HP Envy 23 review
Less versatile than some, but a quality screen and a powerful specification make this an attractive alternative if more demanding applications are a priority
Review Date: 21 Mar 2013
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £875 (£1,050 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
All-in-ones usually look great, but the HP Envy 23 is one of the most stylish we've ever seen. The key to its success is its hinge-and-base arrangement: instead of a simple prop- or monitor-style stand, the Envy’s display connects to the slender base via a pair of tubular legs that extend down from the bottom corners and curve into the base’s sides.
It’s an eye-catching design, and one that’s matched by good build quality. Although it looks worryingly slight, the base anchors the machine solidly to the desk, and the tilting mechanism feels stiff and reliable.
The downside to this design is a lack of flexibility. Other machines have double-hinged stands that allow them to tilt and fold flat, but the HP Envy has a comparatively restricted range of movement. It’s enough for using the system as a main PC while sitting at a desk, but you can’t push it back far enough to comfortably use from a standing position.
The keyboard and mouse are middle-of-the-road units. The keyboard’s traditional design contrasts awkwardly with the Envy’s ultra-modern chassis, and the keys feel light and plasticky, with an indistinct action. As usual, the keyboard has no Windows 8-specific keys; we’ve no complaints about the mouse.
Screen and core performance
The Envy’s screen has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and quality is good. The colour accuracy is excellent, with an average Delta E of 3.3, ensuring images never look oversaturated or unnaturally cool or warm. For photo editing, it’s excellent; any flaws we did come across – such as a miniscule strip of backlight leakage along the bottom edge of the display, and a lowish maximum brightness of 208cd/m2 – are minor gripes.
You won’t be disappointed with performance, either. The system’s Core i5-3330S is a low-power part, but it’s one of Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge range of chips and has plenty to recommend it. It has a stock speed of 2.7GHz, a top Turbo Boost clock of 3.2GHz and 6MB of L3 cache – twice the amount that's included in slower Core i3 chips.
The HP’s application benchmark score of 0.8 is enough – when coupled with 6GB of RAM – to keep Windows 8 feeling nippy. We didn’t experience any sluggishness when navigating Windows 8’s Live Tiles and full-screen apps, and desktop mode was similarly responsive.
Physically, the Envy 23 is identical to the Hp520 Touchsmart released in 2011 but with upgraded internals. An alternative to using it freestanding is to mount it on an external swing arm (TV Brackets World offer a reasonably-priced long-throw arm). This has worked successfully for us in our kitchen environment with access to online recipes (yes!) as well as terrestrial TV, BBC iPlayer and Sky Go for entertainment. The stand is reversible (but not for the fainthearted) and allows the PC to park flush to the wall. Unlike the Asus ET2300, there are no components in the stand so no real risk of damage.
By Mazzy46 on 21 Mar 2013
Good to see a bluray, but is the TV card SD or HD?
By mikepgood on 21 Mar 2013
I would hope...
that it was HD, who would buy anything with SD these days?
By big_D on 22 Mar 2013
The review doesn't mention what the viewing angles are like or whether it's an IPS screen. Can't even see this on the HP site either. Can you comment?
By aeonturnip on 22 Mar 2013
mutton dressed as lamb!!!
Hugely disappointing machine, seriously bad, its like someone has designed the outside and forgot what it needs to work, old technology, buy one of these at you peril, by the time its unboxed it will be out of date, also, terribly unreliable, our company has been through 4 all with the same inherent faults....don't bother, ther's plenty more fish in the sea
By conzi on 14 May 2013
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