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4 Cool Touchscreen Computers

Check out these four second-generation touchscreen desktops, and find out which one is right for you.
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When all-in-one touchscreen desktops debuted a couple of years ago, they were criticized for being sluggish and not responding well to gestures. These second-generation machines, all of which run on the Windows 7 operating system, come with faster processors and more responsive screens. We tested four of them to see how they stack up. 

Sony VAIO L Series 

Our top pick, the Vaio registered every touch, swipe, and tap during our test. It took just six seconds to swipe through a 15-page PDF. We downloaded a 350MB file in 23 seconds, comparable to the other machines here. Videos looked colorful on the bright 24-inch screen, and music sounded rich. The computer, which has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, comes with a few touch-enabled apps, including a media player.

Cost: $1,230 for a system with an Intel Core i5 2.4GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive - 4 Out of 4

Dell Inspiron One 2320

A close runner-up, this computer's 23-inch touchscreen, which tilts back as much as 35 degrees, was the most responsive of the bunch. During our test, we swiped through a 15-page PDF in six seconds. Videos and photos looked vibrant on the screen, and music sounded clear, though the bass was lacking. The computer comes with several touch-enabled apps, including one for operating its 1-megapixel webcam.

Cost: $1,250 for a system with an Intel Core i5 2.5GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 2TB hard drive- 3 Out of 4

HP TouchSmart Elite 7320

It took about 10 seconds to swipe through a 15-page PDF on the TouchSmart's highly responsive 21.5-inch screen, which tilts back up to 30 degrees. On the downside, photos and videos looked washed out, and songs sounded a bit distorted. The TouchSmart comes with a variety of touch-friendly apps, including one for operating its 2-megapixel webcam. Unlike the other desktops here, it does not have HDMI ports for peripherals.

Cost: $949 for a system with an Intel Core i5 2.5GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive- 2 Out of 4

Samsung Series 7

This desktop, which has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, can lie flat for playing games, sketching, or collaborating. Another nifty feature: You can drag icons for Windows programs into the Touch Launcher and open them with the press of a finger. It took nine seconds to swipe through a 15-page PDF on the 23-inch screen, which also responded well to taps but did not always register flicks. Sound and image quality were just so-so.

Cost: $1,199 for an Intel Core i5 2.7GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive- 2 Out of 4

Before you buy: Touchscreen all-in-one desktops tend to be pricier than standard PCs. The machines are well suited for designers, multimedia producers, and frequent collaborators.

From the December 2011 issue of Inc. magazine

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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