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.