You'd be forgiven for feeling puzzled by the branding of HP's newly announced Envy 23 all-in-one. Not because it's strange that HP might want to expand the Envy line to a desktop. It's just unclear why it's this desktop, rather than its 27-inch Omni all-in-one, which inspired HP to extend the generally well-regarded Envy moniker.
The Omni 27, which debuted at CES 2012, was the first 27-inch Windows all-in-one. This Envy is just another home entertainment-focused 23-incher.
You get the usual options in the non-touch, 1,920x1,080 pixel Envy 23; third-generation "Ivy Bridge" Intel Core chips, a Blu-ray drive, a TV tuner, an HDMI input. No problems with those features. Beats Audio comes standard. That, and a few HP-exclusive software add-ons (a remote desktop app, a desktop expander), represent the few signifiers that this might be something other than a straight commodity system.
If anything, the budget-priced Pavilion 23 All-in-One, also announced today, is more interesting than the Envy 23. With a $649 starting price, that AMD-based PC becomes one of the most affordable 23-inch all-in-ones on the market. The fact that you can buy a large-screen all-in-one for less than $700 should be exciting for consumers. The Envy 23, which starts at $949, will have a harder time standing out next to competing PCs from Lenovo, Vizio, and others.
Look for both new HP all-in-ones on HP's Web site on August 2, and in retail on August 5. I wouldn't be surprised to see an Envy-branded 27-incher emerge before too long either, perhaps to launch alongside Windows 8 later this year.