Windows 8 All-In-One PCs On Test (Part 2) - HP Envy 23 TouchSmart, Asus ET2300I

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2/15/2013 6:18:19 PM

HP Envy 23 TouchSmart

HP’S TOUCHSMART SERIES has been around for as long as touchscreen all-in-ones have. We tested the latest Envy 23 TouchSmart, designed for Windows 8.

The Envy 23 design is very similar to previous TouchSmart models, but features an edge-to-edge glass screen instead of the recessed screen those models used. This allows for Windows 8’s edge-swipe gestures and smartly replaces the rather clunky and outdated thick plastic bezel of the older model.

Description: A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included, both very comfortable and well designed

A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included, both very comfortable and well designed

The stand allows a vertical tilt of around 60-90 degrees enough to find the optimal viewing angle, but even tilted 60 degrees it’s still too steep for extended periods of touch gaming, drawing or using touch-enabled apps. HP’s TouchSmart 610 offered a far greater maximum tilt, which makes the Envy 23 somewhat disappointing in comparison.

A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included, both very comfortable and well designed. The mouse is a comfortable size with a good palm-rest, and the keyboard has great travel and quiet keystrokes. The included media remote has useful functions such as volume control, but the layout is a bit odd and some button labeling is unintuitive.

The 23-inch touchscreen has a 1920 x 1080-pixel (1080p) resolution, at with other 1080p displays we tested, it looks sharp from a normal sharp from a normal screen-viewing distance but you see individual pixels when close enough for touch. Screen quality was good, scoring four out of five when tested with the Spyder4Elite calibration tool.

This is very much an entry-level model, and it shows in the specs. You get an Intel Core i3-3220 dual-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and an AMD Radeon HD 7540A graphics solution with 1GB of dedicated memory. Storage is a 500GB hard drive – smaller than the other models we tested in our February roundup, but a faster 7200RPM drive versus the 5400RPM found in most models. There’s also a slot-loading DVD writer, but no Blu-ray support.

In our standard suite of benchmarks, performance was surprising. On one hand, the Envy 23’s graphical performance was just awful-less than half that of the other all-in-ones we tested, and around 30% lower than the current generation of Ultrabooks with Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ generation of integrated graphics.

On the other hand, in CPU-based benchmarks, the Core i3 CPU averages around 80% of the performance of its higher-powered Core i5 and Core i7-based siblings, and 10% better than the last crop of Ultrabooks we tested.

In short, the Envy 23 TouchSmart would make a lousy gaming PC, for all but the simplest tablet-style 2D games. On the other hand, its processing power is not far behind the mid- to high-end all-in-ones we tested. For things like basic photo and video editing, web browsing and productivity apps, you’ll be fine.

Connectivity is fairly limited. You get four USB 2.0 ports (a fifth hidden inside the rear casing is used for the keyboard and mouse dongle), two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and microphone sockets, an SD/MS/xD card reader, TV tuner, and gigabit Ethernet. There’s also 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

It lacks video input/output, such as HDMI or DisplayPort. That means you can’t use the envy 23 with a second screen or as a display for your laptop, game console or Sky decoder. That’s a shame for anyone wanting to combine TV, PC and game console into a single screen for a small apartment or bedroom.

Altogether, HP’s Envy 23 TouchSmart is a decent entry-level all-in-one PC. It lacks the graphics power, large storage and connectivity of its higher-end siblings, but as a basic ‘family Pc’ with a large screen than a laptop, it’s a good buy. Computer enthusiasts and gamers, look for a higher- powered model.


·         Price: $1,899

·         Screen size: 23 inches

·         Intel Core i3-3220 dual-core CPU

·         AMD Radeon HD 7450A graphics (1GB)

·         Nvidia GeForce GT 630M


Asus ET2300I

ASUS’S ET2300I REPRESENTS an uncommon approach to all-in-one PC design, putting the components in the base beneath the 23-inch touchscreen.

This design has a few advantages over the usual setup, where the components sit directly behind the screen. All of the connections are at desk-level and easy to reach on the base – you don’t have to go poking around behind the screen to plug in a flash drive or memory card.

Description: Asus ET2300I

This design has a few advantages over the usual setup, where the components sit directly behind the screen

There’s a bit more room for airflow, because the designers aren’t worried about making the thinnest screen/PC ever, so the Asus runs cool under pressure.

Finally, the heavy base and light weight screen allow for a clever two-part hinge, which gives you 0-80 degrees of adjustment. That’s right, the ET2300I can lie completely flat, albeit 15cm above the desk surface. It makes it very easy to find both the right viewing angle and the most comfortable position to use the touchscreen.

A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included in the box both do their jobs. Found the mouse a little too small to be comfortable, without enough of a palm rest. On the other hand, the compact mouse may be sufficient if you use the touchscreen most of the time.

The glossy 23-inch screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels (96 pixels per inch). That’s sharp from a reasonable viewing distance though you can see individual pixels if you come up close enough to use touch. Contrast and color accuracy are great, and the screen scored 4.5 out of 5 from the Spyder4Elite calibration tool.

Inside the ET2300I is a dual-core Intel Core i5-3210M CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Storage is a 1TB hard drive, and a slot-loading DVD writer (no Blu-ray).

Performance in our standard benchmark suite was outclassed by the Dell XPS One 27 by a large margin across the board, but this is to be expected as the XPS One costs $1,100 more. While the Asus was relatively weak in graphics performance, overall it was closest in performance to the Samsung Series 7 all-in-one.

The Series 7’s Core i5-3470T CPU has a higher clock speed of 2.9-3.6GHz, compared to the ET2300I’s 2.5-3.1GHz. This showed through in slightly higher performance in single-threaded tasks, but the ET2300I unexpectedly proved up to 50% faster in multi-threaded tasks. That means for multitasking and performance-hungry home applications such as video editing, the Asus is likely to provide superior performance than most other models tested.

The ET2300I also has some of the best wired connectivity options we’ve seen on an all-in-one to date. There’s an SD card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, one eSATA port that doubles as USB 2.0, two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI input and output, headphone and microphone sockets, and gigabit Ethernet. Unfortunately the USB adapter for the included wireless keyboard and mouse takes up a USB 3.0 port – it would have been nice to see a dedicated USB 2.0 port for this, but you can always use the eSATA/USB combo port for that, as you’ve got both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt for high-speed storage.

Wireless is a bit disappointing: there’s 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, but no Bluetooth.

Sound quality from the onboard speakers was a let-down – though the volume range is good, at low-moderate volume it sounds extremely muffled. It was the only case in which we noticed poor sound.

Overall, the Asus ET2300I is an excellent all-in-one with a design that makes it suited to touch or non-touch use. It also has a great range of high-speed connections and good multithreading performance, making it suitable for home video, photo and music-editing enthusiasts. It’s not quite as stylish as the options available from Samsung and Acer, but it’s sure built to do its job well.


·         Price: $2,499

·         Display: Multi Touch (10 fingers touch), 23.0-inch, Full HD 1920 x 1080

·         Weight: 11.6kg

·         Processor: 3.0GHz, 6M Smart Cache; Max turbo Frequency 3.2 GHz

·         Memory: 6GB DDR3 RAM

·         Hard disk drive: 1TB SATA

·         Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GT630M 2GB