- Review Date: 12/24/2012
- Bottom line: Other system manufacturers have narrowed HP's lead in the touch screen desktop race, but the HP ENVY 23-060qd 060qd touch-screen all-in-one desktop still provides a lot of PC for the price.
- Pros: 1080p HD screen. 10-point touch. Good ergonomics. Discrete graphics. HDMI-in. 12GB of system memory. 3TB hard drive.
- Cons: Glossy screen. USB 2.0 ports. External power brick.
The HP Envy 23-d060qd TouchSmart ($1,720 direct) is HP's latest evolution of its veteran all-in-one PC line. Filled to the brim with technology, the ENVY 23-060qd TouchSmart is a built-to-order system with a speedy quad-core processor, upgraded 3D graphics, loads of system memory, a huge hard drive, and that 1080p 10-finger touch screen. It has all the specs to keep a speeds-and-feeds nut drooling, but it also has the touch interface to take advantage of Windows 8 on a desktop. Competitors have narrowed the once vast lead HP had with its TouchSmart PCs, but HP shows that it can still produce very good touch PCs when you are willing to spend some of your hard-earned cash.
Design and Features
Sporting a design evolving from the older HP Omni 27-1015t, the ENVY 23-d060qd TouchSmart hops to the next logical step. Since Windows 8 on the desktop really only comes alive when paired with a touch screen, the ENVY 23-d060qd comes with a full 10-finger capacitive touch screen that's quick, responsive, and has a full edge-to-edge flush glass surface. This is an improvement over older optical touch screens like the one on the HP TouchSmart 620-1080 3D. That screen comes in with 1080p full HD 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, giving you the full screen you need when viewing HD videos online or using the included Blu-ray player. The screen can also be used with a game console like an Xbox 360
The screen tilts back a decent amount, enough to make it easy to touch the screen from a seated or standing position, though it doesn't tilt back far enough for full time use. The older, more complex design on the HP 620-3D lets you use the touch screen full time. That said, the Envy 23-060qd does tilt back further than the Editors' Choice Asus ET2701INKI-B046C. Alleviating the Envy 23-d060qd's shorter tilt are the included wireless keyboard and mouse. You can use the mouse for precision tasks (like selecting text) and use the touch screen for broad navigation and Windows 8 gestures. The Envy 23-060qd's screen is rock steady while using the touch screen, something that can't be said for some laptops and desktops with touch screens.
In addition to the HDMI-in port and slot-loading Blu-ray drive on the right, the Envy 23-d060qd comes with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, audio jacks, and a SD card reader on the left. The system's four USB 2.0 ports, power, and Ethernet are on the system's back panel. The system uses an external power brick, so make sure you have space for it. We'd have preferred the four USB ports in the back to be USB 3.0 as well to alleviate confusion, but that said, having the USB 3.0 ports on the side are more convenient for connecting portable drives and USB memory keys. The headphone jack and speakers are Beats Audio branded, and sound from the speakers was sufficient for home office or den use. The system comes with a subwoofer-out port, which can be used with a third party subwoofer or HP's Pulse subwoofer ($130 list). In our testing, the HP Pulse subwoofer helps, but we'd deem it necessary only if you're using the Envy 23-d060qd as your primary entertainment source, like in a teen's bedroom, college dorm, or small apartment.
The system comes with a few added programs, including eBay, Snapfish (HP Connected Photo), and the like. They are mostly relegated to tiles in the Windows 8 interface, where they help populate that screen to make it less empty than a stock Win 8 system. There are a couple of icons on the desktop mode, but they are easily tossed in the recycle bin. Gone is HP's former TouchSmart mode, but new users probably won't miss that screen, as it was an added interface to make Windows Vista and Windows 7 more touch-friendly.
The Envy 23-d060qd comes with 12GB of DDR3 system memory (upgradable to 16GB), a 3TB 7,200rpm SATA hard drive, a quad core Intel Core i7-3770S processor, and 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics. Though upgradable to 16GB of memory, you probably will never have to upgrade, as 12GB is certainly enough for home and enthusiast use for the 5 to 7 years you plan on keeping the Envy 23-d060qd. Likewise 3TB is enough to keep a family's photos, videos, and music together, any more and we'd suggest buying a NAS (network attached storage) drive to share your digital life with the family. The HP ENVY 23-d060qd's benchmark scores were decent, though they lagged slightly behind the former high-end Editors' Choice Dell XPS One 27 and the Asus ET2701INKI-B046C on the general PCMark 7 test, which tests day-to-day scenarios. The HP Envy was competitive with the current high-end Editors' Choice Apple iMac 27-inch (Late 2012) on the multimedia benchmark tests. The Envy 23-060qd should feel fast enough for most of its usable life.
The HP Envy 23-060qd TouchSmart comes in with most of the features that you'd want on a high end all-in-one desktop: a large 1080p HD screen, 10 finger touch, a large hard drive and lots of system memory that you won't have to upgrade anytime soon, wireless everything, and even a Blu-ray player for your movies. The USB 3.0 ports are convenient, and the screen is rock solid when used as a touch screen. However, systems that lean back closer to a flat angle like the older TouchSmart 620 3D are more comfortable for touch screen use full time. Plus, with the advent of Windows 8, other systems like the Asus Aspire 7600U (A7600U-UR308) are competitive on a usability basis, though the HP outclasses the Asus on the system memory, processor, and hard drive capacity fronts.
This review is in partership with PCMag.com.