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HP SpectreONE review


A stylish, high-quality desktop all-in-one that’s pipped to the post by the iMac that inspired it

Review Date: 14 Dec 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £1,000 (£1,200 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

5 stars out of 6

HP reserves the Spectre name for its top-end, premium products, and there’s no denying the SpectreONE fits the bill. Glance at this all-in-one, though, and you could be forgiven for thinking it isn’t an HP device at all – from its silver stand to its stylish accessories, it looks just like the latest from Apple’s production line.

Thankfully, the SpectreONE soon begins to impress on its own terms. The screen is only 14mm thick, and the curved stand isn’t much chunkier. The base narrows to a 4mm front edge, and the entire system looks very smart indeed.

HP SpectreONE

There’s no touchscreen, but HP hasn’t left Windows 8’s finger-friendly features completely by the wayside. Included alongside the wireless keyboard and mouse is a huge, clicky touchpad. Again, it looks more like something Apple might have produced, but here it supports the full range of Windows 8 gestures.

Two-fingered scrolling sees the Start screen and its apps moving smoothly from side to side, pinch-to-zoom works well, and edge-swipes function exactly as you’d expect. Pulling a finger in from the right opens the Charms menu, stroking from the left switches between open applications, and brushing in from the top opens the options menu at the bottom of the screen. The two buttons built into the bottom corners of the pad are responsive, too.

If you don’t get on with the touchpad, the mouse also has some touch-based features. A small touch area sits between its two buttons, and gives a light buzz as you stroke a finger up and down it. It doesn’t work as well as the touchpad though – the scrolling motion is inconsistent – and the lack of Windows 8 shortcut keys on the wireless keyboard is also disappointing; a shame, as the sensible layout and cushioned key strokes make for comfortable typing.

HP SpectreONE

As is becoming increasingly common these days, the SpectreONE lacks conventional media features such as an optical drive and TV tuner. You can stream audio and video to the system from a smartphone or tablet, though. The HP makes clever use of NFC (near-field communication) here to quickly pair the devices and establish a direct Wi-Fi link between them, after which content can be streamed back and forth. You can also use the NFC on your phone to log in, just by tapping it to the HP’s “TouchZone” on the base.

There are issues, though. You have to download a companion app, which is only available on phones running Android 4 or later, and we found performance patchy. Logging in worked perfectly, as did audio streaming, but we couldn’t get movie files to stream at all. The speakers don’t help the HP’s media credentials: there’s lots of bass, but the rest of the range sounds muffled and lacks nuance.

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User comments

Why this beats a Mac

The OS. OSX is hopeless. People make excuses for it, but it is fugly and out of date. Mac hardware is good, but by the time you have put Windows on it, it is priced out of the market

By Philip on 14 Dec 2012

Why this obsession with thinness?

Does anyone really care if the screen is 14mm thick?

For a few mm more you could have a top notch 27" screen and a faster base unit.

By tirons1 on 14 Dec 2012

Nothing will ever get better ratings than Macs

No matter how good this is it will never get better ratings than a Mac on this site.
Cnet will look much more closely for any flaws than it will with a Mac it so so biased.
No mention how much the equivalent Mac would cost but suspect quite lot more.
So this a much better buy for price.

By curiousclive on 15 Dec 2012


Why ONLY compare this to the mac? Lenovo and others make all-in-ones so why just the mac?

Biased much and blatant maneuvering towards buying the Apple product.

By rhythm on 15 Dec 2012

There is no Mac equivalent

The Macs have larger or smaller screens. For the money you could always get a 27" Dell though.

By tirons1 on 15 Dec 2012

I had a play with this and the Lenovo A720 at a recent show. I was very impressed with both but the Lenovo with it's massive touch screen and higher specs looks to be the better value (just!).

At £1200, I think this is just a bit too expensive for what's inside.

Looking forward to a review of a refreshed Windows 8 Lenovo A720 to see how they compare. Currently, the top end A720 is ~£1500 but that is i7, 8GB, 27" screen and Blue-Ray.

On the Mac question, this could have beaten it hands down if HP weren't so tight with the Spec. At this money, I would have expected a little more in CPU, RAM and graphics. At £1200 is it too much to ask for i7 and 8GB RAM?

By onegin101 on 17 Dec 2012

At that money I would expect a proper keyboard.

By james016 on 17 Dec 2012

At that money I would expect a proper keyboard.

By james016 on 17 Dec 2012

Not good enough for the money

Although a slightly bigger screen than the closest priced iMac (£1200 versus £1249) I've been reading around the web that the HP clone has a plastic feeling keyboard, poorer speakers and of course it has less RAM and a slower GPU. On that basis I'd rather pay the 'extra' £49 for the Mac. By the way does anyone know if this HP has an IPS panel?

By pveater on 17 Dec 2012

Expensive, expensive, expensive...

Everybody loves Mac. Most important criticism about them is that they are said to be expensive. But anyone how want to compete with Apple with a product price is higher than Mac. Then this means that Macs are actually not expensive that if someone tries to build something like that end up with higher price (Dell, HP or Asus whoever tried that the same result...)

By HopeLESS on 17 Dec 2012


Seriously fella look at the review again. It has a worse graphics card than an iMac by quite a margin, a worse processor than the iMac, the screen isn't as good. And it is slightly more expensive. Are you not reading the same thing?

By TimoGunt on 19 Dec 2012

No it doesn't compete with Mac

The main thing that makes a Mac more expensive is the screen, and its much higher resolution. If you take that out of the equation you can buy a Mac mini for much less than half the price of this HP, add a decent screen, keyboard & mouse & you still have a cheaper, better system.

By johnspost on 20 Dec 2012

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