Knowing the reputation (and price) the UltraSharp moniker commands, there would normally be little more to say than “immense IPS display”, “great image” but “prosumer price tag”. However, the UP3214Q’s defining feature isn’t its enormity, IPS panel, nor certainly the $3,500 sticker price. Rather, its most distinct feature is a glorious spread of 3840 x 2160 pixels which is, ironically, also the source of its biggest issues.
First, let's get something out of the way. Most of what's really new in Windows 8 relates to the Metro touch interface, which is Microsoft's biggest bet on this OS generation -- a bet that's risky but necessary given the company's lack of presence in the growing tablet market. This is also how the folks at Redmond have figured could give a needed boost to its smartphone business (“Windows everywhere”), which is well behind market leaders, iOS and Android.
This review is based on my experience with Windows 8 using a desktop, so I've been treating Windows 8 like most computer enthusiasts will: as a direct upgrade from Windows 7 on my custom-built machine, just like I did with Vista, XP, 2k, and other previous Windows releases.
I've been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for a few months and although I'm okay with Metro replacing the Start Menu, I hate seeing the new interface by default every time I reboot. When Windows 7 starts, you hit a login screen (assuming it's enabled) and then you're brought straight to the desktop.
When Windows 8 starts, it displays a lock screen that you have to move out of the way before entering your credentials, and then you have to dismiss the Metro interface before accessing the desktop. Like I said, I'm cool with Metro, but I have no desire to see a full-screen Start Menu when I log into my PC.
When Apple updated its notebook lineup earlier this month we were eager to find out how well the new MacBook Air stacked up next to a couple of Ultrabook alternatives. Turned out the so-called “Apple Tax” wasn’t as much of an issue as Apple detractors often claim.
Now we’re taking a look at another area of the PC market that’s experiencing healthy growth in recent times, comparing Apple’s 27-inch iMac to all-in-one alternatives from the likes of Dell, HP and newcomer Vizio. As we’ve said before, we don’t expect this comparison to be representative of the entire Apple Tax argument, but it will help paint a better picture as we contrast it with our previous findings.
HP supplied us with their TouchSmart model 520-1070 which they described as the star of their current all-in-one lineup that features a lighter, thinner design and an upgraded version of HP’s Magic Canvas software.
The 23-inch multi-touch AIO is powered by a 2nd generation Intel Core i7-2600S processor clocked at 2.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, Radeon HD 6450A graphics and Beats Audio. Additional perks include a built-in TV tuner and HDMI-in, essentially transforming the 520 into a venerable entertainment / gaming station.