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HP Beats Special Edition 23-n001na review

Richard Easton
30 Sep 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
900
inc VAT

The HP Beats Special Edition 23-n001na is an all-in-one PC with an eye-catching design and good application performance

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4785T, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 4x USB, Total storage: 1TB Hard disk, Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics 4600, Display: , Operating system: Windows 8.1

The HP Beats Special Edition 23-n001na is an attractive and eye-catching all-in-one touchscreen PC that stands out thanks to its luscious red chassis. We think it’s one of the more visually enticing all-in-one PCs we’ve tested, and it’ll appeal to anyone looking for an eye-catching family PC.

The shade of red used for the chassis is undeniably Beats inspired, but the Beats theme goes beyond just the design of the chassis. The Beats Special Edition 23-n001na also has eight speakers located on the front, and it almost looks as if an elongated, flatter version of the Beats Pill speaker has been attached to the bottom of the display. Front and centre is a red illuminated Beats logo, which makes the PC look a bit more special.

Sadly, though, the sound quality of the 12W speakers wasn't a massive improvement on that of other all-in-one PCs we’ve tested. The mid-range and treble sounded tinny and harsh, with surprisingly little low-frequency presence. We expected the pronounced bass that’s synonymous with the Beats brand, but found the bass subdued. The speakers can reach a very loud maximum volume, but the sound becomes increasingly harsh as the volume rises.

While its audio quality was lacking, the Beats Special Edition performed admirably as a family PC, and showed it was up to most computing tasks. The system managed a respectable score of 79 overall in our PC benchmarks. It’s powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7-4785T processor, which has a base clock of 2.2GHz and a Turbo Boost speed of 3.2GHz. This processor is paired with 8GB of RAM, which should be enough for all but the most demanding video-editing and music production tasks.

The HP Beats Special Edition 23-n001na was responsive when we navigated the Windows 8.1 Desktop, and we never encountered any slowdown that spoiled its smooth feel. Thanks to the PC’s 1TB hard disk there’s plenty of room for applications and a decent media library, although those with huge media libraries will need to use external storage.

As the Beats Special Edition 23-n001na uses its processor’s built-in graphics processor rather than a discrete graphics chip, its graphics performance was disappointing. The PC produced an average 23.7fps in our Dirt Showdown benchmark with the game running at a resolution of 1,280x720 with 4x anti-aliasing and Very High graphics quality. You’ll have no problem browsing the web with the 23-n001na, and it’ll be able to handle light 3D tasks, but this is no 3D gaming machine.

Less graphically challenging games such as Trine 2 and Faster Than Light played well, and you won’t have any problems with more casual games from the Windows Store. Playing Angry Birds on the screen’s large touchscreen was an enjoyable and fun experience. The system also comes with a number of music-related applications, including a touchscreen piano app that’ll keep younger users entertained.

If you have a games console, you can connect it to the 23-n001na and use the 23-n001na as an external Full HD monitor. This makes the 23-n001na a versatile option if you’re limited for space. You could also connect a set-top box to the HDMI port to watch television, for example.

The 23-n001na’s selection of connection ports isn’t as vast as that of some other all-in-one PCs we’ve reviewed, but it’s not bad. The PC’s two USB3 ports are all located on the side of the system for easy access, and there are an additional four USB2 ports at the rear. The 23-n001na also has a multi-card reader that supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. As for networking, you can use the PC’s gigabit Ethernet port or its built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor. Finally, the 23-n001na has a DVD writer, but a Blu-ray drive would have been better.

Sadly, the 23-n001na’s 23in display didn’t fare too well in our screen tests. The colours in our test images weren’t as vibrant as we’d have liked, and the display’s panel had a grainy quality when viewed up close. Our colour calibrator measured a black level reading of just 0.33cd/m2, which is poor, and a contrast ratio of 566:1, which is about average. Our colour calibrator also reported that the 23-n001na’s sRGB colour gamut coverage was only 82.5 per cent, which means that the 23-n001na isn’t the best choice where colour accuracy is paramount, such as detailed photo editing.

However, the display is more adequate for common tasks such as watching videos and browsing the web, and it has decent viewing angles. We never encountered any problems with the screen’s touch sensitivity, either.

The system comes with a HP wireless keyboard and mouse set, and the wireless receiver is built into the system so you won’t have to consume USB ports with dongles. The keyboard is slim with Chiclet-style keys. It was reasonably comfortable to use, but the keys don’t have much travel and are slightly spongey. It does have useful media and volume controls, though. The mouse is very basic but is comfortable and suitably sensitive with an attractive glossy finish.

Overall, we liked the HP Beats Special Edition 23-n001na, but it’s a shame that its speakers didn’t live up to the bass-heavy promise of the Beats branding. It performed pretty well in our PC benchmarks, and even outperformed the more expensive Acer Aspire U5-620. However, the Acer Aspire U5-620 has a dedicated graphics chip, a TV tuner and a Blu-ray drive, so is better if you’re into gaming and don’t want to buy a separate Blu-ray player.

Core Specs
ProcessorQuad-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4785T
Processor socketLGA 1150
RAM8GB
Memory typeDDR3-12800 SODIMM
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardN/A
Motherboard chipsetIntel H87
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB3
Rear USB ports4x USB
Other portsNone
Networking1x10/100/1000, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Case typeAIO
Case size HxWxD413x563x143mm
PCI (free)N/A
PCIe x1 (free)N/A
PCIe x16 (free)N/A
Serial ATA (free)N/A
Memory slots (free)N/A
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)N/A
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)N/A
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)N/A
Storage
Total storage1TB Hard disk
Memory card readerSD, SDHC, SDXC
Optical drive typeDVD-RW
GRAPHICS
Graphics cardIntel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics/video portsHDMI In
Sound
Sound cardRealtek HD Audio
Sound card outputsHeadset
Speakers8 x 12W
Display
Display23in IPS touchscreen
Native resolution1.920x1,080
InputsHDMI
Other hardware
KeyboardHP Wireless Keyboard
MouseHP Wireless Mouse
ExtrasNone
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£900
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£900
Supplierwww.johnlewis.com
Detailswww.hp.com/uk
Part CodeEnvy 23-n001na 

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