Is touch the way of the future? Partially. I don’t think that the old fashioned keyboard and mouse is going to go anywhere soon, but touch-screens offer an alternative way to interact with our computers that has unique advantages and disadvantages. I wouldn’t want to type a term paper on a touch-screen virtual keyboard, but I would rather edit graphics with an accurate multi-touch display.
Most touch-screen devices are tablets or convertible tablets, but there are some exceptions that are notable. These touch-screen PCs are fully functioning and quite powerful desktops that require little sacrifice from users. But which ones are the best? Let’s find out.
HP has been a leader in touch-screen desktop PCs for some time. Their TouchSmart series of all-in-ones has stood out of the crowd based one two strengths. One is the quality of the touchscreen, had traditionally been available at a high resolution and with very accurate touch input. The other is the built-in software that ships with the TouchSmart line, which is designed to take advantage of touch inputs.
The new TouchSmart 610 continues these strengths and it adds one unique and interesting feature; a stand that make it possible to move the all-in-one from an upright position to a reclined, 60 degree position. Reclining the all-in-one makes it easier to you the touch-screen while standing, which happens more often than you’d think with this kind of device.
Awesome stand aside, the TouchSmart 610 is otherwise a very solid all-in-one. It offers Intel processors, a 23″ display with 1080p resolution, and a starting price of just $899.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive but capable all-in-one with a multi-touch touch-screen display, the ASUS Eee Top is waiting for you. A relatively small desktop, the Eee Top’s display is limited to 20 inches. It still manages a display resolution of 1600×900, however, which is more than sufficient for most users. The fact that the touch-screen is indeed multi-touch capable and quite accurate is a boon.
Inside the Eee Top ET2010 you’ll find a Athlon dual-core processor and Radeon 5470 graphics. While the dual-core Athlons are trailing the Intel options badly these days, the graphics are far superior to what you’ll find in an Intel computer that doesn’t add its own discrete graphics card.
The pricing is also an advantage. The ASUS Eee Top ET2010AGT is usually sold for somewhere between $650 and $700. That’s a great entry-level price. If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with an Eee Top.
Although best know for its laptops, Lenovo has a substantial desktop presence that it is aggressively expanding. It expansion has happened thanks to the introduction of new products that are cutting edge but consumer focused – and the A700 is one such product.
This touch-screen PC has a 23″ multi-touch display with 1080p resolution, the same as the more recently announced HP TouchSmart 610. However, the IdeaCentre A700 ships with more powerful hardware in its standard configuration; a Core i5 dual-core processor powers this large all-in-one, giving it the chops to hang with any competitor. It even has a TV tuner. Considering the A700′s price of just over $900 the Ideacentre looks like a performance bargain.
Well, that’s not the whole story. The A700 is fast, but it lacks the special reclining stand of the TouchSmart 610, and the software suite is inferior. The A700 is really better suited to use as a HDTV, while the TouchSmart 610 is better in a public area where it will often be used by people both standing and sitting.