HP Pavilion 23 review: HP Pavilion 23

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The Good The HP Pavilion 23's giant, 23-inch display is uncommon in all-in-one PCs under $700.

The Bad The low price means slow performance and few extras. The lack of an HDMI input hurts the most.

The Bottom Line HP has made an aggressive move in the budget PC space with this big-screen all-in-one that will serve as an affordable, generally capable home computer.

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7.2 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 9
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

Hewlett-Packard's Pavilion 23 is one of the first 23-inch all-in-one PCs to hit the sub-$700 mark for its starting price. The core specs aren't that remarkable, and HP again proves stingy with HDMI inputs, but you can chalk all of that up to this PC's $699 price tag. I expect that low-cost, 23-inch all-in-ones like this one will be a new battleground among mainstream PC makers. Right now, this HP has the lead, and it's easy to recommend to anyone looking for a basic desktop.

The design of the Pavilion 23 is neither particularly impressive nor offensive. It's a close replica of the 27-inch HP Omni 27 Quad I reviewed earlier this year, only without the keyboard tray underneath the screen. The black-with-gray-accents design will fit unobtrusively in with any decor. If you're in the "anti" camp of the Great Glossy Screen Wars, you'll be glad to know that while the bezel surrounding the display has a sheen to it, the screen itself is reflection-free. You can also tilt the display back and forth along a modest range of motion via the kickstand on the back.

Unsurprisingly for its price, the Pavilion 23 does not have a touch screen. That's not really an issue for Windows 7, the operating system it ships with, but if you have a Windows 8 upgrade in mind, this system does not provide you with a great way to experience the touch interface in Microsoft's new OS. Your best solution will be an after-market device. Microsoft's Touch Mouse will receive an update to the Windows 8 gesture scheme when the operating system itself ships. You can also look into Logitech's Touch Mouse M600 or its Wireless Touchpad, although Logitech has not yet confirmed whether both devices will also receive Windows 8 gesture updates.

HP Pavilion 1000-z Acer Aspire Z5571 Toshiba DX735-D3201
Price $699 $899 $899
Display size/resolution 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 23-inch, 1,920x1,080
CPU 3.6GHz AMD A-6 5400K 3.3GHz Intel Core i3-2120 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M
Memory 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 512MB AMD Radeon HD7540D Embedded 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 Embedded 64MB Intel HD Graphics 3000
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 5,400rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

PC vendors have focused on higher-end, 27-inch all-in-one PCs this year, so I haven't reviewed a lower-cost all-in-one since 2011's Acer Aspire Z5771. At the time of its debut that system and the similar Toshiba DX735 retailed for approximately $899. The Toshiba is now down to roughly $849, but depending on the retailer you can find the the Z5771 for under $725. The HP still costs less new, and its price will of course fall the longer it stays on the market.

The AMD chip is a real weakness for the HP in terms of its relative application performance, but considering its lower price and the fact that the AMD chip is competent enough, it's not a crippling sacrifice. The AMD chip does give HP an advantage, though, in terms of its 3D capabilities. The Radeon HD 7540D core built into the A-6 CPU is fast enough to run modern games at full resolution, provided you keep the detail settings low. You can certainly find games that aren't playable on this system, but it handled Skyrim at low settings well enough.

The three systems are otherwise close to identical in terms of core features. The one noticeable absence is an HDMI port on the Pavilion 23. The Acer and Toshiba systems both have one, making them far more versatile in that you can use them as a standalone display for a game console or a cable box. Without the HDMI port, the HP is doomed to a PC-only existence. That won't bother everyone interested in this PC, but an HDMI port is such a useful extra that HP looks stingy leaving it off.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Cinebench 11.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  

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