December 21, 2012
- Sleek design
- All wireless peripherals
- High-quality display
- Solid performance
- No touch screen
The HP Spectre One is an eye-catching 23-inch Windows 8 desktop PC that has a very iMac-like design. It has an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, so it's definitely got enough power for almost anyone. Surprisingly it lacks a touch screen, which is really the only thing holding back this PC.
The design of the HP Spectre One, like we said, is designed to look similar to the Apple iMac. It has a square, flat plastic base and a curved stand that connects the 23-inch display to the base. We would have preferred to see it made of aluminum, but instead it is made of silver plastic that only looks like aluminum. The display is only 12 millimeters thick, so it's eye-pleasingly thin. The arched stand is where the computer's "guts" are, so it's a tad thicker than you'd expect.
Because this PC does not have a touch screen (more on that later), HP includes a wireless touch pad to make use of all the Windows 8 gestures and is designed to replace the mouse as your primary input device. HP still includes a wireless mouse, which we think is still easier to use than an external touch pad. The included wireless keyboard matches the touch pad and the rest of the PC. It's a slim chiclet-style keyboard that works well and the keys are fairly well-sized. Some of the infrequently used keys are missing in order to keep the size small.
The 23.6-inch display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels and looked great in our subjective review. Watching streaming HD videos resulted in vibrant colors and good black levels. The display would have gone perfectly with a touch screen, but HP oddly chose to leave that out. This decision is rather mystifying to us, especially since almost every other Windows 8 all-in-one does have a touch screen.
For ports, the HP Spectre One has two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI-input, Ethernet and an SD memory card reader. There is also built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The HDMI-input is useful because you can use the 23-inch display for a cable TV box, video game console, etc.
One unique feature is the built-in NFC (Near-Field Communication) receiver, which is rather new and still uncommon on the market today. NFC allows you to interact with NFC-enabled smart phones or other devices. HP includes two NFC tags for you to use however you want. One possible use it to use them as a login "card" by just swiping them over the NFC receiver icon on the computer's chassis and it will automatically log you into Windows 8. The NFC receiver is optional and does not come standard.
Our review unit included a 2.9GHz Intel Core i5-3470T CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and Nvidia GeForce 610 graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. For about $300 more, you can get an upgrade to 10GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 CPU. In our real world use, we found the HP Spectre One to perform very well. Streaming HD movies and doing the typical multitasking worked without any issues.
The Nvidia graphics card, while it is discrete, is not the most powerful available by any means. It certainly won't be able to handle the latest or any future 3D games but it can decently handle older 3D games without too much trouble.
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