Review: HP Envy Recline 23 TouchSmart all-in-one desktop

Tower computers are mostly dead, and the all-in-one is in, and HP is here to show Windows PC makers how to do it, bundling in speed, a touchscreen, and a stand that makes it possible to use your computer in more ways than just the traditional ones.

Features

All-in-ones are generally replacing the traditional desktop thanks to their ability to take up less space, and HP’s latest take on the formula attempts to improve on that by incorporating technology from the past year in a positive way.

Inside this computer, you’ll find HP is using the latest generation of Intel processors, with the fourth-generation quad-core Core i7 4770T clocked at 2.5GHz, working alongside 16GB RAM, a 16GB solid-state drive working behind the scenes that you can’t touch, and a 1TB hard drive that you totally can play with and install onto.

Two graphics options are provided on this computer, with Intel’s HD4600 graphics chip provided for some things, and then NVidia’s GeForce GT730A graphics processor working with 1GB RAM for other activities, with the computer switching between them automatically.

Connections on this computer a reasonably plentiful, with two USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, a headset jack supporting headphone and microphone, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and even a port to let you plug a subwoofer directly into the computer.

Wireless is taken care of with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi (sorry, no 802.11ac here), Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel’s wireless display technology, also called WiDi. A memory card reader for SD cards is also located on the computer, just under the right side of the screen.

This sits under a 23 inch screen, supporting ten points of touch and running the resolution of 1920×1080, also known as Full HD.

With such a decent screen size, it would be a shame if you couldn’t use it for anything else, and fortunately you can, with a HDMI-in port included on the left edge of the screen, and the button to change over to the other device found under the bottom left edge.

Audio is provided by Beats Audio, which works in tandem with the speakers built into the screen, while a 720p webcam sits above the display along the top bezel, flanked on each side by microphones.

A wireless keyboard and mouse are included in the box, as is a DVB-T tuner USB dongle and remote control.

Performance

It doesn’t seem like it’s been all that long since we checked out what HP was cooking in the big touchscreen space.

Back in September of last year, we took a look at the Envy Rove 20, a not-quite-all-in-one that was closer to being called a tablet, even if it wasn’t remotely portable. That product brought together an Intel Core i3 processor, 1TB hard drive, 8GB RAM, WiFi, SD card slot, and more, and threw it under a 20 inch display, making it a positively massive tablet and the biggest we had ever seen.

But the specs just didn’t make sense, and with a mediocre screen and low performance, the system didn’t feel right, which affected our score, giving it merely three stars.

Fast forward to now and HP is trying it again, no longer approaching the idea of a big tablet as just that, and shifting the principle to something a little more usable in the home.

Moving on from a humongous handheld, the Envy 23 is an all-in-one, shaped like some of the models we’ve seen from competitors such as Apple and Toshiba, but keeping the touchscreen and enlarging it to fit a 23 inch size.

HP has also increased the resolution, dragging it from the depths that are 900p (1600×900) and just barely above what we called high definition or “HD,” and moving it to the Full HD resolution of 1920×1080.

The design is interesting enough that it will fit in on a clean desk, though HP’s decision to place a few of the ports on the side of the stand could bug people when it comes to keeping the cables looking neat.

The remaining ports are on either side of the monitor, with two USB on the right side and a headset and HDMI port on the left side.

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