HP targets business buyers with Compaq 8200 Elite AIO (June 18th, 2012)
Product Manufacturer: HP
Price: $1049 as tested
- Core i5 option is fast
- Attractive design
- No USB 3.0, FireWire
- No option for discrete graphics
- Lackluster display
- No touchscreen option
All-in-one computers have yet to become established in the enterprise market, but the Compaq 8200 Elite represents one of HP's latest efforts to buck the trend. With a Core i5 chipset and no option for discrete graphics in the top configurations, the 8200 Elite is not aiming to compete with the company's own Z1 all-in-one workstation. In our full review, we try to determine if the 23-inch AIO makes sense for business customers interested in sub-$1000 systems.
The Elite 8200 AIO does not diverge from HP's recent design aesthetics--predominantly gloss black alongside matte panels and metallic accents. The finish makes sense in a business environment, where companies may prefer a professional appearance and avoid anything too flashy or dull.
The company appears to have taken inspiration from Apple's iMac systems, utilizing a flat foot that wraps around the back of the computer and attaches to the chassis at a hinge. We found the tilt angles to be acceptable for most seating positions, while the flat food can be used as a stowage area for a keyboard or other items.
The build quality appears to be fairly robust, not quite as rigid as an aluminum iMac but solid enough to take a bit of abuse around an office or at home.
With a 23-inch display, the 8200 Elite fits among midsize all-in-ones. Most users will find the 23-inch to be a sweet spot in an office, easier to read than a 21.5-inch model and less space-consuming than a 27-inch alternative. The system does not integrate a touchscreen, however, which seems slightly behind the curve for Windows all-in-ones.
We found the 1920x1080 display to be average on most points--not particularly bright or vibrant, but not decidedly insufficient in any way. The integrated webcam matches the full HD resolution of the display itself, though we found the video quality to be equally mediocre.
The speakers, which sit below the display, are surprisingly loud when cranked to high volume. Keeping to the business-oriented theme, the speaker appears to be great for listening to voice. When used for entertainment device for movies or music, however, the speakers begin to show their limitations.
Customers can choose from several different processors, including a dual-core 2.9GHz Pentium chip in the bas model and stepping up to a dual-core 3.3GHz Core i3 chip for the midrange option. The top tier steps up to four cores thanks to Intel's Core i5-2400S chip running at 2.5GHz.
HP sent us the Core i5 variant to try out, and we found the quad-core chip to be capable of easily handling any extreme multitasking operations that we would expect in an office setting--multiple productivity apps, several browser windows, etc.
Without an option for discrete graphics, the system is neither a gaming machine nor a workstation capable of running 3D modeling software or other graphics-intensive business software. Tests confirmed our expectation--slow frame rates when gaming or decoding HD video, particularly when concurrently running several programs.
Many businesses typically attempt to purchase computers that offer a wide range of connectivity options, including the latest standards to avoid incompatibility issues in the beginning of the life cycle. In this regard, HP's new all-in-one is clearly lacking.
Users can take advantage of six USB ports, however none offer USB 3.0 compatibility. The lack of HDMI input/output, or any other video interface, eliminates the ability to directly connect a second display or use the AIO as an external monitor for another computer. The company does provide a software solution, LinkUp, that enables wireless mirroring over a network.
Other omissions include FireWire and eSATA, which, in the absence of USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, equates to comparatively slow backups to external storage.
Networking options are admittedly up to par, enabling users to connect via Gigabit Ethernet or 802.11n Wi-Fi. The system also provides a memory card reader that supports six different formats.
HP's Compaq 8200 Elite does bring several attributes that are likely to attract some business customers, including Windows 7 Professional and a balance between performance and cost. Many potential buyers will be justifiably dissuaded by the limited connectivity options and lack of a touchscreen, however. Several competing systems bring USB 3.0 and/or a touchscreen for comparable comparable prices.
The Pentium-based model starts at $900, while the Core i3 edition fetches $999. Stepping up to the quad-core i5 model only adds another $50, making it the clear choice in the series.