HotHardware's 2012 Back To School Shopping Guide

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HP Touchsmart 520

The TouchSmart 520-1070 is a fairly remarkable AIO equipped with high-end hardware and a robust selection of software, all of which comes wrapped in a 23-inch touchscreen display with a speaker bar blasting out Beats Audio. Any fears that HP's preoccupation with righting its ship would result in a degraded product line go right out the window when you run your finger down the 520's spec sheet, which includes an Intel Core i7 2600S processor clocked at 2.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a capacious 2TB hard drive, discrete graphics powered by AMD's Radeon HD 6450A GPU, and even a Blu-ray burner. Oh, and there's a TV tuner shoved inside too, for good measure.

These are low-power, desktop-class components crammed into an AIO form factor as part of a redesigned TouchSmart series meant to be "light, thin, and altogether stylish." Other than the part about this being a lightweight PC (the folks at HP must work out), HP delivers on its promises, and quite frankly exceeded our expectations. Our full review can be found here.


Dell XPS One 27

Dell's new XPS One 27, reviewed here, introduces a spacious and vibrant 27-inch display with a Wide Quad HD (WQHD) 2560x1440 resolution on a Samsung Plane to Line Switching (PLS) panel. It's absolutely gorgeous, more so than some professional monitors we've played with, and it's carrying an entire system in its belly.

The star of the show, however, is the 27-inch panel, qualifying the XPS One 27 as Dell's largest ever AIO system. It's a distinction that matters because there aren't very many 27-inch AIOs on the market, and because the display on this model is so darn good, graphics artists and professional photographers can join the AIO party without selling their soul to Apple.


Asus 23.6" ET2410

Asus envisions the ET2410 taking its place as the centerpiece of your domain, as long as you don't fancy yourself a gamer or overclocker. The Asus ET2410 is built to handle everyday tasks and multimedia projects. You can watch movies on the ET2410, burn DVDs, rock out to your favorite band, backup files to the web, and of course keep up with all your favorite social networks, all without ever having to use your mouse (if you don't want to).

Touchscreen computing on a relatively large screen got a whole lot more affordable, and the sub-$1,000 ET2410IUTS-B019C from Asus proves this. At $850, we hesitate to call this a budget machine, but it's at least affordable. It's also very attractive and will give the impression perhaps  that you spent a bit more than you actually did, especially when you fire it up for visitors and start tapping at the screen to load up your playlist, filling your living room with sound from the surprisingly capable integrated speakers. If you're interested, here's our full review.

Tags:  shopping, guide, school, gear

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inspector 2 years ago

Thanks for the guide. Not really looking to get most of these at this point. But i am looking to get a tablet. Do you think i should wait for a windows 8 tablet?

Also the accessory link on the introduction page is broken.

Dave_HH 2 years ago

You could wait for a Win 8 tab, sure. The ecosystem will likely time to catch up in terms of apps etc but it depends on what you want to do with it. And aghhh... yes, I saw that and fixed it but thanks for the heads-up! :)

AKnudson 2 years ago

The Transformer infinity is an incredible tablet, i have had some experience with the transformer line and the Infinity is top of the line, They aren't as fast as the Ipad 3 or as reliable but they are catching up pretty fast.

However the keyboard with the extra battery life adds alot of utility that makes the transformer line perfect for school work.

LKnudson 2 years ago

Having the extra battery life from the keyboard is amazing and the keyboard is convenient to carry around with the tablets.

rapid1 2 years ago

Hey Dave how long do you give it until every kid has one of these and there mandatory in public schools? I say 3 years 5 at the top but I would love to hear what you think!

Dave_HH 2 years ago

I think we're a long way from mandatory but my kids already have had access to the in elementary schools.

Giane 2 years ago

Indeed a very good shopping guide.

nicoletoledo 2 years ago

Sweet thanks but my kids wont be needing that for a while craons and paper for a whilem

mernerion 2 years ago

does the keyboard come with purchase?

pwrntspd 2 years ago

Great shopping guide Ray. I still havent bought into the whole ultrabook thing. Not that i wouldnt like one, just that the pricing and graphics available are a little...disappointing. Anyway when it comes to tablets Id like to wait and see how windows 8 tablets stack up, RT or x86. Either way the competition is bound to get more interesting in october.

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