Review Price free/subscription
Moving onto the PC, it's a neat tower case with silver metal sides sandwiching a black middle. As its title suggests it can be used as a minitower, or set onto its side, and the optical drive bay can be rotated to match. Only the front is made of plastic, lending the overall chassis a solid and rugged feel. For an office PC it's quite attractive, with clean lines and the vertical air-grill at its front lending it an uncomplicated but co-ordinated look.
At its front are two free 5.25in drive bays, with the third taken up by a LightScribe DVD-writer. LightScribe technology, which allows you to 'burn' black and white images or text directly onto compatible optical media, is always a nice feature, but especially so on an office machine where other people might not be able to read your hand-written CD labels or you might want to give a more professional presentation.
There's also a single free 3.5in bay, which if you're buying direct from HP can be fitted with a 1.44MB floppy disk drive (yes, some office environments still use them) or more usefully for most, a 16-in-1 Media Card reader. Below this, in a panel set into the grill, you'll find a flush power button, headphone and microphone jacks and twin USB ports oriented horizontally.
At the PC's back is a slightly surprising connectivity selection. Six USB 2.0 ports are fairly standard, as is the single Ethernet port and 3.5mm audio in and out jacks. Legacy devices are taken care of by the two PS2 ports for mouse and keyboard, with a serial port rounding things out nicely. This is all fairly straight forward, but the surprise comes with the video connections, of which there are two: VGA and DisplayPort!
As you may or may not know, DisplayPort is a touted as a replacement for VGA & DVI which besides being royalty-free also offers more bandwith for higher resolutions. However, it's an odd choice for the only digital video connection on a business PC. Since most monitors on the planet don't natively support DisplayPort, DVI would make a lot more sense and should at least be present as an alternative.
HP further compounds this by not including any video cables or adapters, meaning that in most cases, you're either stuck using analogue or need to buy expensive cables/adapters. To top it all off, these don't seem to be available from HP itself. Now I know a lot of businesses still use analogue, but nevertheless this is a negative for the more progressive ones.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network