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HP Rove 20: Family Game Night Goes Digital This Christmas

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Laptops like Google's Chromebook have made providing a computing device for the children in your home much easier and for many, the days of that one, centrally located, family desktop computer may be waning. The writing's on the wall and HP's clearly reading it, providing what amounts to a 20" tablet for some family fun and general household consumption.

 

Who Wants A 20" Tablet?

When you first remove HP's 20" All-In-One computer, you'll find that it does indeed favor a large tablet. Powering it on only reinforces the notion once you see the screen rotate but they've included something which makes more sense than what you get on most tablets and that's a very sturdy, adjustable kickstand. That sturdy kickstand allows you to consume content and interact with games in whichever angle makes the most sense on the 1600x900, 10 point touch enabled, IPS widescreen display. On the front of the device you get an HP TrueVision HD webcam and a touch-sensitive Windows button on the bottom which takes you back to the home screen. Around the bezel of the Rove you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, power port and rotation lock on the left side of the device with a third USB 3.0 port, volume rocker and a combo headphone/microphone jack on the right. On the bottom edge you'll also get a multi-format digital media card reader to make sharing photos from a camera that isn't your cellphone, easier.

 

Digital Un-Divided

HP is targeting this computer squarely at the family market by providing some built-in entertainment for your family game night. Those are still a thing, right? Well, if not, you might consider giving one a try with the digital version of Monopoly that comes with the Rove 20. A household favorite in my own home, the digital version is definitely an entertaining twist on an old school classic but the fun doesn't stop there. HP included other multiplayer games, including some engaging puzzle games and a lite version of Disney's Disney Fairies hidden object game. Remember that hinged stand I mentioned earlier? Well, for "tabletop" gaming it folds flat into the back of this all-in-one so that you can lay the device flat for that traditional board game feel. And to help you with that, you also get a built-in battery on the Rove 20 but don't go too far from an outlet because, at best, you're only getting three hours out of it; even less with processor intensive applications.

One of the pros to having this tablet-like behemoth running Windows 8 is that you can take advantage of the full screen apps available in the Windows Marketplace. There's no included DVD drive on the Rove so being able to download apps like Netflix to get your content fix is a bonus. Not that you couldn't do the same thing in a browser but for general consumption, working with the apps tends to offer a more refined, easier to use experience for many. Speaking of full-screen apps, using the  built-in SD card slot on the "bottom" edge of the device, you can load up pictures from a camera (if you're not already syncing them wirelessly) then fold the device flat for some tabletop sharing or use Intel's WiDi, which is a wireless technology which allows you to push content to another display such as the living room TV.

 

It Isn't All Fun And Games

The "cons" for this device are not many. My gripes amount to a desire for better battery life and some sort of handle built in. Since this is meant to be "portable" it would be nice to see an easier way to carry it around. It isn't the lightest "portable" device on the market, weighing in at 11lbs which seems light until you're actually trying to carry the Rove, with it's smooth surfaces, to a different space for that family gaming. Definitely not a task you'll feel comfortable allowing your wee little ones to tackle. Because I'm reviewing the device, I'm obligated to mention that, power users, this may not be the device for you. This is firmly planted in the area of family fun so if you're thinking about some intensive video editing (Photoshop is fine) then you may need to look elsewhere. While the Rove 20 is equipped with one of the Haswell family of processors, it's of the 1.7 GHz, Core i3 variety so it isn't quite up to feats of digital Heraclean might but, again, for everyday family use which is typically email, web surfing and content consumption, you're in capable hands, no demi-god needed.

All told, HP definitely brings the fun to families looking for some space-saving all-in-one goodness. A brilliant touch screen, competitive sub-$1000.00 price point, Beats Audio built-in and games galore with 1tb of hybrid hard drive space built-in to add to your collection with reckless abandon, the Rove 20 is a family computer that you should definitely place in your short list if you're in the market this holiday season!

Tshaka Armstrong Tech Ninja Tshaka Armstong writes about the latest technology and helping FOX 11 Viewers understand how to be safer, smarter users of the internet and their "gadgets. He's also one of our social media guys, helping guide the station's online efforts and social media outreach.
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