Once upon a time, buyers could count on a display far outlasting the usefulness of a PC purchased at the same time. However, the era of 50% year-over-year processor performance bumps appear to be long over, so all-in-one desktops make good sense for a large set of buyers. After all, Apple and Microsoft's only serious entries in the desktop computer market are AIOs (the nearly four-year-old Mac Mini doesn't count, sorry). HP is spiffing up two of its AIO PC families with Intel's eighth-generation Core processors: the EliteOne 1000 G2 for businesses, and the refreshed Envy 27 and Envy 34 for home users.
We'll look at the EliteOne 1000 G2 first. The manufacturer offers only the vague mention of eighth-generation Intel Core CPU options as upgrades from last year's G1, but given the availability of the Core i7-7700 in the previous model, we'd be shocked if the top-shelf multiplier-locked Core i7-8700 wasn't an option on the G2 this time around. The other big hardware changes from the G1 include an upgrade of the four USB ports from 5-Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1 to 10-Gbps Gen 2 speeds, the addition of Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) connectivity, optional AMD Radeon RX 560 4 GB discrete graphics, and a chipset upgrade from yesteryear's Q270 to the Q370.
HP says the EliteOne 1000 is the "world's first AIO with an upgradeable PC base," and goes on to say that "tool-less accessibility allows you to change out your display anytime." This means that EliteOne owners can change the display attached to the base and access some of the components. The machine sports a pair of DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, an M.2-2280 slot and a 2.5" bay for storage, and an M.2-2230 slot for Wi-Fi cards, so buyers should be able to add and replace parts in the future. Storage options include 2.5" SATA hard drives with capacities from 500 GB to 2 TB, SATA and NVMe SSDs from 128 GB to 1 TB, and M.2 and 2.5" combinations.
Buyers get to pick from four different types of IPS screens spread across three sizes. Those ready to settle for the smallest size get to pick touch-enabled or non-touch 23.8" 1920x1080 panels. Shoppers seeking the maximum resolution will have to pick the middle 27" screen with 3840x2160 resolution. The largest display is a 34-incher with a 3440x1440 panel.
HP says the EliteOne 1000 AIOs are made for collaboration, and the fancy camera and microphone setups bear out this claim. The base camera setup has a front-facing 1920x1080 snapper with an integrated dual-array microphone. The step-up setup upgrades the user-facing camera to a Windows Hello-compatible peeper with an IR element and adds a second 1920x1080 camera facing out from the back of the machine. Privacy-sensitive users can push either camera pod down inside the machine. The base of the AIO has a set of buttons that can automatically launch software for conference calls. HP says it worked with Bang & Olufsen on the 2-W stereo speaker setup. Buyers that want biometric authentication without the Windows Hello IR camera can get a fingerprint reader instead.
The company is updating its current Envy 27" AIO model with eighth-generation Core processors later this month. These machines have their hardware packed into the base like the EliteOne machines described above. The manufacturer mentions the availability of the six-core Core i7-8700T processor, but doesn't mention any other CPU options. The old model had Core i5-7400T and Core i7-7700T options, so we'd bet that the freshened-up version will have a Core i5 variation, as well. As a refresher, the T-versions of Intel's chips trade away some clock speed in exchange for a lower TDP.
All of the new 27" Envy AIOs get Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics cards with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. HP didn't come out and say it, but we have a feeling these are mobile cards because desktop GTX 1050 add-in boards only get 2 GB of onboard memory. The extra video memory is the good news about the laptop version of the GTX 1050, but the price to pay for the third and fourth gigabyte of video memory is the reduction in ROP count from 32 to a measly 16. In any case, the GTX 1050 sends a steady stream of pixels to one of two different IPS ten-point multi-touch touchscreens. The base configuration has a pretty-impressive resolution of 2560x1440, but pixel-density seekers can opt for a 3840x2160 unit.
The 27" Envy AIOs have 16 GB of DDR4 memory mounted in a pair of SO-DIMM slots. The machine has an M.2 slot and a 2.5" drive bay. The configurations HP was showing off had either a single 1-TB hard drive or a 256-GB NVMe SSD alongside a 2-TB spinner.
While businesses get an almost dizzying array of choices in the EliteOne 1000 line, the Envy AIOs have a pared-down options list and are more entertainment-focused. The machines come with a capacitive touch media control dial and four speakers that the HP says are designed to address PC owner complaints about weak, one-dimensional sound. All Envy AIOs have Thunderbolt 3 ports for connecting peripherals or external displays. The machines have HDMI outputs as one would expect, but they also get HDMI inputs that let users use the Envy AIO as a monitor for a game console or a Blu-Ray player. Both Envy AIO sizes get the pop-up Windows Hello-compatible IR camera like the EliteOne, but the auxiliary rear-facing snapper isn't an option
The Envy's four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, Gigabit Ethernet jack, and HDMI connectors are on the back of the machines in order to reduce visible cable clutter. The side of the machine gets another USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and a TB3-enabled Type-C connector. The spaghetti mess is further reduced by the included wireless keyboard and mouse. Buyers can let the Ethernet port go unused in favor of the built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi if desired.
HP will also refresh its 34" Envy AIO later in the year. The back of the machine will get a "Dark Ash" wood-grain finish with pale gold accents on the sides. The only screen option is a 34" curved IPS panel with a resolution of 3440x1440. The base also gets a wireless phone charger built into the base. HP would only say that the processor options include eighth-generation Core chips, which we're pretty sure will top out with the same Core i7-8700T found in the 27" version.
HP says the 34" Envy AIO will be the first AIO PC with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. The machine has a strip of lights to for visual feedback during interactions. The PC doesn't have any dedicated Alexa buttons, so it might not be possible to put a pair of virtual earmuffs over the assistant's ears. HP says the bigger Envy has a pair of passive radiators to go along with its four active speakers.
The least-expensive EliteOne 1000 G2 rings in at $1279, but we imagine the price tag for a 34" model with discrete graphics, a Core i7 CPU, lots of memory, and speedy NVMe storage is substantially higher. The 27" Envy AIO will launch later this month with a starting price of $1400, though with no SSD. A version with the 4K display, 16 GB of memory, a 256-GB SSD, and a 1-TB hard drive costs a stiffer $1920. HP didn't have any pricing information for the 34" Envy AIO and could only say that the machine will ship later this year. As a point of reference, the current model comes in at around $2270 when equipped with a Core i7-7700T processor, Nvidia GeForce 950M graphics, 16 GB of memory, and dual-storage setup.