HP's Z1 is a fully fledged professional workstation PC. Featuring a huge 27in screen and weighing in at over 20kg its monster of an all-in-one PC and when you look at how it's built it's not hard to see why. The level of build quality is on a completely different level to a consumer system. See also: Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?

Its massive hinged stand allows it to tilt into a horizontal position from where you can click two latches into place and open up the main unit as though the screen were the bonnet of a car. Once raised, the screen is held in place by a piston stand which also helps you to close it gently.

Inside, the system is entirely modular. Most of the core components can be swapped out or upgraded by the user without the need for so much as a screwdriver. Of course, these are workstation-grade components which means an nVidia Quadro graphics card (in this case a 1000M model) and an Intel Xeon processor. You also get a full three-year on-site warranty with guaranteed next-day service.

The quad-core Xeon E3-1280 clocks at 3.5GHz and turbo boosts to 3.9GHz while supporting Hyperthreading and a larger cache than the standard Core i7 processors. This allows the Z1 to come out top in our WorldBench 6 tests – although only by a relatively small margin.

The Z1's display is without a doubt the best of the group. It doesn't feature any frivolous touch interface, but it does come with a stunning 2560 by 1440 pixel IPS panel, capable of eye-wateringly bright output if need be. It's also capable of displaying up to one billion colours and features extra wide viewing angles, housed behind its sleek edge-to-edge glass.

It's not designed for multimedia, so no Blu-ray drive is included although it does feature somewhat higher quality speakers than we expected and a full-HD webcam.

Our one quibble would have to be the excruciatingly annoying placement of most of the ports and connectors – not only on the underside of the monitor, but also behind the stand where fingers simply cannot reach without considerable effort.

HP Z1: Specs

  • 3.5 - 3.9GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon E3-1280
  • Custom Intel C206
  • 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • 1TB SATA 3 HDD
  • 27" 2560 x 1440 LED backlit, IPS panel
  • Nvidia Quadro 1000M (2GB)
  • SRS Premium Sound
  • DVD writer
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x FireWire, DisplayPort in & out
  • Wired
  • Windows 7 Home Professional 64-bit
  • 660x419x59mm
  • 21kg
  • Card reader, 2MP webcam
  • 3.5 - 3.9GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon E3-1280
  • Custom Intel C206
  • 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • 1TB SATA 3 HDD
  • 27" 2560 x 1440 LED backlit, IPS panel
  • Nvidia Quadro 1000M (2GB)
  • SRS Premium Sound
  • DVD writer
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x FireWire, DisplayPort in & out
  • Wired
  • Windows 7 Home Professional 64-bit
  • 660x419x59mm
  • 21kg
  • Card reader, 2MP webcam

OUR VERDICT

A truly impressive feat of engineering, the Z1 features professional-grade build and components throughout. Its tilting, hinged design allows for quick, tool-free maintenance and it delivers excellent performance and superb graphics via its 27in IPS display. The three-year next-day on-site warranty places it in a different league to consumer systems.

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