capsule review

HP TouchSmart 620 3D: 3D Falls Flat

At a Glance
  • HP TouchSmart 620 3D Edition PC

    PCWorld Rating

    HP's first 3D all-in-one leaves much to be desired; big 3D fans may want to wait.

The HP TouchSmart 620 3D is HP’s first foray into 3D all-in-one territory--and, well, it could use some work. While the specs are decent (it has an i5 processor and an AMD Radeon graphics card), 3D playback is less than stellar. It has a funky webcam that lets you take both photos and video in 3D, though, and the system comes with a 3D Blu-ray drive and bundled 3D glasses to ensure a full 3D experience.

Our review model is priced at $1899, before a $300 instant rebate that’s available as of this writing (11/22/2011). It features a 3.10GHz Core i5-2400 processor, 8GB of installed RAM, an AMD Radeon 6670A graphics card, and a spacious 1.5TB hard drive. This AIO runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

The TouchSmart 620 3D performs better than another tested 23-inch AIO with 3D tech--the MSI AE2420 3D. In PCWorld's WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, the TouchSmart 620 3D posted a score of 137, while the MSI AE2420 3D boasts a lesser score of 118. But the TouchSmart trails the Lenovo IdeaCentre B520, which sits atop the Big Screen All-in-One category with its score of 156.

Graphics performance is fairly strong. In our Dirt 2 graphics test, the TouchSmart 620 3D eked out 31.1 frames per second at a resolution of 1680-by-1050 pixels and the highest settings. In Far Cry 2, it earned 27.8 fps on the same test. However, the aforementioned Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 earned 48.2 fps in Dirt 2, and 23.4 fps in Far Cry 2--but at the more-demanding 1920-by-1080 resolution (the TouchSmart 620 3D couldn’t keep up).

HP's 3D AIO has a basic all-in-one design--it's not too flashy or sexy, but it does have a solid base; it's relatively unassuming and will fit into pretty much any décor scheme. A solid, matte-black bezel surrounds the 23-inch glossy touchscreen. A small, silver HP logo sits in the lower left corner of the bezel, over the Beats Audio-enhanced speakers.

The TouchSmart 620 3D sits on a sturdy, shiny black stand--a welcome change from the weird, framelike stands we see on most other all-in-ones. This stand is not only solid and a bit bulkier than those stands, but I also find it more attractive. The screen can be adjusted by sliding it up and down on a track, which is surprisingly easy. For a seamless look, buttons and ports are all located on the sides and back of the machine.

The right side has a power button, as well as a slim Blu-ray disc slot with a physical eject button. On the left side are a few more buttons--a volume rocker and a mute button, as well as convenience ports: two USB 2.0 ports, a multiformat card reader, a headphone jack, and a line-in port.

The remaining ports are on the back of the machine, behind an inconvenient trapdoor. These ports are a hassle to get to, but they include the TV tuner (with audio--audio-out, subwoofer), two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot.

HP includes several peripherals with the TouchSmart 620 3D: a wireless keyboard, a wireless mouse, and wireless active-shutter 3D glasses.

The keyboard and mouse are pretty generic--the keyboard is flat, with widely-spaced Chiclet-style keys, and is comfortable to type on. The keyboard also has a few convenient media shorcut buttons, including standard volume controls and a "Beats Audio" button that turns on that feature to make audio a lot fuller and deeper. The mouse is your standard two-button unit with a rubbery scroll wheel. It's shiny and light, but a bit large and not especially comfortable to use. The mouse is also a little oversensitive, resulting in a jumpy cursor.

The active-shutter 3D glasses are about as comfortable as active-shutter glasses are going to get--which is not saying much. They're clunky and heavy, but they're lighter than Nvidia's 3D glasses.

The touchscreen is big, bright, and glossy, and has a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Its brightness is nice, but it does make colors look a little washed out. Off-axis viewing angles aren't great, and the screen is highly reflective. The touchscreen is mostly accurate, but not perfect, and sometimes unresponsive.

Regular HD video playback looks acceptable on the TouchSmart 620 3D, with only occasional artifacting. But I found 3D video playback less impressive.

In my tests, I watched a Tron Blu-ray disc provided for our review. 3D is relatively easy to set up, though the glasses might confuse you at first--they have no power button, and just turn on automatically when you point your head at the screen. Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well as HP might have planned, because in my tests the glasses turned off every time I moved my head. Actual video quality was sketchy as well--the 3D had little depth, and a lot of blurring (though text looked very clear). Upconversion from 2D was mediocre, again with little depth. And the glasses produced a lot of flickering.

Besides a 3D webcam, the TouchSmart has software for recording 3D video and taking 3D photos. The only drawback: If you use the webcam in 3D mode, you'll need to wear your 3D glasses to read the options and general text--so until you learn your way around the menus, you may end up with a lot of pictures of yourself wearing superstylish 3D shutter glasses.

Audio, on the other hand, is excellent. Whatever Beats Audio is doing to enhance sound is definitely working. The speakers, which are located below the screen, are typical: very loud, but a little tinny. However, once you turn on Beats Audio enhancement (via the Beats Audio button on your keyboard, or through the Beats Audio software on the desktop), the sound is excellent: full and deep, with lots of bass and excellent surround-sound replication.

At $1899 (or $1599, while that rebate lasts), HP's TouchSmart 620 3D is just a bit pricier than the Lenovo IdeaCentre B520. Both PCs offer a 3D experience, but Lenovo’s is equipped with an Nvidia graphics card, thereby offering up a more robust ecosystem with support for plenty of games and applications.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    HP's first 3D all-in-one leaves much to be desired; big 3D fans may want to wait.

    Pros

    • Bright screen looks great
    • Excellent audio

    Cons

    • 3D playback isn't great
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