HP Envy Rove 20: Big display matters

The Rove 20 is a hybrid computer with advanced touch technology.

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Published: September 19, 2013 7:24 pm

The Rove 20 is a hybrid computer with advanced touch technology. It can be a good productivity tool as well as an entertainment device for watching movies and playing games

As more and more people own a mobile phone these days,there is growing enthusiasm to watch movies and play games on the small screen. A smaller screen,after all,gives you the ability to stream movies from the internet or play games almost anywhere—in office,while commuting or in the comforts of your home. There is also a growing appetite amongst consumers to use their mobile phones to buy tickets too. But the fact is,television continues to be preferred by the viewers to watch movies because a big screen gives you a lot to look at,and a lot of detail.

Estimated street price; Rs 69,990

Consumer interest in large phones and large televisions has certainly spurred renewed faith in the idea of going big. An early trend spotter,the American PC maker Hewlett-Packard has introduced a powerful all-in-one PC which can be used as a productivity tool as well as an entertainment device. The R69,990-a-piece HP Envy Rove 20 is a fairly heavy computer (5 kg) with a 20-inch screen. It looks like a small HDTV,with a spring-loaded kickstand permanently

attached to the back panel. Its screen is bright with a 1,600-by-900-resolution IPS panel and Beats Audio with sub-woofer. This combination of components makes the system ideal for streaming music or movies from the internet. And,it comes with an internal battery which should give you about three hours of battery life on a full charge.

Straight out of the box,I wondered whether it’s a tablet,or a desktop,or a hybrid of the two. In my opinion,the HP Envy Rove 20 walks the line in-between. It has a unique design and the best part is that it is easily convertible from a conventional computer sitting on the desk to an easy-to-handle tablet device,enabling families and friends to enjoy it as an entertainment machine. This is probably the reason as to why HP folks call their new device Rove; it can move from place to place.

On the back there’s a squeezable panel which,when fully depressed,pops out the large metal kickstand which hinges down to prop the HP Rove up. At its full extension,it’s akin to a regular desk-bound all-in-one,but push the Rove 20 back,and you can adjust it to any angle down to flat on the desk,just like a tablet computer. In my use,at no point,even playing games on the touchscreen,did I fear that the HP machine was going to topple over; it’s rubber feet kept it steady and still on the desktop.

Probing the innards,the specifications are more like a notebook than a traditional PC. There’s a CPU,memory,hard drive integrated behind the screen. Our review unit had a 4th Generation Intel Core i3M processor,paired with 16 GB DDR3 memory and Intel HD 4400 graphics. There’s a 1 TB hybrid hard-drive—HP refers to it as SSHD—which pairs a traditional spinning-platter HDD with 8 GB of flash memory for caching frequently-accessed files. Connectivity comes in three USB 3.0 points (two on the left flank,one on the right) and a combo headphone/microphone jacket. There’s Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2 x 2 and Bluetooth 4.0. Intel WiDi for wirelessly connecting a compatible display,but there’s no HDMI,Micro DisplayPort,or other such video output.

The 20-inch IPS panel is bright,with great colours and broad viewing angles,and the back lighting is consistent across the screen. Microsoft Windows 8 is all about touch and the Rove delivers this feature in a splendid manner. The touch response is crisp,tracking up to ten points of contact simultaneously. Above the display is a 720p Web camera,and there’s an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment.

Using advanced multi-touch technology,multiple people can interact with games and more at the same time on the HP Rove. Multi-player games such as Electronic Arts’ Monopoly,Fingertapps,JigsWar Puzzle and Fingertapps Musical Instruments are an ease to play when the PC is laid flat. Windows 8 has a native Netflix app too,which could be a useful source of content for movies and TV shows,if you are already paying out for a subscription.

The Rove is part of the Beats Audio brand. The machine’s tiny speakers pump out good volume with a hint of bass and minimal distortion in most situations. It’s unlikely that you’ll need external speakers to boost the audio. There is a 3.5mm jack in the screen surround though,allowing you to use headphones if you wish.

My takeaways: The Rove is an innovative product in a unique design,which frees the PC from the desk and allows family members and friends to enjoy a shared entertainment experience—on the big screen and with advanced touch technology.

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