The Bottom Line
Mar 11 2013 - Those wanting a high performance all-in-one touchscreen system should take a close look at the HP ENVY 23-d160qd TouchSmart. While it may not have the screen size of other similar priced system, it does offer some high end performance and a good set of customize options to fit one's needs. It is a bit disappointing that HP didn't translate some of the software from their Magic Canvas software to Windows 8 but it is not a major problem.
- Very Strong Performance
- Customizable Options
- Good Dedicated Graphics For An All-In-One
- Pricing Can Get Quite High With Options
- Lacks The Specialized Touch Software From Past Models
- Intel Core i7-3770S Quad Core Desktop Processor
- 12GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 3TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Player and Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 23" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M 2GB Graphics
- Intel HDA Audio With Stereo Speakers
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Four USB 2.0, HMDI in, HDMI out, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- 22.8" x 17.5" x 8.4"
- Windows 8, Office Starter, Norton Internet Security
Review - HP ENVY 23 d160qd TouchSmart
Mar 11 2013 - Essentially the HP ENVY 23-d160qd TouchSmart is the same basic system as the ENVY 23-d055 retail version that I reviewed a couple months ago except that this is a customizable system that allows users to pick out their choice of memory, hard drive, graphics card, optical drive and a few other items. This is a high end version of the system with a base price of $1400. The configuration as reviewed has a retail price of $1880 with some web discounts bringing it down to $1680.
Since this is the performance version of the 23-inch all-in-one, HP packs in the Intel Core i7-3770S quad core processor. This is a specialized version of the high end consumer desktop processor that is used in lower wattage environments such as all-in-one systems. It provides the system with plenty of performance that allows this to do just about any type of computing tasks including demanding ones such as desktop video. This version comes with 12GB of DDR3 memory which is upgraded from the base 8GB. Either configuration would allow for a smooth experience with Windows 8 but the extra memory is nice for more demanding applications.
The standard configuration of the HP ENVY 23-d160qd uses a large two terabyte hard drive but this model has been upgraded to the larger three terabyte drive. This provides plenty of space for users who might need to store a large amount of data such as high definition movie files that can get quite large. Performance from the drive is quite good for a hard drive that spins at the traditional 7200rpm spin rate. It would be nice to see an optional that included some form a solid state caching but they do offer a much smaller 750GB hybrid hard drive that sacrifices storage for a bit of performance. If you need additional space, there are two USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage but they are located on the left hand side which is a bit distracting if you have a drive connected at all times. The standard optical drive setup includes a Blu-ray compatible drive for playback of high definition movies as well as recording or playback of CD and DVD movies. There is an option for a Blu-ray compatible burner.
One big change from the retail version of the ENVY 23 TouchSmart is the graphics system. The 23-d055 used an AMD Radeon HD 7450A graphics processor. The customizable version starts with a default Intel HD Graphics 4000 which of course limits the 3D and non-3D accelerated applications. This model comes with a mid range NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M which adds more capabilities for 3D although it is still restricted to lower resolutions and detail levels. It might work for casual gameplay but is certainly better for accelerating non-3D applications. There is a higher range option for the AMD Radeon HD 7650A which offers a slightly better 3D performance but is still better suited for casual PC gaming as it will struggle with 1920x1080 resolution of the 23-inch touchscreen display with many modern games. Another upgrade option is the availability of an HDMI input connector that resides on the right side of the display that allows the system to also display video from an external satellite receiver, digital cable box, external Blu-ray drive or video game console.
As I mentioned in my retail model review, the software is one area where the HP touchscreen all-in-ones suffer now with Windows 8. They no longer have their specialized Magic Canvas software that really set their models apart from the competition. In some ways this is good because it means there is less clutter from the software but they did have a few unique applications that would be nice for them to rewrite for Windows 8.
With its higher price point, the HP ENVY 23-d160qd TouchSmart has two primary competitors. The first is the Dell XPS One 27 Touch. HP's offering is a bit more affordable but the Dell is a larger system with a 27-inch display and higher resolution. In can offer the same level of performance and a better GT 640M graphics processor but cost at or over $2000. The other is the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 which is also a larger 27-inch display but has the same resolution as the HP. It's big advantage is that it supports SSD caching for improved storage performance but it lacks general performance as it uses mobile rather than desktop processors.