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HP's all-in-one Envy 23 Recline puts the touchscreen in your lap

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Gallery Photo: HP Envy 23 Recline and Envy 27 Recline hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: HP Envy 23 Recline and Envy 27 Recline hands-on pictures

HP started building touchscreen all-in-one computers long before Windows 8, and yet the company's had trouble keeping up with the times. When we reviewed the HP Envy 23 Touchsmart alongside its peers last December, it fell shy. Today, though, the company's trying a bold new design: an all-in-one computer you can prop up at practically any angle or even pull down into your lap. It's called the Envy 23 Recline.

The idea is that whether you're standing or sitting, using a traditional mouse and keyboard or interacting with the screen, you'll always be able to easily position the computer where it makes the most ergonomic sense. We've seen similar designs in the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 and the Dell XPS One 27, but HP takes the multi-point hinge much further than previous attempts. We got to try it person, and with the Envy 23 Recline in particular, the tension is finely tuned: you can move it up and down easily with a single hand. The 27-inch Envy 27 Recline, unfortunately, isn't balanced nearly as well.

Under the hood, the new computers offer a reasonably solid set of specs, each packing 1080p IPS displays with 10-point capacitive touch, the latest Intel Core processors, dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 730A graphics, and up to 16GB of RAM. The Envy 23 Recline should come standard with a 2.9GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 802.11n Wi-Fi, while the Envy 27 Recline adds 12GB of RAM, faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and a solid state cache for speedier boots and app launches. Both come with a wireless keyboard and mouse, five USB ports, Beats Audio, and an HDMI input to plug in a set-top box or game console. Both should go on sale September 6th. The Envy 23 Recline should start at $1,349, with a cheaper $999 configuration in late September, while the Envy 27 Recline will retail for $1,399. There's also a shiny red and black special edition Beats variant in case you're feeling an urge to further brand your computer: it will start at $1,249 in November.