To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

HP Elite Slice review: A good mini PC, but not a great one

Our Rating :
£299.95 from
Price when reviewed : £1150
inc VAT (including audio module)

This smart-looking modular PC performs well, but not well enough to justify the price


  • Sleek design
  • Great for multitasking
  • Fast


  • Only three modules are currently available
  • Very expensive

2015 saw the release of the Acer Revo Build, a modular PC that allowed you to add various bits of hardware by stacking block-shaped, clip-on modules on top of each other like an expensive sandwich.

The idea never really took off (it certainly hasn’t changed how we customise and upgrade traditional PCs), but the concept was sound. Perhaps the sleeker, flatter, more powerful HP Elite Slice will have better luck.

READ NEXT: The best desktop PCs you can buy in 2018

This is, strictly speaking, a business PC, which means you get Windows 10 Pro instead of Windows 10 Home, and security features, such as built-in drive encryption. Performance has also been prioritised, as there’s both a 256GB NVMe SSD for faster booting and application loading, and a quad-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-6500T CPU.

The latter is a full-fat desktop processor, rather than a mobile chip as used by many other mini PCs. Don’t expect the same kind of horsepower as the standard Core i5-6500 processor, though. The “T” suffix indicates that some speed has been traded off for lower power consumption.

HP Elite Slice review: Modules

As for its modular system, it echoes the Revo Build in that each module shares the same length and width, as well as the matte black finish, as the PC proper – this ensures a pleasantly consistent look, helped further by the fact that each module is fairly thin, so building an unsightly tower is impossible. Modules are added to the bottom of the preceding one, connecting via a physical port. They feel pretty secure, only coming apart when you flip an unlocking switch on the underside of each module.

The catch is that there are only three modules currently available, two of which were included in our review kit (the missing one was a VESA mount so that you can attach the Elite Slice to the back of a monitor). Specifically, we got the Bang and Olufsen Audio Module, which adds three-way speakers and a dual microphone array, and a DVD-RW drive.

Although the former still isn’t much better than your average laptop speakers in terms of warmth and depth, it’s great for voice calls (fittingly, considering the Elite Slice’s enterprise ambitions). The march of digitisation means the DVD-RW drive might be a little more niche, though it could be useful for creating Windows recovery media in a pinch.

We also had the Collaboration Cover installed. It’s not another clip-on module, but instead replaces the PC’s top panel with one that includes capacitive buttons for calling, muting the microphone, raising and lowering volume and hanging up. This sits neatly with the Audio Module, which is perhaps why HP sells them in a bundle.

HP Elite Slice review: Price

The closest we could get to our test spec was £1,150 for the Elite Slice, the Collaboration Cover and the Audio Module, with the Disk Drive Module adding another £66, for a total of £1,216. Alternatively, you can get the vanilla Elite Slice (with the same internal specs but no Collaboration Cover) for £1,040, then add the two clip-on modules for a grand total of £1,177.

In any case, this is one very expensive mini-PC indeed – far more so than any of its rivals, even accounting for the extra components needed to get barebones systems such as the MSI Cubi 3 Silent working.

HP Elite Slice review: Performance

Performance is, at least, higher than most alternatives; the HP Elite Slice completed our 4K benchmarks without incident, scoring 91 in the image test, 84 in the video test, 36 in the multitasking test and 61 overall. That’s 22 points clear of the Asus VivoMini, and 36 points higher than the Cubi 3 Silent.

True, the Zotac Magnus ER51060 is vastly superior for multitasking, thanks to its full-fat Ryzen 5 1400 processor, but the Elite Slice’s image- and video-editing capability helps it come out on top. It packs its power into a much smaller form factor as well.

Despite its business credentials, the PC also did well in our 720p Dirt Showdown benchmark, averaging 31fps on the game’s High settings. Dropping down to Low quality pushed this all the way up to 52fps.

Again, though, this performance (which still isn’t anywhere near what you’d get from a full-size £1,000-ish desktop) comes at a high cost, and other aspects of the Elite Slice are relatively lacking. There are only two full-size USB 3.1 ports, for instance; connectivity isn’t all bad, as you also get both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and two USB Type-C ports help make up the numbers, but it feels all too easy to run out of room for accessories and peripherals. It helps that there’s a wireless mouse and keyboard set in the box, which can share a single USB receiver, but neither are particularly responsive or comfortable to use.

In addition, while the 256GB SSD is fast, it’s awfully low capacity to serve as your main drive. On the bright side, you can help rectify this yourself by opening up the Elite Slice; doing so grants access to an empty 2.5in drive tray, which can hold either an SSD or compact hard disk. Two M.2 slots are also accessible, though these are already occupied by the main SSD and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi card.

HP Elite Slice review: Verdict

There are reasons to consider the HP Elite Slice: it’s fast by mini PC standards, and the modular system is the best we’ve seen on any Windows device. Hopefully more modules are still to be released, as the current selection is a bit sparse.

However, although this can be a good PC, it’s not a great one. The only thing that makes its high price more palatable is its performance, but if that’s your chief concern, the Magnus ER51060 beat the Elite Slice’s multitasking benchmark score by more than double. If, on the other hand, you can get by with more basic processing power, the Asus VivoMini is a more well-rounded mini PC at a better price.

Read more