Desktops aren’t dead. They’re evolving — primarily into all-in-ones with huge touchscreens and even bigger price tags.
HP’s new Envy 23 is a behemoth with handsome looks and a modern, clean design. The screen is sharp, a big 23 inches at 1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution. It’s shockingly dim, however — the least bright all-in-one in my testing history — so keep that in mind if you’re considering placement anywhere near a bright light source. The screen tilts smoothly, from fully vertical to 30 degrees back.
A speaker bar spans the underside of the screen, and the Beats Audio-branded audio is crisp and loud when you need it. For a smaller room, the Envy 23 can easily stand in for a TV, with a slot-loading Blu-ray player/DVD burner, side-mounted HDMI port, and six USB ports (two USB 3.0). Ethernet and an SD card reader round out the connectivity options — and there’s even a subwoofer output jack if you want to bump up the audio experience.
Under the hood, the Envy 23 comes pretty amazingly loaded. The 3.1GHz Core i7, 12GB of RAM, and 3 terabyte hard drive are massive for any PC, and collectively they should ensure years of future-proofed usability. Overall performance is fine, but the results aren’t record-breaking. That massive yet slow hard drive is the clear culprit at dragging down benchmarks versus SSD-equipped competitors, and the laptop-class Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card doesn’t provide quite enough power for the latest games, either. You’ll get decent framerates on older titles, but I had to knock the resolution down to make more recent games like Metro 2033 playable.