HP’s first Windows 8 AIO is a stylish one.
Benchmarks & Performance
It’s great to have a PC that saves on space and looks good, but if it can’t perform well then it becomes just a glorified paperweight. The Spectre One ran through our regular benchmarks fairly quickly, but fell a bit behind in certain tests that demanded a more capable processor/graphics combo.
Of course I do more with my PC than just run benchmarks, so it was time to put the Spectre One through its paces. My first weapon of choice was Guild Wars 2 cranked up to the maximum settings. The scenery and world rendered beautifully, but I had shocking framerates of about 14fps on high settings, with serious lag when navigating through the world. I next fired up the click-intensive Diablo III on max settings as well, which yielded about 32fps when exploring levels, dropping to 24fps when there was a lot of action on screen. Running either game for more than forty minutes though caused the Spectre One to crank up its fans a bit, as I’ve seen with other AIO PCs I’ve tested.
Run other non-graphic intensive programs on the Spectre One and you’ll be in safe hands – the Core i5 processor does everything from spreadsheets to basic Photoshop, and the included 1TB drive means that there’s enough room to store whatever you need. A rather interesting feature with the Spectre One is the inclusion of an NFC spot on the base of the unit, which you can supposedly configure with the built in app to do a variety of things. You can share content, web sites, and even logon to the Spectre One just by tapping a registered NFC device. At times it seems more of a gimmick, but logging on just by tapping your configured smartphone is definitely a bonus.
Screen and UI
With a screen as tempting as the one on the Spectre One, I naturally had to try out some videos and games on it. Video playback was flawless, with colors coming up sharp and vivid. The system had no issues playing back Blue-ray discs via an external drive with zero interruptions, as well as HD streaming video. Games also looked great, with even the dark dungeons of Diablo III showing up clearly. The HDMI In port at the back is also useful for connecting other devices such as a game console or DVD player, so you can use the Spectre One as a regular screen. Windows 8 looked great on the Spectre One, and its snap-happy interface really shines here.
As mentioned before, HP have chosen not to use a touchscreen in the Spectre One which some may see as a peculiar omission given that the unit ships with Windows 8, but as explained in the next section HP have found an alternative way to get around the OS.
Bundled software was kept to the minimum, which was good to see. HP have cheekily installed what they call “HP Quick Start”, which mimics the much-loved Start Menu that was axed in Windows 8. If you pin this program to the beginning of your taskbar, it almost feels like you have the Start button again. There’s also My Display to tweak some of the display settings for optimal viewing, as well as a bundle subscription to Norton Internet Security.