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HP EliteOne 1000 G1 (34-Inch)

In this era of affordable air travel and the itch to stay ever connected, a business desktop can claim few innate advantages over a laptop. Two big ones are more screen real estate and easier upgrades, and HP’s EliteOne 1000 G1 all-in-one desktop[1] offers both in spades. Beyond the 27-inch version of the EliteOne 1000[2] that HP started selling last year is the model I’m reviewing here, with a gorgeous 34-inch curved display.

It starts at a reasonable £1,699; this £1,769 test unit’s extra pixels make it an excellent platform for video conferencing and light multitasking, and it shares with its smaller sibling a removable rear cover for quick access to internal components. Such an enormous curved display is overkill for most business users, however, so the 27-inch model remains our Editors’ Choice among midrange business all-in-ones.

A Show-Stealing Curved Display

Like any technology, wide-aspect curved displays have come down dramatically in price since they first showed up on the market. (It has been a few years now.) In 2014, you could have spent more than £1,500, easily, on a 34-inch curved display with a wide quad HD (WQHD) resolution. Now, you can get the screen–plus an entire PC in the base–for just a few hundred dollars more.

With an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and integrated graphics (the system relies on the Intel solution in the CPU), the EliteOne 1000 is by no means a computing powerhouse.

But its thoughtful design and reasonable price make up for its horsepower deficiencies if you need to display multiple app windows side by side. In fact, I was able to fit three web browser windows side by side with room to spare. With the 27-inch version, I could fit only two, and they were narrow enough that some websites defaulted to their mobile-phone layouts.

Not only is the 34-inch version wide, but it also has a high pixel density of 3,440 by 1,440 pixels. This WQHD resolution is not quite 4K (that would be 3,840 by 2,160 pixels), and its matte finish means that colors don’t look quite as vivid as they do on the Dell Precision 5720 All-in-One[3], a high-end, workstation-grade AIO that’s based on Dell’s iconic consumer AIO, the XPS 27[4]. Still, the panel uses In-Plane Switching (IPS) to offer wide viewing angles, and it’s extremely bright.

It’s so bright, in fact, that even in the brightly lit PC Labs, I found myself squinting and reaching for the center-mounted physical display controls to dial the brightness level down below 50 percent.

The only major feature missing from the EliteOne 1000’s display is touch support. Such a large screen begs to be touched, especially since Windows 10 includes robust support for both finger taps and pen gestures. Implementing touch in such a nonstandard screen, though, certainly would have been cost-prohibitive.

Alas, you’ll have to content yourself with the mouse and keyboard. The base model 24-inch EliteOne 1000 does offer a touch-screen option at full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution. The 27-inch version only comes in a 4K non-touch panel.

If you do opt for the 34-inch version, you’ll be pleased to know that HP has managed to minimize weight and bulkiness, primarily by keeping the same thin bezels and the same-size base that belong to the 27-inch and 24-inch models.

As a result, weight only increases by less than a pound, from 22.5 pounds for the 27-inch to 22.8 pounds for the 34-inch. The 24-inch weighs 18.1 pounds.

Easy to Upgrade, Plus a Swappable…Screen?

The EliteOne 1000’s second standout feature is its easy access to the interior, which sets it apart from most consumer and business all-in-ones. Instead of housing the processor, memory, storage, and other components inside the display enclosure (as Apple does with the iMac[5] and Dell does with many of its OptiPlex and Precision AIOs), HP has placed virtually everything into the EliteOne 1000’s base.

To access it all, IT upgraders and fixer-uppers just need to press the two release buttons on the rear of the base unit to lift away the rear portion of the cover, and then press the release buttons on the front cover and lift it straight up to remove it. They can now see and access virtually every system component. Memory is easy to add, with no further tools required, and you can slip in a 2.5-inch hard drive or a solid-state drive (SSD).

For access to the CPU and other major upgrades, however, you will need to do some unscrewing and remove one or both of the cooling fans.

Still, the easy stuff is readily accessible, and being able to get to the more hardcore stuff beats having no access to it at all, like with the Apple iMac, or extremely difficult access, like with the Dell Precision 5720. In fact, Apple has doubled down on component inaccessibility with the iMac Pro[6]. While end users can swap memory DIMMs on the non-Pro iMac, this is impossible in the iMac Pro unless you want to take on significant (and likely warranty-voiding) damage risk.

The EliteOne’s parts swappability doesn’t end with the usual suspects like RAM and storage. It even extends to the display. If you’re buying a fleet of EliteOne machines for a large organization, chances are that physical damage will occur to at least some of them in time.

To remedy broken screens, you can actually remove the entire display from the base and replace it with the display from a unit that has been retired.

HP says this can be done in just eight steps, with no tools required. These might seem like investment-grade AIOs, and even more so because of this flexibility. An IT team might consider keeping retired EliteOne 1000 units in storage, as the parts could come in handy later on.

