Desktop reviews: HP TouchSmart 310z and the Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112
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If you're in the market for an all-in-one desktop, keep reading. Today we review two of these space-saving machines, the HP TouchSmart 310z and the Acer Aspire Z5700-U3112. Sure, the design saves you some real estate, but how well do they perform?
The HP TouchSmart 310z is an all-in-one desktop that also has touch-screen capabilities. While it does have a clean design and the novelty of a touch-screen, the 310z lacks in other areas. The 310z starts at $699.99 for its most basic configuration. It comes with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor.
The base configuration of the TouchSmart 310z that costs $699.99 comes with a 2.8 GHz AMD Athlon II 240e processor with 2MB of L2 cache. The processor's dual cores help when you want to run multiple applications simultaneously. Do not expect a ton of fast performance from this configuration, however. It will suffice for common tasks like Internet browsing, instant messaging, document editing, and multimedia. More intense tasks, such as media editing, may cause some performance hiccups. You can upgrade the processor on HP's website, as well as many other components, but that will cause the base price to balloon in a hurry. Extra multitasking help comes from 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM.
HP ships the standard 310z configuration with a 640 GB hard drive, which should be enough memory for most users. Graphics are supported by an ATI Radeon HD 4270 card. Since you only get integrated graphics, gaming will have to be casual. Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit is the operating system that comes pre-installed.
In addition to its main components, the 310z also comes with integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi so you can connect to the Internet wirelessly. A six-in-one memory card reader is included for transferring data easily between the computer and other digital devices like cameras. You can watch DVDs or listen to CDs using the built-in DVD drive. For video chatting, there's an integrated webcam that can be adjusted through tilting, as well as a microphone.
As indicated in its name, the TouchSmart 310z has touch-screen capability. You can perform multi-touch gestures such as the flick, press and drag, pinch, rotate, and more. The touch-screen functionality is probably the biggest selling point of the 310z; it may attract those looking for some computer interactivity in a kitchen setting. The 310z comes with 28 standard programs that utilize the touch interface, and you can download more applications through the Apps Center.
The all-in-one form factor of the TouchSmart 310z is another selling point for the product. Since it lacks a full desktop tower, some may see it as a space-saving option for their computing needs. In essence, it looks like a stand-alone monitor and has a clean appearance, with its black color scheme and subtle chrome accents. The 310z measures 20.5 inches wide by 16.2 inches tall by 4.7 inches deep, and can be tucked away neatly in a corner for easy use.
The 20-inch touch-screen display has a 16:9 aspect ratio. In addition to being responsive, the display offers vibrant graphics. The integrated speakers offer decent sound volume, although you will probably want to hook up external speakers if you plan to use the 310z as an entertainment piece. Connectivity is rather scarce; it begins with two USB ports, the media card reader, and headphone jacks on the side panels. The back houses three more USB ports, an Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and an input for a TV tuner. HDMI, FireWire, and eSATA are all absent.
Simply put, the HP TouchSmart 310z is not for everyone. Its touch-screen capabilities will attract some, as will the all-in-one form factor. However, others not seeking such characteristics will want to shop around for something that offers better performance, features, and connectivity.
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