HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-f201in detailed review
After a brief lull, AIOs are making a comeback to help salvage and reinvent the stalling PC industry. With reducing profit margins and staring down the barrel of potential losses, OEMs are pulling out all the stops to outcompete, out-innovate and offer consumers products they will happy to purchase. One such product is the HP Pavilion Touchsmart 23-f201in.
Packed well in a box with adequate styrofoam cushioning, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-f201in is easy to set up and get started with. It has a customary photo-frame design with a reclining stand (that’s synonymous with most all-in-one desktops) and predominantly black plastic exterior sporting a glossy finish. However, the Pavilion TouchSmart 23’s finish feels classy and premium, and not cheap in any way. The overall profile of the product is slim, petite, saving a lot of your desk space. Also with bundled wireless keyboard and mouse, there’s only one potential power cable plugging into the desktop, reducing the cable-clutter on your desk – which is great.
While its kickstand doesn’t offer a lot of tilt angle, it’s built well and so is the rest of the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23 unit that’s attached to it. The machine is very well made and in all our time spent on it, we didn’t really experience any creaky points on the device as a whole. It's front stands have rubberized stoppers to prevent the whole unit from slipping even on a slippery surface like glass. The device is definitely a good looking one, as far as eye candy is concerned. It’s not as stunning as the Lenovo IdeaCentre A730 (which is extremely similar to the Apple iMac in all its unibody glory), but it’s still a looker.
As far as features go, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-f201in comes equipped with all the essentials, and then some. It’s 23-inch Full HD IPS display supports up to five-finger multitouch input, and it works flawlessly. What’s more, with Windows 8’s out-of-the-box multitouch support enables you to interact with your PC like never before. We can’t guarantee how often you’ll be poking the HP TouchSmart 23’s touchscreen with your fingers, but we can attest to the fact that fingerprint smudges aren’t readily visible on the AIO’s display even when the device is powered off, which is quite good. The screen’s viewing angles are great, with no perceptible colour shift, which is a validation of its IPS panel. Watching movies, fast-paced visuals, and reading text is all handled extremely well on the device -- I experienced no eye fatigue either during all my time spent using the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23-f201in.
Placed on the top bezel of the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 23 is an HD webcam which lets you live video chat in 720p. We found this worked very well on popular clients like Skype and Oovoo, and even the built-in microphone had absolutely no trouble picking up our voice while we sat a good metre away from the front of the screen.
Even though the Pavilion TouchSmart 23 comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, it’s complemented well with adequate RAM, a fast-paced 7200 RPM hard drive, and discrete NVIDIA GT 710A graphics with 1GB of dedicated RAM. Not only can the machine multitask with several apps running simultaneously, it can also handle occasional lightweight gaming (albeit at low to mid settings) with relative ease. Its onboard audio, courtesy of surround sound speakers, is definitely better than most devices we’ve seen. The sound from the speakers isn’t very loud and the bass isn’t heavy but the audio quality is quite clear and distortion-free even at high volume levels. It’s enough for a good personal entertainment experience.
The bundled wireless keyboard and mouse are probably the best pair of bundled wireless accessories we’ve experienced in a while -- having no trouble to pair up over Bluetooth -- and they’re equally comfortable to use. The keyboard offered nice, zero-flex keys to type on, while the mouse was nice and chunky to hold with good click feedback. All the various IO ports are nicely dispersed on either side and to the back of the TouchSmart PC’s sturdy frame.
In all our testing, we couldn’t come across any potential deal breakers apart from the fact that it skips on including an HDMI port and it doesn’t really feature a 2-in-1 TV mode (with a bundled media remote). But this should matter to you only if you don’t already have a TV or you want to beam your PC’s screen signal on to a larger screen. We know we all desire the maximum value out of our investments, the greatest bang for the buck, but the HP TouchSmart 23 f201in is not trying to be the jack of all possible trades -- and we get that.
All things considered, the HP TouchSmart 23-f201in is a very good AIO at the price, offering three years of warranty -- a claim that not many AIOs can make. It’s a well-balanced device with slim design, pleasing looks, providing the right balance between features, performance and price, with the added bonus of 23-inch display that’s touch-enabled. If you’re in the market to purchase an AIO PC, we highly recommend you consider the HP TouchSmart 23-f201in