An Excellent Keyboard and Mouse

As stock keyboards and mice go, the upgraded wireless set that HP sent along with our EliteOne 1000 review unit is excellent.

The mouse is clad in a pleasingly soft-touch shell, and though it’s on the small side, it felt perfectly comfortable in my rather large hands. The keyboard also boasts a premium feel, although it’s metallic instead of soft-touch plastic. Key travel is minimal, about what you’d get from a laptop keyboard, but there’s virtually no flex even if you mash the keys hard.

People whose job requires constant typing will want to invest in a third-party keyboard, but for typical office tasks, HP’s model works just fine.

Multiple peripheral sets are available, though, and the base set I used with the 27-inch EliteOne 1000 did not impress. The plasticky feel and uninspired design make that keyboard and mouse look downright ugly compared with the rest of the system, so make sure you spring for the upgraded models, like the ones I received with my 34-inch tester. Both peripherals connect to a tiny USB dongle, which is a bit more obtrusive than the dongle-free Bluetooth connection that the iMac’s peripherals use.

But a dedicated dongle is an advantage if you have other Bluetooth devices in your office that might cause interference. Although the EliteOne 1000’s display might be missing touch support, dedicated audio controls along the lower edge of the base do employ capacitive touch instead of physical buttons. Swiping your finger along a groove to raise or lower the volume feels very futuristic.

So does tapping on the phone icon to answer a Skype for Business[7] call. You also get microphone and speaker mute controls, as well as a shortcut to disable the webcam. Each of the controls is illuminated with a backlight, which turns amber when you mute or disable it.

Alas, the futuristic capacitive controls don’t extend to the power button, which is the old-fashioned, mechanical press-me kind.

In a quirky twist, the EliteOne 1000’s spring-loaded webcam assembly pops out of the top of the display case. It’s a comparatively big assembly, much larger than just the camera itself. That means there’s room enough not only for IR sensors that allow you to log in to Windows using face recognition, but also a second rear-facing lens mounted on the back, so you can see whatever’s behind your computer.

Thanks in part to their 1080p resolutions, both cameras offer images free of the low-light graininess that plagues laptop webcams.

I can’t think of very many uses for this smartphone-like dual-camera setup, although I suppose it could come in handy if you’re videoconferencing with several people crowded into your office, in front of your desk. If this applies to you, there’s a dial that lets you adjust the rear-facing camera up or down in case you’re cutting off anyone’s head. For added peace of mind, the popup camera is a security device of sorts; just slide the webcam housing down into its locking recessed slot when you’re not using it to prevent hackers from spying on you.

Cranking It Up, and the Connectivity

The audio quality from the Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers is generally very good.

Music sounds immersive, and most important for frequent Skype users, voices and vocals are clear and crisp. The 2-watt speakers aren’t very large, however, since they’re competing for space with all of the other components in the EliteOne 1000’s crammed-full base. They can fill an average private office with music, but they will sound lost in bigger rooms.

There’s also no room for a dedicated subwoofer, so bass is virtually non-existent. Then again, the 34-inch EliteOne is all about screen real estate, not audio. If you want superb sound quality from a business all-in-one, the Precision 5720 is the clear choice, with its whopping 10 speakers that can peel the paint off the walls.

Though this is an AIO, port options are generous. Along the back edge of the case, you get four USB Type-A ports that support SM© USB 3.1 Gen 1. There’s also no less than three display connectors: HDMI and DisplayPort outputs for a second screen, and a DisplayPort input if you’d like to use the 34-inch behemoth with another computer or video source.

A gigabit Ethernet port, a power jack, and a physical cable-lockdown slot round out the rear ports.

Meanwhile, the right side of the case includes a headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, and a fifth SM© USB 3.1 Type-A connector, in which I parked the dongle for the mouse and keyboard. Unfortunately, the USB Type-C port does not support Thunderbolt 3, a glaring omission in a business machine whose MSRP can push past £2,000. The EliteOne 1000 handles wireless connections with Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi radios.

For the unit I’m reviewing, HP includes a generous three-year limited warranty that covers parts, labor, and on-site repair. That three-year warranty is currently the only option, a good look compared with Dell and Lenovo AIOs that offer a single year for their base warranties.

All Those Pixels Don’t Quash Performance

Even if you’re eyeing the EliteOne 1000 for its post-purchase upgrade options, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the variety of component configurations that HP offers straight out of the factory. Currently, HP offers a dizzying array of more than 30 CPU options, from Intel Celeron and Pentium models to Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips from the seventh-generation (“Kaby Lake”) and eighth-generation (“Coffee Lake”) lines.

