HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT AIO review

The HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT is a solid all-in-one desktop, with good day-to-day performance, but a ho-hum collection of features.
Photo of HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT AIO

These days, mid-range desktop PCs come in all shapes and sizes, but the All-in-One form factor has definitely come to the forefront as the desktop of choice. The HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT AIO illustrates why this is, combining a basic mid-range collection of components and features in an all-in-one design, providing a touch-based Windows 8 experience that won’t clutter your desktop, and is just as usable in the family room or kitchen as it would be in the home office.

Design and Features
The HP TouchSmart uses what is now a tried and true design for HP, with an easel back stand and a single riser bar holding up the PC off the desk. There’s not really a place to stow a keyboard when it’s not in use, but the easel stand does allow you to adjust the angle of the all-in-one somewhat, while the riser bar provides a solid foundation for the display.

The TouchSmart features a 23-inch display with 1920 by 1080 resolution, offering support for 1080p HD content and providing plenty of room for multitasking with two or more tiled windows. Unlike capacitive touch displays, which feature edge to edge glass and narrow bezels, the TouchSmart’s IR-based touch screen is actually recessed slightly, with a black plastic bezel surrounding the display. Yet another black border inside surrounds the display, letting you still use all of the side swiping, edge touching gestures of Windows 8, but it adds up for a total 1.8 inches of space between the edge of the display and the edge of the chassis.

The accompanying DTS Sound, however, was very good, with surprisingly strong bass and crystal clear treble, even at high volumes. This is one system that will actually fill a room with sound, and does it without any unwanted buzzing or distortion.

There is one compromise in the name of affordability, however. The TouchSmart comes bundled with an inexpensive wired keyboard and wired optical mouse. The keyboard feels lightweight and on the cheap side, but the chiclet keys are better than expected on a bundled accessory, and the keyboard has Windows 8 commands and media controls built-in. The mouse, on the other hand, is less impressive, with a glossy top surface that shows every fingerprint and smudge, and plastic construction that feels flimsy.

On the right-hand side of the system is a tray-loading optical drive (DVD+-RW DL). On the left, you’ll find connections for headphones and a mic, an SD card slot, and two USB 3.0 ports. On the back are four more USB 2.0 ports, along with line-out for audio. Networking is also built-in, with an Ethernet connection and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The all-in-one also boasts a 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive, offering plenty of space for your programs, files, and media library. The system comes with Windows 8 preinstalled, along with a few extras, like a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security, a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365, and a handful of games from WildTangent. HP also offers tools for organizing and sharing your music and photos with HP Connected Music and HP Connected Photo. Included on our review unit were two extras from Adobe, Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements, for photo and video editing. What doesn’t cost extra, however, is the included one-year warranty.

Performance

With an third-generation 2.8GHz Intel Core i3-3220T dual-core processor and 6GB of RAM, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23 is fairly basic for a mid-range system. You won’t be editing hours of HD video on this PC, but it’s just right for being the center of home organization. For a mid-range system, the Core i3 processor offers decent performance, especially compared to the lower-powered alternatives found in some competing systems. For example, while the TouchSmart 23-F260XT scored 3,145 points in PCMark 7 productivity tests, while the Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 scored 2,377 points equipped with a low-voltage mobile Core i5, while the AMD-equipped Vizio 24-inch Touch All-in-One (CA24T-B0) scored 1,612 points.

Similar results were seen in Cinebench R11.5, where the TouchSmart 23 scored 2.75 points, putting it well ahead of the Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 (2.09), Acer Aspire AZ3-605-UR23 (1.79), and the Vizio CA24T-B0 (2.05). This solid performance also extended to multimedia tasks, propelling the TouchSmart 23 through our Handbrake and Photoshop tests in 2 minutes 34 seconds (Handbrake) and 5 minutes 53 seconds (Photoshop CS6). For Handbrake, this performance is a tad slow—most competitors completed the test in less than 2 minutes—but the Photoshop performance is pretty good, ahead of all but the Editors’ Choice Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Late 2012).

The one area where the TouchSmart 23 didn’t lead its other entry-level competitors was in graphics performance. Utilizing Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 2500, the TouchSmart 23 fell behind in 3DMark 11 and both of our gaming tests, Heaven and Aliens vs. Predator. None of the comparable systems offer playable results in either game, but the Vizio 24-inch CA24T-B0 did pull into the lead thanks to AMD’s excellent graphics solution.

Conclusion
All things considered, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23 is a good choice for the buyer who wants a PC for keeping the family organized, putting Internet access in the kitchen or living room, or just wants a touch-capable all-in-one for day-to-day use. However, if you don’t particularly want Windows 8 or touch capability, we’d recommend the Editors’ Choice for mid-range all-in-one desktops, the Apple iMac 21.5-Inch (Late 2012), which offers competitive performance and side-steps some of the perceived problems with Windows 8.

Specifications
Touchscreen Yes
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8
Storage Type HDD
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 2500
Type All-in-one
RAM 6 GB
Processor Family Intel Core i3
Monitor Type LCD Widescreen
Primary Optical Drive Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Screen Size 23 inches
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 1 TB

Verdict
The HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-F260XT is a solid all-in-one desktop, with good day-to-day performance, but a ho-hum collection of features.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc