capsule review

HP TouchSmart 310: Media-Savvy Multitouch Machine

At a Glance
  • HP TouchSmart 310

    PCWorld Rating

    The HP TouchSmart 310 balances polish and performance, with a simple touch interface that belies a capable PC.

The HP TouchSmart 310 ($1160, as of November 11, 2010) is a multitouch-capable jack-of-all trades designed to do a little bit of everything. How well it succeeds depends on your needs, but this 20-inch all-in-one is equally adept at streaming movies and slinging spreadsheets.

The TouchSmart 310 earned a 94 in our WorldBench 6 suite of tests, outperforming competing all-in-ones such as the Gateway ZX4800-06 and the MSI Wind Top AE2010 (which earned scores of 84 and 60, respectively). That said, it fell short of the 104 posted by HP's own All-In-One 200.

Our review unit came equipped with a 2.5GHz Athlon X4 615e CPU, 6GB of DDR3 RAM, and ATI Radeon HD 4270 graphics. The TouchSmart 310 handles television and movies with aplomb, but gamers shouldn't expect to play anything more demanding than simple Flash games: The TouchSmart 310 chugged through our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark tests (at its maximum 1024 by 768 resolution) at an unplayable average frame rate of 20 frames per second. (The All-In-One 200, the Gateway ZX4800-06, and other models in this category similarly failed to sustain playable frame rates.)

The TouchSmart 310 retains the simple aesthetics that define the TouchSmart line, starting with a streamlined 20-inch display encased in black and chrome. Its touchscreen is the all-in-one's primary selling point, and in our tests HP's functional multitouch-capable display responded quickly to touch input.

HP bundled the latest version of its TouchSmart software, which upholds the TouchSmart tradition of user-friendliness. An overlay offers a layer of finger-friendly customizable apps (including services such as Netflix and Twitter), that simplify navigation and interaction with the PC. TouchSmart software encourages quick and simple browsing of photos, recipes, and social networks with a flick of a finger, making the TouchSmart 310 well suited for service as a family PC.

Unfortunately, using the touchscreen to type or to browse the Internet is more trouble than it's worth. But you can plug in a mouse and a keyboard to make workstation chores--answering e-mail, editing documents, and the like--less burdensome. Alas, the peripherals bundled with the TouchSmart 310 aren't wireless--a feature we've come to expect with all-in-ones.

The TouchSmart 310 is designed to function as a midlevel media center: Its recessed DVD burner complements a 1TB hard drive and an SD Card reader. Video playback looked great on the 20-inch touchscreen, though the maximum resolution of 1600 by 900 can't deliver true 1080p fidelity.

In addition to the aforementioned optical drive and card reader, the SmartTouch 310 sports line-in and headphone jacks in the right panel, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports in the left. On the rear of the unit, you'll find four more USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and a built-in TV tuner. An integrated Webcam/microphone combo peeks out from atop the 20-inch display, and you can plug in a separate infrared sensor if you prefer to use a handheld remote with your media center.

The price of our review unit seems a bit steep for the hardware you get, but that's hardly unusual for an all-in-one PC. Touch controls are still a luxury, and you're paying for convenience here, not performance. The HP TouchSmart 310 functions equally well as a workstation, a family PC, or a media center; and it does it all from within a compact and attractive case that looks as much at home on your desk as on your kitchen counter.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The HP TouchSmart 310 balances polish and performance, with a simple touch interface that belies a capable PC.

    Pros

    • Impressive multitouch interface
    • Integrated HDTV tuner

    Cons

    • Frustrating port placement
    • No true 1080p display
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.