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Leaves a small footprint

HP’s computer takes on the iMac in terms of design but is inexpensive and easy to use.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2011 17:04 IST
Rossi Fernande

Every once in a while, a company decides to come up with new products that are catered for the less tech savvy. The new HP Dreamscreen 400 is one such innovation that is aimed at the masses who aren’t yet familiar with computers or the Internet.

The Dreamscreen is an all-in-one PC. It comes with an 18.5-inch touchscreen that supports a resolution of 1366x768. Like Apple’s iMac, the entire computer fits into a single piece of moulded plastic. It’s very sturdy and the stand setup is elegantly designed.

The computer has plenty of connectivity options – most of them are found on the left side of the screen. There are two USB ports along with an SD and Sony MS card reader. More USB ports at the rear, Ethernet and Wi-Fi complete the set. Inside, there’s a 250GB hard drive stowed away inside the machine. The Dreamscreen runs a modified Linux (operating system) distribution, but it’s not easy to tell. The on-screen keyboard has support for various layouts including Hindi. Not all the applications are ported to Hindi though.

Everything about the Dreamscreen has been designed to be easy to use. Users can create new accounts by clicking on one of the empty slots shown on the login page. There’s even a video tutorial on how to configure the Dreamscreen and use all of its features.
Although you can’t install your own apps, the computer has a ton of features. You can do everything from booking tickets and paying your bills to even visiting temples virtually using the Live Darshan feature. Educational content and horoscopes are also available. The media player is pretty simple too. HP has also bundled a lot of content such as recent Bollywood movies.

The Dreamscreen boots up from a complete power off state to the login screen in under 45 seconds, which isn’t as quick we’d like. The screen quality is decent – contrast is good, colour rendition natural and the viewing angles usable. The OS performs well for the most part, but performance does take a hit while browsing through a large photo gallery.

Although of the resistive type, the screen is surprisingly accurate and works in sync with the interface. The speakers aren’t very loud, but they’re sufficient.

What we like
Extremely easy to use
Great design
Decent performance

What we don’t
No option to install programs
Average keyboard and mouse

The HP Dreamscreen 400 sells for R 19,999, which is a very good deal. Remember that the Dreamscreen is designed not for the computer literate, but for the mainstream Indian household, which doesn’t have much familiarity with computers. There are users who are somewhat fearful of PCs, and need something that is very basic. The Dreamscreen, with its lack of taskbars, buttons and settings is catered to them. Keeping that premise in mind, the Dreamscreen 400 hits the bull’s eye.