The HP Compaq Elite series of business PCs has an extremely wide array of available towers all focused on delivering the computer power needed to run your business. After our recent review of the 8200 Elite Ultra-Slim PC we were excited to see what else the line had to offer. This time the box we unwrapped came with an HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-In-One desktop.
In addition to an attractive and compact design, there are a lot of nice additions HP put into this machine that sweetens the deal. Starting with the most obvious, the 23" LED Backlit display is one of the clearest monitors I have ever seen. Side by side with the traditional LCD screens in our office made it very clear how off white and dimly lit they really are. Under the monitor is a speaker bar. It is stereo sound, but without a subwoofer there is very little bass. Overall the sound quality is fine for most business applications, like watching presentations or video conferencing. On the topic of Video conferencing there is a built in webcam above the screen. Picture quality from the camera is clear and smooth, but it is fixed. I am about 5'7" and had to tilt the monitor almost all the way forward to frame myself well. Around the left side of the screen is a 6-in-1 media card reader, accepting the most common card types like SD, MS and xD. Under that we find the first two USB ports, a head phone jack, and a microphone jack, although there is a built in microphone on the All-in-One. On the right side of the machine is the DVD drive. The unit we tested came with a burner, but there is the option to go with a simple DVD Rom drive or upgrade to a Blu-ray combo drive. Beneath the drive bay are the brightness controls and a hard drive activity light, unfortunately it is impossible to see the light when looking at the front of the PC. The rear panel has the power adaptor for the external 150 Watt power supply. This feature, among other designs HP implemented, allows the unit to be Energy Star qualified and Epeat registered for all you "Green" lovers out there. The power outlet is followed by the audio output jack, and a gigabit ethernet jack. The version we tested came with a mini PCIe 802.11 N WiFi adaptor built in, but that is optional. The All-in-One also has another four USB ports on the back, bringing the total to six. Unlike the Ultra-Slim tower we tested, PS2 is completely absent. Concerned that your mouse and keyboard will leave you lacking open USB space? Never fear, the included wireless set use only one USB dongle to power both devices, and getting them to connect was as easy as pressing the connect button.
We are all ruled by Moore's Law of electronics and we know any PC we buy will eventually be obsolete or something could go bad. Buying this kind of computer may seem risky since most All-in-One towers are sealed closed, but unlike other All-In-One towers the Elite is completely upgradable. Simply removing a plastic cover from the back of the tower allows access to the hard drive, optical drive and RAM, requiring only the removal of a few flathead screws. Removing the stand and deconstructing the remainder of the tower will require a Torx head screw driver and a lot more patience but it is possible to replace even a broken screen. Having the ability to do this type of work on an All-in-One is quite impressive. Inside our test model we have a second generation Intel Core i7 2600S 2.8 GHz processor. The "S" at the end of 2600S denotes this processor as a low power model. Requiring only 65W where the Core i7 2600 3.4 GHz runs at 95W, just another way this Elite PC received its Energy Star certification. Worrying about a lack of processing power? Our benchmarking tests show the 2600S performing on par with the 2600, and far outperforming the Intel Core i7 930 2.8 GHz. The tower maxes out at 8GB of Ram, though our test machine came with 4GB, and has a 500GB hard drive. There are Self Encrypting Drives and Solid State Drives available when you order yours from HP. Where graphics are concerned, it did better than the Ultra-Slim we tested due to a better processor and would deftly handle most office work you would use this PC for. Unfortunately there is no expandability option for graphics on the All-in-One, so you are limited to the Integrated Intel HD Graphics on the processor. Windows 7 is your only operating system choice for the Elite All-in-One, but you can pick which version you want to run. Our build came with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Also installed are Microsoft Office Starter 2010 and a 60 day trial of Norton Internet Security. The HP ProtectTools suite is installed on the PC, just as with the Ultra-Slim. Including a pre-boot authentication program, a file and a drive sanitizer, and password management tools it is a great way to be sure all of your work stays secure, The configuration of the ProtectTools Security Manager can allow administrative control over any HP PC with ProtectTools that you are currently running.
The All-in-One series starts at $949.00, the machine we tested rings up from HP at $1,852.00. Consider the cost of a standard tower, a 23" LED monitor, webcam, and all the other peripheral devices required for business today you will see this tower compares in price very well. Also having everything in one package is not only convenient, but space saving. HP truly pulled out all the stops when designing the HP Compaq 8200 Elite All-in-One desktop, but as icing on the cake they have included a 3 year parts, labor and onsite next business day warranty. With the extensive ability to repair and upgrade this All-in-One you may even want to take HP up on the offer to extend same the warranty to 5 years for under $150.00, giving you peace of mind for years to come.