This PC's Pop-Up Privacy Cam Is Brilliant

With all of the horror stories about creeps spying on peeps through their webcams, it's no wonder that many folks just tape over webcams. But HP has a smarter solution with its new Pavilion All-in-One, available in July and starting at $749. With a simple push, you can pop-up this PC's Privacy Camera to turn it and the microphone on, or push the camera back down to turn it all off.

This clever, spring-mounted mechanism was born out of necessity, as both the 23.8-inch and 27-inch versions of this all-in-one sport micro-edge displays that reduce the bezel size by 75 percent. It's a pretty slick space-saving design, although I had to use a little more force than I'd like to have had to pop up the camera during a hands-on preview.

On the Dell XPS 13 laptop with a similar edge-to-edge screen, Dell placed the webcam beneath the screen, which results in some pretty awkward shots of your chin and nose while video chatting. HP's Privacy Camera sits right on top of the display housing, which means your selfies and Skype conversations will look more natural. Plus, an optional RealSense camera supports Windows Hello for quick logins with your face.

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The display on the HP All-in-One tilts from -5 to 20 degrees, giving you plenty of room to find the best angle, and there are Bang & Olufsen Play speakers right beneath the screen for booming audio. The only bummer is that the full-HD screen doesn't support touch in either size.

Processor options range from Intel Pentium and AMD A10 to Intel Core i7 chips, and you can spring for Nvidia GT 930A graphics, up to 16GB of memory and as much as 3TB of storage space.

I like that the area under the display provides fairly easy access to a USB-C port, USB 3.0 port, headphone/mic jack and SD card reader. You'll find another USB 3.0 port on the back along with two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, HDMI out and a lock slot.

Based on my initial impressions, the HP All-in-One with micro edge display is a smart evolution of PC design with a welcome nod to protecting your privacy. Why didn't someone think of this before?

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.