The latest all-in-one from HP is an office PC that’s been built to handle a wide variety of business tasks, while at the same time adding some sheen and style to the average desk.
For many office environments this £1,343 machine will make perfect sense, providing enough power to cope with the tasks at hand while saving a huge amount of space. It even benefits from some attractive added extras, thanks to its touchscreen display and Bang & Olufsen audio.
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HP has mixed more familiar businesslike looks with stylish metal to create the EliteOne. The screen sits in the middle of a glossy black bezel that’s arguably a tad too wide, beneath which you'll find a band of aluminium that houses the EliteOne’s Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The stand is finished in the same light metal. It gently slopes towards the front of the desk, and its rear features subtle curves and angles – it’s good-looking, but it won't prove distracting in an office. That stand has a hidden talent, too; press the machine down and it dips the screen to a horizonal position, which is ideal for meetings and co-working.
The EliteOne’s reclining stand isn’t the only available option for the machine. A second variant makes this PC height-adjustable – a rarity for all-in-one systems. It’s available as an accessory that costs £71, but there are some versions of the all-in-one that include the height-adjustable stand as standard.
Great looks are backed up with decent build quality. There’s no give in any of its panels, and the stand feels strong while the machine is being moved.
HP has run its EliteOne machines through a battery of tests to back up its claims. It's been through 1,000 miles of transportation, covered in dust, jolted and dropped from various angles and been subject to simulated altitude and temperature changes. While I’m not quite sure who’d be taking a large all-in-one PC into the field, it’s reassuring to know that HP’s machines are built to withstand punishment beyond what most of us will be able to throw at it.
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It’s not all good news, however. HP’s machine is chunky: it stretches 278mm from front to back, and it’s 567mm tall. It also tips the scales at 7.34kg, making it a hefty unit. Although the Apple iMac 21.5in has a smaller screen than the HP, it feels positively light at 5.68kg – and it’s only 528mm tall and 175mm deep. Arguably it looks more stylish, too, with its slimmer screen, svelter stand and all-metal construction.
HP has kitted out the EliteOne with a decent selection of ports. The right-hand side has a DVD writer and a fingerprint reader, and the left-hand edge serves up two USB 3 connectors, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, an SDXC card reader and two audio jacks. They're alll easily accessible, which is something the likes of Apple could probably learn from.
The rear of the system offers more, namely four USB 3 ports and the Gigabit Ethernet jack. However, all those connectors are more tricky to reach; they’re beneath the stand and hidden in a recess so these'll probably be used for your more permanent peripherals.
Apple’s machine doesn’t have a fingerprint reader or an optical drive, but it does have Thunderbolt, and its ports are all easy to reach.
I’ve already mentioned the SDXC card slot and fingerprint reader, and those office-friendly features are augmented by impressive hardware elsewhere. There’s a TPM 1.2 module, and Intel vPro. HP has included a webcam and noise-reduction technology for its dual microphones.
The EliteOne also comes with HP's familiar business applications. Its Sure Start tool aids BIOS management, and the firm’s TouchPoint Manager can be used to manage updates and software across a wide deployment of machines.
It’s a reasonable slate of business features and tools, and it’s all powered by a mid-range specification. The Intel Core i5-6500 is a quad-core chip clocked to 3.2GHz with a peak of 3.6GHz, and it uses Intel’s HD Graphics 530 core – a new integrated GPU with 192 stream processors and a 1,050MHz top speed. That’s fine for work, but there’s no Hyper-Threading on that Core i5 chip, so multi-tasking will take a hit when compared to a more expensive Core i7.
HP’s Core i5 chip is a solid mid-range piece of silicon, and it will no doubt compete well with the CPU inside the £1,049 iMac. That system’s Core i5 chip is quad-core, but it’s a 2.8GHz part that relies on the Broadwell architecture – a step back from HP’s Skylake chip.
The EliteOne comes with 8GB of memory and a 256GB Samsung PM871 SSD. That’s a welcome inclusion that will outpace more traditional hard disks, such as the 1TB drive included in the iMac. Only pricier models of the iMac have PCI-E-based SSDs.
The HP has a reasonable mid-range specification, and it also offers ample customisation. The EliteOne can be configured with a selection of CPUs from low-end Celeron and Pentium processors to powerful Core i7 chips, and it can be fitted with anything up to 32GB of memory.
Storage options range from basic hard disks to high-end PCI-Express SSDs and self-encrypting drives, and the system can be configured with Windows 10, 8.1, 7 or even FreeDOS.
There’s huge potential, although only a couple of alternative models are available to buy online. A system with a Core i7 processor and 1TB hybrid hard disk costs £1,345, and a cheaper version sold elsewhere mixes its Core i5 chip with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard disk for £956.
For further options – perhaps to buy several systems for a larger deployment – you’ll need to speak to HP directly.
The HP’s default warranty is a three-year deal that covers parts, labour and on-site service – a generous service that outstrips most consumer and corporate PCs.