PROS / The Sprout’s processor is truly top-tier, offering incredible performance that’s further augmented by its workhorse graphics card.
CONS / The system is large, ungainly and doesn’t have the approachability of most all-in-one computers.
VERDICT / HP’s Sprout is unique, even among all-in-ones, but different doesn’t always mean better. For all its power, it lacks much of the core functionality that would make it a hub for the family’s computing needs.
The HP Sprout is different. Standing apart from most all-in-one desktops, it’s a computer with the most powerful CPU in the category and a graphics card designed for hard work. It also has a built-in camera, a desk lamp and a full-size touch mat you can draw on with the included stylus.
To be fair, this all makes sense when you consider what the Sprout is designed for: scanning, manipulating and printing 3D models. The touchpad and combo overhead lamp and camera are used to scan either 2D images or 3D models into the system. You can then use its built-in power to edit those images and models in programs like Photoshop or Autodesk Maya. HP even offers its own 3D printer you can buy as part of a Sprout bundle.
If you need all that editing power, the Sprout is obviously attractive. If, on the other hand, you’re just an average family member looking for a great all-in-one computer, you may find its speed overkill for your needs. The Intel Core i7-4790S is spectacularly fast, clocking in a PassMark score of 9,623. Any score over 5,000 is very good, and scores above 7,000 are excellent; this processor far exceeds both, which makes lots of sense if you’re going to be doing intense image or video editing. If you’re not, you probably won’t ever max out its capabilities.
As powerful as the Sprout is, it lacks a few of the features we look for in the best all-in-one computers. Its screen is only 23 inches wide, making in one of the two smallest monitors in our review. Likewise, it only has 1080p resolution – adequate, but not particularly impressive when you look at the other options on our lineup. There’s no optical drive for installing media or watching movies and no HDMI inputs or outputs for connecting external monitors, Blu-ray players or game consoles. And while the system does include the standard 8GB of memory and 1TB of hard drive space, that’s not upgradable, something we look for in the many PCs we examine.
HP’s Sprout is an incredible all-in-one computer, but it’s probably not for you. It has unmatched power in its category and some truly fun extras like a touch-sensitive mat and stylus, but it lacks the simple usability necessary to be a great all-in-one, since they’re so often the centerpieces of home offices or dens. If you’re likely to use it for processor-intensive tasks like image editing, it could well be worth the buy, but the average family should look higher on our lineup.