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HP ELITEONE 800 G2 REVIEW

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PROS
  • Sturdy, smart design
  • Consistent screen quality
  • Great warranty
CONS
  • Speakers disappoint
  • No discrete graphics card
KEY FEATURES
  • 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-6500 processor
  • 23in 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen
  • Intel HD Graphics 530
  • 8GB DDR4 memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • 3yr warranty
  • Manufacturer: HP

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WHAT IS THE HP ELITEONE 800?

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/$2,014 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.

DESIGN

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.

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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/$106, 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.

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.

FEATURES

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.

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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/$1,574 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/$2,017, and a cheaper version sold elsewhere mixes its Core i5 chip with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard disk for £956/$1,434.

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.

SCREEN AND SOUND QUALITY

HP supplies the EliteOne with a 1,920×1,080-pixel touchscreen. The resolution is adequate for a 23in screen, and as a result it won’t be necessary to use any scaling options. However, its middling density level of 96ppi means that pixellation is obvious without any squinting – and it also makes it tricky to use more than two windows on this panel at once.

That firmly positions the HP as a standard office system, rather than anything that’s a cut above. There’s no chance of sharper media playback, or being able to edit photos and videos with the added precision delivered by higher-resolution panels.

Rival Windows machines with higher resolutions – or the pricier Apple iMac models – are sharper, and their higher resolutions result in greater screen real-estate, making them more versatile for work. The EliteOne’s semi-glossy finish may also prove irritating beneath bright lights.

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The HP performed consistently well in benchmarks, with no major issues. A contrast ratio of 1,145:1 is a stellar start – that’s higher than most dedicated screens, which means that there’s ample vibrancy in bright colours and depth in darker tones. The 0.2-nit black level helps with the latter, and the 229-nit brightness measurement will prove adequate for any office.

The average Delta E of 2.46 is great, and the colour temperature of 6,661K isn’t far removed from the 6,500K ideal. The HP’s screen displays 89.9% of the sRGB colour gamut, and it loses only a reasonable 11% of its brightness level in the corners. This is a decent uniformity result that won’t prove ruinous or noticeable.

Problems are minor. There’s that uniformity measurement and a little backlight bleed along the bottom edge. In addition, brightness and clarity tend to disappear when the screen is viewed off-centre – but that’s it.

The decent set of benchmark results ensure that the EliteOne’s screen can handle a wide variety of work tasks. It’s more than good enough for Word and Excel, and it has enough accuracy and gamut coverage to tackle photo and video-editing, too.

It will struggle only when a user needs more pixels or more accurate colours – and in that case, a discrete professional screen will always be the best bet. It’s unrealistic to expect that level of performance from a PC such as this.

HP has added some sheen to the EliteOne with Bang & Olufsen audio hardware. While this sounds impressive, in reality it means that HP’s engineers have worked with Bang & Olufsen to improve the PC’s audio firmware, not hardware. There’s no sign of software to alter the sound output, for instance, nor has the speaker hardware been beefed up.

There’s little sign of high-quality audio, either. The speakers have mighty volume, but the bass isn’t deep enough – it fails to provide the thump I expect. The mid-range is reasonable, but it lacks the detail and depth that even cheap speakers will provide; the top-end is a little tinny. The HP’s speakers are fine for video-conferencing, but I’d only use them for music if alternatives weren’t available.

PERFORMANCE

There were few surprises amid the HP’s application and gaming benchmarks. In Geekbench 3, the mid-range Core i5 chip scored 10,947 points, following up with a score of 5,896 in PCMark 7.

They’re both solid results that will allow the EliteOne to excel in most work tasks. It won’t struggle with running any Microsoft Office application, and there’s enough power to run photo-editing tools, too. Only more intensive multi-tasking will see the HP falter, and for that you’ll want a Core i7 chip with Hyper-Threading.

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The integrated graphics core is less capable. Its 3DMark Fire Strike score of 811 is sluggish – not far ahead of laptops, but miles behind even the weakest discrete cards, so this system isn’t cut out for intensive graphical work. It will be able to handle photo processing, but anything beyond that – such as CAD or video – will require specialist GPUs.

The mid-range performance follows through to the SSD. The Samsung drive’s read speed of 505MB/sec is good, but its write pace of 289MB/sec is average at best. Both results are quicker than any hard disk – including the one inside the iMac – but better SATA SSDs and PCI-E-based drives will be faster still.

Heat and noise were never an issue with the EliteOne, either – the processor peaked at a modest 52 degrees. The HP is basically silent while handling the vast majority of tasks, and noise output was minimal even with its CPU stressed to 100%.

SHOULD I BUY THE HP ELITEONE 800?

There’s plenty to like about the HP EliteOne 800 G2. Its processor has adequate power to handle the vast majority of office applications, the storage is reasonable, and under stress the system never became hot or noisy. The screen offers decent quality in every area, and the touchscreen unit has a sensible resolution.

The EliteOne looks good, too, thanks to its metallic finish – and that’s paired with sturdy build quality. The provision of two stands add versatility thanks to height adjustment and horizontal movement.

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However, the EliteOne’s biggest problem is its £1,343/$2,014 price. For that money I’d expect a system that specialises in certain departments. The EliteOne is a good all-rounder, but it doesn’t excel in any important office areas.

It’s hampered by the competition, too. Apple’s 21in iMac competes with this machine for £1,049/$1,574, and the Retina version costs £1,199/$1,798. Dell’s 23in Optiplex 7000 Series all-in-ones start at just £755/$1,132, and a Core i7 model is a tempting £1,079/$1,618.

VERDICT

The HP EliteOne is a good-quality office PC that performs well in every important department. However, it doesn’t have the ability to exceed in any particular area – and that means it’s difficult to justify its £1,343/$2,014 price.

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