In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
HP ProOne 400 all-in-one desktop PC
HP's all-in-one PC for business users includes touch capability and a relatively low entry price
- Full HD, IPS screen
- All-in-one design saves space, makes it easy to install
- Decent performer thanks to 4th gen Core i5
- Screen reflections can be annoying
- Not very attractive
- Left side ports a little hard to access
This is a neat all-in-one PC with a good 21.5in screen that's suitable for an office environment. It's not an exciting product, and it doesn't look all that stylish, which is probably just fine for most business users who want something quick and easy to set up.
It looks a bit clunky, and some in our office went as far as calling it ugly. But if you're considering a system like the HP ProOne 400, you probably aren't as concerned with looks as you are functionality. It's an all-in-one desktop PC with a 21.5in, Full HD screen, and it even has touch input courtesy of the frame that's tacked onto the front.
Like most of HP's systems, this one is available with your choice of fourth-generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs, and a variable amount of RAM and storage capacity. The one we're reviewing here is based on an Intel Core i5-4570T CPU, which has a standard clock speed of 2.9GHz and two cores plus Hyper-Threading. It's joined by 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM (of the notebook type), and there is a 500GB, 7200rpm hard drive installed, without any fancy things such as solid state cache. It's just a basic computer for everyday office tasks, though the inclusion of a touch interface means you can interact with it using more than the supplied keyboard and mouse.
Its Full HD screen doesn't have capacitive touch built in. Instead, the touch comes from an optical sensor system that frames the corners of the screen. It triangulates the position of your finger (or any other pointing device that you use) and then feeds it into the operating system as an input. It's a cheaper way of implementing touch on a business machine, even though it's inelegant in terms of design, but you can use any implement to point with, though we don't recommend anything sharp, even though the LCD panel itself is protected.
The touch could come in useful if you order this machine with Windows 8.1 and make use of the Modern UI interface and its dedicated apps, but our machine arrived with Windows 7 Pro installed and we never had an inclination to use the touchscreen at all. Think about what applications you use or how you present information, and then decide whether a touchscreen is the best option for you before going for this PC.
With all that said, we found the accuracy of the optical touch system to be spot on for things such as dragging windows, panning large photos around the screen, tapping on menu items, and even resizing windows. The easel-style stand doesn't allow the screen to tilt flat (or even close to flat) in case you thought about writing or sketching on it, instead allowing it to lean back approximately 130 degrees. The standard tilt is about 100 degrees and, if you lean the screen backwards and then want it back in its original position, the stand will retreat on its own as you pull the screen back from the top.
The screen itself is of a high quality as far as office screens go, with colours appearing rich, and viewing angles wide. Screen reflections can be a problem, though, depending on how low you sit in your chair and where the ceiling lights are positioned behind you.
Ports are located at the back of the screen, and also along the left side. The left side has some easy to access USB 3.0 ports (one is tuned for more quickly charging smartphones and tablets than the other USB ports), microphone and headphones ports, and a full-sized SD card slot. We say they are relatively easy to access only in comparison to the ports at the rear, which include Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, power, serial, optical audio output, and four USB 2.0 ports. You still have to lean over to the side and see what you are doing in order to plug things in because the side ports are behind a lip. On the right side, there is a DVD burner, which is much easier to use by feel.
Other features of this PC include a webcam, 802.11n, dual-band Wi-Fi (2x2 antennas and using a Broadcom chip), Bluetooth 4.0, and built-in speakers. The speakers sound more than decent for casual listening when you need to monitor the audio from a presentation or an online video, or even when you want to kick back with some Friday office tunes, if you're allowed to do that sort of thing. Pre-installed software includes HP's Client Security, which can allow for device management, and disk encryption.
As for performance, the Intel Core i5-4570T put up 35sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, which is a mid-range showing, while in 3DMark, the graphics integrated into that CPU (Intel HD 4600) got 36738 in Ice Storm, 4666 in Cloud Gate, 2553 in Sky Diver, and 554 in Fire Strike. It's not a powerful machine for graphics, but it can drive two monitors at once. We even managed to extend the display to a large 4K TV during our tests, using a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. It was useful for viewing photos, but otherwise not ideal as a second screen due to its size.
In CrystalDiskMark, the hard drive put up a read speed of 119.3 megabytes per second, and a write speed of 116.4MBps. This is standard for a mechanical drive. We didn't notice any undue sluggishness from this PC during our regular workloads, which mostly consisted of Web browsing, word processing, light photo editing, file management tasks, and doing all of those things in a multitasking fashion. It performed at a swift clip and was enjoyable to use.
HP supplies a corded mouse and keyboard, which are fine for everyday usage. The keyboard is heavy and has keys with good travel, and which only require a relatively soft touch to make a mark.
It's a quiet-running machine, with a vent at the top allowing warm air to escape the chassis. Power consumption while idle was 34W with maximum screen brightness, while it peaked at 71W under a full processing load and maximum brightness. The power supply is external in the form of a brick, with a rating of 120W.
It's not a user-serviceable machine, so you can't easily remove the rear panel to replace a hard drive or add more RAM, which means you should go with the configuration that satisfies you from the get-go. A cable lock facility is located at the back.
Pricing for the HP ProOne 400 starts at $1299 for the Core i3 version, but we haven't yet got pricing for our Core i5 version. Nevertheless, it's a neat all-in-one you can consider if you need an efficient desktop PC with touch capability for the office.
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