I’ve used all-in-one PCs for desktop computing for more the last six-months and am quite pleased with the latest iterations of an old computing form factor.
The two machines I’ve been pounding on are a Gateway One and Hewlett Packard’s TouchSmart IQ 506T. The Gateway One was and is a solid performer with outstanding audio. I only had one easily fixed problem (the mouse died and a replacement was arrived two days after I called them about the problem. I still stand firmly behins my recommendation for this free standing PC which is designed around its LCD screen.
The second all-in-one is the machine I really love, the HP TouchSmart IQ506T with a brilliant 22-inch screen. In five months of daily and nightly use the only problem I’ve encountered can be honestly categorized as “gross user error”
A family member using my TouchSmart inserted a USB drive that was infected with an evil virus. By the time I caught the virus, it was hop scotching through my registry and startup files, raising Hell.
A quick call to HP’s dedicated TouchSmart technical support team got me on the right track and an even faster call to Symantec’s tech support call center killed the bug and fixed my PC.
I’m still very happy with my HP TouchSmart and have advised several friends to buy this system when it’s time to replace their desktop PCs.
But overall there are several things manufacturers such as HP, Gateway, Dell, Sony and others should do to improve this class of computer:
1 Immediately scrap the thin keyboards that are standard with virtually every all-in-one PC and replace them with keyboards that are more durable, and offer better user feedback. The keyboards used on Apple’s iMac line, which have greater tactile feedback and slightly longer keystroke throw are the gold standard for the all-in-one category.
2 Stay in synch with advances in portable computer graphics technology by adding multiple graphics processors to any all-in-one desktop marketed to consumers. GPU technology would also benefit from 4GB standard memory configurations.
3 Give consumers more reasons to use the integrated video (web) cameras and stereo microphones that ship standard with virtually every all-in-one desktop. The first step in this process is to incorporate more capable and higher resolution cameras.
4 Bundle video editing software that’s as easy and capable as Apple’s iMovie application. Simple video editing tools like “wipes” and a variety of “dissolves” would go a very long way to help consumers use their all-in-one PCs for video.
5 Find, license and bundle software that can be used to create video greeting cards. Every time I think of, or hear about such programs I have to firmly reign back my mental list of corporate entities who could benefit from private labeled versions of such applications.
With the exception of my comment about keyboards, these same suggestions apply equally to any notebook marketed to the consumers, students and small businesses.
I have a strong suspicion we’ll see a slew of new all-in-ones and beefed up notebooks introduced early next year at CES. Stay tuned and let’s see how on target my suggestions are.—Jim Forbes 11/12/2008.