We admittedly didn't initially get the point of HP's new "Recline" family of all-in-ones. Sure, we understood the concept well enough; these machines use a patent-pending hinge allowing the touchscreen to hang off the table, close to your lap. But we couldn't understand why HP would opt for such a funky design, other than the fact that its research team concluded a good deal of people would prefer to use their desktops this way. (We're skeptical of marketing departments, can't you tell?) It turns out, a lap-screen is the sort of feature you really do want, even if you don't know it yet.
Setting aside that onscreen piano example in the above photo -- now that's a gimmick -- we found we had a much easier time interacting with IE and Maps app than we would have if the screen were upright. In part, that's because having the 1080p display sitting lower and at that particular angle makes it easier to type on the onscreen keyboard, which in turn takes the pain out of entering URLs and search terms. Also, though, the lower the screen is, the more you're likely to interact with it like a tablet -- a very big tablet, but a tablet nonetheless. That means you might even find yourself using two hands at once, as opposed to reaching up occasionally to swipe with your finger. Our only gripe? There's no physical Start button, so you'll have to either swipe the Charms bar or pause to hit the shortcut on your keyboard. Not a big deal, but it does mean the tablet experience might not feel as seamless as what you'd expect from a proper slate. If we've convinced you to take a closer look, the Recline 23 and 27 are both available today, though if you'd rather have it with a red hinge (and even more Beats branding than usual) you'll have to wait until November.
HP Recline 27 hands-on