My beloved HP TouchSmart has been my primary computer for nearly two years now. I have put this sucker through its paces in that time, forcing it to do everything I need in a typical workday – video editing and processing, blogging and having a million browser tabs open at all times. Let’s not forget that I run a ton of (sometimes memory-hogging) applications every moment of my day as well, including OpenPandora, TweetDeck, Pidgin, mIRC and my email client. This machine has done me proud, and I have recommended it to a whole lot of people. The problem is, though, that I honestly never use the Touch functionality that this machine was designed for.

This baby sits upright on my desk. While I admit that it’s pretty cool to show off how easy it is to open, close and move things using a flick of my finger when friends visit, I use the mouse and keyboard 99.99% of the time. How the hell would I manage to actually blog all day long if I had to hold my arms out in front of me to type? How convenient would it be to have to reach up constantly and hope that the screen correctly picks up where my finger intended to go? I have long yearned for a touch-screen computer that somehow made it much easier for me to actually use. HP has tried to accommodate my dream with the introduction of their new “reclining” TouchSmart. However, I’m not so sure they’ve hit the mark.

This thing looks pretty damn sweet, eh? The screen isn’t any bigger than what I have now – on a two-year-old model. Sadly, we’re still stuck with 23″. The device reclines 60 degrees and tilts forward up to five degrees. That whole tilt and recline scheme is a huge plus, and one I’ve waited for. But as Michael Arrington pointed out, there are speakers at the bottom. Hello! Why would I want to rest my hands/wrists on the freaking speakers as I try to type on the virtual keyboard?

Sure, this new iteration comes pre-loaded with some nifty applications… but as usual, they aren’t necessarily the ones I would want. You’ll find Hulu, Twitter, Rhapsody and HP’s RecipeBox pre-installed for you. Gee, thanks. I’m a Pandora and Netflix user. Here we go with uninstalling a lot of bloat when the machine is booted up for the first time. Oh, right… that’s going to happen on every machine. How silly of me to forget. I digress…

I have to agree with Mike when he said that HP blew a pretty big chance with this one. Sure, I’d love to be able to recline the screen so that it’s easier to see and perhaps use. But the company had an opportunity to really make a difference… create a game-changer. This particular offering comes nowhere near that title, folks. Hopefully, they’ll come a little closer next time.

I’m in desperate need of a new machine, as the GPU in this one is dying. I’m literally saving up my pennies. However, the new HP TouchSmart 610 isn’t going to be the machine I plunk down my money on.