Coffee Lake chips are available in the EliteOne 1000 G2, which is otherwise nearly identical to the G1 model. Six memory capacities are available, from 4GB to 32GB in a variety of DIMM configurations. You can also ask HP to fill the M.2 and 2.5-inch storage bays with nearly any mainstream drive configuration or combination, including PCI Express (PCIe) NVMe SSDs, hard drive/SSD hybrids, and even a 16GB Intel Optane Memory[8] module, caching for a hard drive.

The test configuration here includes the same relatively pedestrian components that I tested in the 27-inch EliteOne 1000: an Intel Core i5-7500 CPU running at 3.4GHz, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD occupying the M.2 slot. Still, this configuration is more than enough for basic office-productivity tasks, and it has the added benefit of keeping the EliteOne 1000’s price relatively palatable. Moving up to a dual-drive configuration with lots more solid state storage, 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i7 will take the price well above £2,000.

Interestingly, the 34-incher’s score of 3,232 on the PCMark 8 benchmark, which simulates general office tasks like spreadsheet editing, web browsing, and videoconferencing, is much better than the 2,937 that the 27-inch machine recorded.

This is almost entirely due to the different native screen resolutions. The same Core i5 processor must push more pixels on the 27-inch 4K display than on the 34-inch WQHD panel, which theoretically translates into more sluggish performance. In practice, however, I didn’t notice any slowdowns.

App switching, frequent visits to multimedia-rich PCMag web pages, and other tasks felt quick and responsive. For a numerical illustration of this, consider the nearly identical scores that the two EliteOne 1000 models achieved on our Handbrake video-conversion, Photoshop photo-processing, and Cinebench rendering tests. Essentially, the slowdown attributable to the 4K display’s extra pixels is not a factor in CPU-centric, raw-processing-intensive tests, but rears its head more prominently in everyday productivity apps.

On the other hand, it can provide some empirical justification for buying such an expansive screen at a lower resolution. The upshot is that if you’d prefer a huge screen over a 4K display, you don’t necessarily need a fast processor to perform basic tasks on it.

That said, if you plan to do even light gaming, consider outfitting your EliteOne 1000 with a discrete graphics chip. (HP’s option for an AMD Radeon RX 560 was not included in this review unit.) For the performance improvement you can expect from this upgrade, check out the scores of the iMac equipped with a similar Radeon chip; the RX 560 should make some games playable at lower resolutions, as you can see from the 64 frames per second the iMac achieved on our Valley gaming simulation. See How We Test Desktops[9]

This Curve Will Make You Smile

Ultimately, your decision to buy the 34-inch version of the HP EliteOne 1000 will come down to its expansive screen real estate.

Large companies ordering dozens of models will likely want most of them in the more manageable 24-inch or 27-inch sizes, but they might still order a few of the 34-inch models for executives without giving up serviceability.

Likewise, if you have the room to spare in your home office and have always wanted to see whether curved screens live up to their hype (remember, three windows side by side!), there’s little to stop you from buying one for personal use.

For most people, though, the Editors’ Choice 27-inch version will be a better fit, both literally and economically.

But the wow factor of this 34-inch machine cannot be denied, and if you play your component cards right, you can land one for a surprisingly reasonable price.

HP EliteOne 1000 G1 (34-Inch)

Bottom Line: A 34-inch curved display is the HP EliteOne 1000’s standout feature, but this business all-in-one also features easy interior access for upgrades, and even screen swappability.

References

  1. ^ all-in-one desktop (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ 27-inch version of the EliteOne 1000 (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Dell Precision 5720 All-in-One (uk.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ XPS 27 (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ iMac (uk.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ iMac Pro (uk.pcmag.com)
  7. ^ Skype for Business (uk.pcmag.com)
  8. ^ Intel Optane Memory (uk.pcmag.com)
  9. ^ See How We Test Desktops (uk.pcmag.com)

Ford is deploying exoskeletons in 15 of its factories around the world

The automaker is testing whether productivity gains among workers who wear the strength-boosting suits make the technology cost-effective. Testing 1, 2, 3: Last year, Ford deployed exoskeletons at two of its factories in Michigan. Based on those tests it’s now expanding their use to 15 plants around the world.

Every North American factory will be receiving at least one, while the rest will go to facilities in Asia, Europe, and South America. What they do: The EksoVests, produced by Ekso Bionics, help provide an extra five to 15 pounds of force per arm when lifting heavy items. In Ford’s case, the vests are especially helpful to assembly line workers that spend most of their time reaching up to work on the undersides of cars.

The rollout: A total of 75 EksoVests will be issued in Ford’s next stage of experimentation. That’s a small number in a company of over 200,000 employees, but the company sees it as a stepping stone for future efforts that go beyond assisting with overhead work. “We wanted to focus on one exoskeleton initially, then expand from there as the space grows,” Marty Smets, Ford’s technical expert of human systems and virtual manufacturing, told Engadget. Why it matters: Exoskeletons can help reduce worker injury and increase productivity.

These tests are meant to prove the technology’s utility and whether it’s a financially feasible investment for large manufacturers.

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