On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, seven boxes filled with my HP giveaway goodies arrived in one astounding delivery at my doorstep. Per HP’s encouragement (and my brother’s, who had since arrived for the holidays and was salivating over each and every box), we opened it all up and checked most of it out.
Now if you look carefully at the picture above, you are probably mortified. Yep, that’s Thanksgiving leftovers surrounding that PC on the table. Sweet potatoes to the right and a turkey sandwich to the left. But in the middle of the picture sits the Touchsmart – too large to put anywhere but dead center of my dining room table. So, the Touchsmart enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with our family, who gathered around and tested it’s touchy waters – including my adorably tech-savvy five year old son pictured above in his PJs.
We had 10 adults visit my home over the Thanksgiving weekend. They all had different backgrounds although three are teachers and one, my brother, is an IT guy who happens to use HP products at his work. So we pulled out the 4 computers. Admittedly, I wouldn’t say we used any of them up to their full potential. A lot of email was checked. Lots of oohing and ahhing happened. At one point, all the guys were on the back porch with the HDX notebook. My brother had hooked up HD TV on it, and they were watching the game, beers in hand. The Touchsmart was taken over by the teachers, mothers and children. Educational websites were brought up and we all played online learning games along side singing, giggling children. Folks would often sneak off to curl up in a corner with the mini and my very classy, super hip sister in law has decided the Pavillion Entertainment PC is, in fact, all she wants for Christmas.
Gobble Gobble, my fam went techie this Thanksgiving.
Now, wouldn’t you know it – I took notes about what my family had to say about all these PCs over the weekend. And, as I am getting ready to send these boxes off to my winner, I thought I would share everyone’s thoughts with you now. Maybe this feedback will help you if you are in the market for a new computer.
Oh and wait. Big disclaimer here. Apart from sending me the hardware for this contest, HP (and other companies involved) did not reimburse me in any way for my participation in this competition. Yeah, I did get the HP Pavillion PC to review last summer (‘scuse me while I give it a quick appreciative hug), but if anything, you should trust my feedback since I use my Pavillion all day, every day.
1) The TouchSmart IQ816PC
First of all, it was heavy. So, we needed to find a very secure spot to set it up (hence my dining room table). That said, it was fairly easy to set up and it certainly was beautiful to look at. It gathered the holiday crowds – even the guys stepped away from the game for a minute to check it out. The picture was fabulous. Truly, it was breath-taking to watch. It has a very responsive to touch, you almost don’t even have to touch it and it will respond. We loved that it had an HD tuner included. There is a CD drive on the side and cool snap in drive pocket on top. The flat screen makes it a space saver, although it is as large as a TV screen. Overall, HP outdid itself with the “cool factor” on this one.
Cons? Well we all wondered what it would be best used for. It doesn’t seem practical as simply a regular PC. Your arm gets tired when you use the touchscreen option for too long and we wound up reverting to the mouse often. So this PC might be best used for demonstrations or display. Another big issue was the reflection. In fact, all of the computers had a very strong reflection. We kept having to turn the TouchSmart around to make sure no natural light was reflecting off of it. When it was placed facing towards a window, it was almost impossible to see during the day. And with all that touching, we worried how dirty it could get too – especially with children. Oh and a note about touching – my children saw that touching this computer screen was ok, and that made this parent a little nervous. I saw grape jelly finger prints in its near future if I didn’t fend my children off of it. Also, we couldn’t see any HD antennae with it which would make sense to have.
2) HDX 18 series Notebook
Again, this is a beautiful PC. Really, it is. It has a big screen which is very impressive to look at. If you are looking to get rid of your clunky home PC and laptop – and you need one overall good computer that is mobile – this is a great option. We loved the HD tuner and antennae. Its a lovely computer, very flashy and would make a fabulous all in one PC.
That being said, it is very big and very heavy. While, yes, it is a laptop, it is not something you would grab, throw under your arm or just throw in your briefcase and go. Its not an everyday portable type of PC. It can be moved, its nice and thin, but its heavy. Again, we had the same reflection issues with the screen.
3) The Pavillion Entertainment PC
This is what I have and (sigh) I love it. Although the model they sent (Dv4 series) seemed a little facier looking than mine – that may just be because it is a newer model. We all loved this one as a great laptop that has everything you need – especially for movie making and watching movies. All the external ports, serial ATAs and USBs are terrific. I also love that you can pop a media card directly into it. My brother noted that the HDMI out to the TV is great to have too.
Again, this PC does have a significant reflection. (I have gotten used to it on mine but avoid using my PC outside on my porch for that reason). My brother was disappointed that it doesn’t have a blue ray drive on it – but I don’t own any blue ray DVDs so that certainly isn’t something that bothers me. Also, this laptop and the HDX heat up on your lap. The fan is underneath so it feels hot fast. I always keep it on a table or lap tray if I am working on the couch.
4) The HP Mini 1000 with XP
We’re lucky this one made it back into its box, honestly. Everyone loved this PC – which surprised me. I thought the bigger, flashier ones would get them. Nope. My family loved how easy, small and light it was. It would be great for travel and it seemed to do a lot for its size. It was very fast and responsive. Folks appreciated the media card on this one too. Impressively, it has a full operating system. It has great resolution and is a very cool little laptop for sure.
However, users would need to get used to scrolling more often with a smaller screen. And they would need to get used to a small keyboard also. There is no CD rom, but what do you expect – its a mini! The track pad seemed a little too sensitive but maybe with some tinkering in options, that could be fixed.
We didn’t get a chance to try out the other parts of the prize package. Its just as well. I didn’t want to fall in love with anything more – after all, its not ours! And I certainly didn’t want the kids all over that TouchSmart any more than they were. My son even said “Mommy!!!! That Touchsmart is SO AWESOME!!!! You know why? I’m allowed to TOUCH it!!” SO COOL MOMMY!” And with that, I hastily packed it back into its box.
Thanks HP for the techie fun this Thanksgiving. But of course, I am more grateful for the opporitunity to send all of this someplace who will truly put it to good use. Congratulations again Moms Without Moms!
For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.