HP’s first Windows 8 AIO is a stylish one.
Editor’s Note:Updated on 08/11/12 to include review of the bundled trackpad which was not available when this review was originally published.
Try as I might, I can’t seem to get my office space organized. Hiding behind my monitor are stacks of graphics cards and old press releases. Under my desk sits my PC case which has been saddled with boxes containing old motherboards, prehistoric mobile phones, and other digital paraphernalia. Not to mention the number of cables. Cables EVERYWHERE – some for power, some are USB hubs, cables for my wireless keyboard transmitter, and so many more. So it’s no wonder that people are looking to minimize the amount of clutter on their desks by in turn minimizing the size of their PCs. Short from jumping onto a laptop, manufacturers have been trying to build small PCs that can still perform many of the daily tasks required, but have a smaller footprint. But while these smaller PCs are compact, they often lack processing power for more intensive activities such as gaming or working with digital content. To a power user such as myself, I need to have a PC that offers me plenty of processing and storage options, or I will physically hurt somebody. Which is probably why I’ve taken a liking to the new lineup of All In One systems that have trooped into our offices lately. These AIO PCs are often sleek and stylish, hiding most of the PC components behind the screen or in the base of the unit, thus eliminating the need for an unsightly PC case to sit beneath your desk. The latest AIO unit to arrive is the recently announced HP Spectre One, and I couldn’t wait to see how it stacked up against the competition.
Build quality & design
While HP has been producing AIO PCs for some time now, the Spectre One is HP’s first AIO in the Spectre lineup – a lineup that offers a ‘premium’ look and feel, and attempts to ooze sophistication. The Spectre One is certainly a looker, with its screen measuring just 11.5mm thick. Although most AIOs are touch-enabled, HP surprisingly decided not to do this with the Spectre One, citing that touch abilities would add up to five extra millimeters to the thickness, which they were not willing to accept. The 23.6 inch screen is held up by a curved back, which allows the screen to tilt by several degrees. It won’t fold down flat since it’s not touch enabled, but you’re sure to find a comfortable angle at which to use the Spectre One.
The curved back is where all of the Spectre One’s essentials are hidden away. The back plastic plate is held in place by a few magnets, and easily comes away to reveal a rather compact motherboard and access to some of the PC’s internals.
Ports are dispersed all around the Spectre One, with the left of the base being home to the memory card reader and headphone jack, while two USB ports sit on the right side. At the back you can find ports for power, Ethernet, USB, and HDMI In. It’s a decent selection of ports, and thankfully the two side USB ports means that you don’t have to go hunting at the back to plug things in, like I’ve seen in other AIOs.
The Spectre One is built mostly of silver plastic that keeps fingerprints at bay but at the same time doesn’t quite make it feel like ‘Spectre’ material. While its laptop cousins boast brushed aluminum and other fine design tweaks, the Spectre One while beautiful to look at, feels a little dull (or maybe I just have ridiculously high standards).
HP kitted the Spectre One with a decent set of specifications, bundling a 16GB SSD for the OS and a 1TB HDD for storage space. Powering the Spectre One is the Intel i5-3570T CPU clocking in at 2.3GHz, while graphics are supplied by the NVIDIA GeForce 610 with 1GB of RAM. The Spectre One tries to compete with other AIO PCs, but doesn’t quite match up to the power of say the Lenovo A720 that we reviewed earlier. Still, for what it’s worth the Spectre One packs a convincing amount of hardware under its innocent exterior.