If there was any doubt about the importance of design in the PC world, the recent spate of beautifully made all-in-one desktops, like the Apple iMac 21.5-Inch (Late 2012), and the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K should make it clear that the look and feel of a PC is often the difference between a failed clunker and a successful new form-factor. The HP Spectre One 23-e010se epitomizes the power of an aesthetically pleasing PC, with a gorgeous design marred only by a rather large power brick. It has a solid feature set that includes a quad-core CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics, but it’s midrange performance doesn’t fully justify its premium price.
Design and Features
The Spectre One 23-e010se makes a strong case for elegant PC design. While there are certainly elements of the design that echo the best points of the Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Late 2012), like an ultra-slim monitor and sleek arcing stand done up in silver-toned metal and plastic, the Spectre One 23-e010se puts a different—but no less stunning—spin on the slim and sleek all-in-one concept. The monitor is a trim 0.45 inch thick, with no bulging or added thickness from the PC components. Instead of building the components into the monitor chassis, HP has built them into the arcing stand, along with integrated Beats Audio speakers. The audio is nearly as impressive as the 1080p display, with crisp, clear sound, though you’ll need to add an external subwoofer for any substantial bass. Really, the only thing marring the design is the big black power brick that you’ll be plugging into it—an unsightly element that will irritate some.
The 23-inch monitor offers sharp 1920-by-1080 resolution—high enough to enjoy 1080p video. It looks extra slick thanks to a seamless sheet of edge-to-edge glass but it may be a bit too reflective. Just above the display is an integrated HP TrueVision HD Webcam, which lets you enjoy video chat or simple recording in 720p. The high-definition panel may make Windows 8 look imminently touchable, but the Spectre One 23-e010se does not have a touch screen, and tapping or swiping will only give you a lot of smudges and smears. You won’t be completely without the intuitive touch controls of Windows 8, however, because the included wireless touchpad supports numerous gesture controls. A slim wireless keyboard and mouse are also included.
That’s also where all of the Spectre’s ports are located. On the back of the arcing stand you’ll find a case lock slot, two USB 2.0 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. There’s no integrated TV tuner—the Toshiba LX835-D3230 offers one if you must have it—but it is equipped with HDMI in for connecting a cable box or gaming console to the system. Along the sides of the base you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, a a 3-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS/Pro), and a headset jack.
Wireless connections are also available, with 802.11n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, and near-field communication (NFC) for dead-simple pairing with NFC-enabled devices, like smartphones or the HP Touch-to-Pair Bluetooth Mouse. NFC has also begun to appear in other systems from HP and Sony, and will likely work its way through the industry to become a much more common feature. To add NFC capability to other objects, HP also includes a few NFC stickers letting you then use simple objects, like a keychain or paperweight for secure login via NFC.
Despite the numerous ports and features, you won’t find an optical drive anywhere on the Spectre One 23-e010se, likely dropping the fading technology to further slim down the design. A 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive offers plenty of storage space, though you’ll have to pay extra if you want to add a flash cache for faster performance ($50 extra for a 16GB SSD cache). HP includes a generous selection of software on the Spectre, including a 24-month trial of Norton Internet Security, full versions of both Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements 10, and Microsoft Office Starter 2010. The Spectre is covered by a two-year warranty on parts and labor, plus HP provides free tech support via phone and web for the first 90-days after purchase.
Within the Spectre One 23-e010se’s stylish exterior is a quad-core Intel Core i7-3770T (2.5GHz) and 10GB of RAM. In terms of processor speed, the Spectre is faster than most competitors, scoring 6.18 points in CineBench R11.5, ahead of the Core i5-equipped Apple iMac (4.46 points) and HP Envy 23-1050t (5.15 points), but falling just behind the Toshiba LX835-D3230 (6.27 points) due to its own quad-core Core i7 CPU. Despite this, the Spectre lagged in overall performance, as measured by PCMark 7, where it scored 2,731 points, slightly behind the HP Envy 23-1050t (2,943) and well behind the Toshiba LX835-D3230 (4,249 points).
The Spectre One 23-e010se did, however, provide excellent multimedia performance, completing our Handbrake video encoding test in 36 seconds and our Photoshop CS6 image manipulation test in 3 minutes 33 seconds. This actually puts it slightly ahead of both the Apple iMac (Handbrake 0:43, Photoshop 3:52) and the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K (Handbrake 0:42, Photoshop 3:58).
With an Nvidia GeForce GT 610M graphics processor and 1GB of dedicated memory, the Spectre One 23-e010se has passable graphics performance, as evidenced by its 3DMark 11 benchmark test results, scoring 1,155 points at Entry settings and 216 at Extreme settings. By comparison, the Asus ET2300INTI-B022K scored 2,244 points (Entry) and 393 points (Extreme). Gaming tests rule out high-end titles, but for less demanding titles like Team Fortress 2 and Portal, the Spectre One 23-e010se should do just fine.
The HP Spectre One 23-e010se is a svelte all-in-one desktop in the same stylish vein as the Editors’ Choice Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Late 2012). While the performance is decent and the design striking, the Spectre One 23-e010se isn’t quite impressive enough to overcome the difference in price and features—we’d like to see hybrid storage made standard, and the sleek look is weighed down with a big ugly power brick. That said, if you want a Windows-based alternative to the iMac, this could be it.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the HP Spectre One 23-e010se
Compare the HP Spectre One 23-e010se with several other desktops side by side.
More desktop reviews:
|Primary Optical Drive||External|
|Processor Family||Intel Core i7|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GT 610M|
|Screen Size||23 inches|
|Monitor Type||LCD Widescreen|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1000 GB|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc