinking of the alternative products like Sony VAIO: 4 times the price, 4 times the battery length with internal DVD burner and a fairly fast CPU.

So much for the dark size of the story, there were quite some bright spots I saw from this laptop.

Designing started last August, initially for kids in the classroom, this laptop is simply kids-resilient: you can pour water on the keyboard (I tried with Soda water), you can try dropping the PC a few times, and you can pretty much sit on it, I guess, if you are not that overweight. HP put another piece of acrylic board in front of the LCD so that you can make sure that the screen is not that easy damaged when you use your ball-pen writing over it.

And it has skins, no longer naked! I saw a lot of skins yesterday. According to HP, these skins are provided by a Singapore vendor. I think these skins will really help in kids’ showing off game. “I’ve gota cooler skins than you, dude! Oh man, this dude has no skin!”

HP Mini Skin.jpg

And this Mini has an interesting design for the power connector, a modified Apple connector in my eyes, where the connector could provide you (or rather the computer) with some useful information about the current power adaptor, therefore showing your charging time more accurately. And it has an accelerometer built in to provide damages to the hard disk from moving around.

So in conclusion: I love the form factor of Mini, but the relatively slow speed of the CPU and expensive price tag are killing me. Since HP chose VIA to avoid rapid update from Intel, I have no intention of buying it so soon. And the UMPC war has just started. With Dell, ASUS and HP (and perhaps more) participating, I am just looking forward to the day when I could enjoy a 12 hour long UMPC at below 1000$

There are some images and stored at HPMini.wordpress.com :)

Finally, HP UMPC Mini

It has been really a long while since we have seen the first rumors of the upcoming HP UMPC 2133 (now HP Mini) first in February. The product has finally come to the light. Since the invention of OLPC and followed by that EEE PC vs. OLPC case, I was getting more and more interested in the UMPC world.

c01368682.jpgDeep in my heart, a ultra-portable tablet PC with extraordinary performance, like gaming, CAD design and long battery would be definitely a killer to me. However, due to the difficult of engineering such piece, I think, the dream of mine is still hanging there.

I have seen a few reviews from online, like jkOnTheRun, which contains a video review of a closer look at the device, as well as side by side comparison of two UMPCs, he has high praises for the device, declaring it the best UMPC he has seen so far, but I that’s just because he got the top-end version to review for free. The price tag on this device isn’t cheap at all. The current available model is priced at $600 USD ($888 SGD with GST) and the top version is $750 USD ($1111 SGD with GST). I hope they are not charging more for shipping and marketing in Singapore. Notebook Review has posted a balanced look on the device with more benchmarks. The major hurdle in the machine is the lack of a powerful processor, the VIA C7-M just doesn’t cut it in term of the raw processing speed.

Yet. I think the device has some really nice quality I am looking forward to, I am afraid that the keyboard is not going to be as nice as my MacBook Pro, but recalling my experience using all the tiny keyboards provided by Packard Bell as well as the EEE PC, I am just looking forward to try it out really soon and do a comparison.

I was once dreaming of carrying a laptop like carrying a book in my bag, and I think the dream is near.

PS: I might get hands on experience really soon. So watch out!

Update:

The device is only given to JK as a review item, not free gift, but again, since the price factor comparison is with high-end UMPC, there is nothing we could talk about here. I am going for the launch event tomorrow in Singapore for HP Mini. We’ll see then.