There's a transformation taking place in the PC market, and despite what the doomsayers might tell you, it has nothing to do with tablets, smartphones, tweener devices like the Galaxy Note, or increasingly media-centric game consoles. No, the transformation we're observing is one where people are trading in their towers and monitors for space-saving all-in-one (AIO) desktops. The AIO form factor isn't new by any means, but for a number of reasons, it's finally starting to gain momentum. And as they become more popular, companies like Dell have begun paying more attention to ways they can improve upon the design. To wit, Dell's new XPS One 27, reviewed here, introduces a spacious and vibrant 27-inch display with a Wide Quad HD (WQHD) 2560x1440 resolution and Samsung Plane to Line Switching (PLS) panel. It's absolutely gorgeous, more so than some professional monitors we've played with, and it's carrying an entire system in its belly.
Not just any system, mind you, but an Intel Ivy Bridge setup. This particular configuration shipped to us with a 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 3700S quad-core processor clocked at 3.10GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M graphics (Kepler), 8GB of high-frequency DDR3-1600 RAM, and a 2TB 7200RPM SATA hard drive flanked by a 32GB mSATA solid state drive (SSD) to enable Intel Smart Response Technology. There's also a slot-loading Blu-ray drive situated on the side, and if you're a true TV junkie, you can add a TV tuner when configuring your build.
The star of the show, however, is the 27-inch panel, qualifying the XPS One 27 as Dell's largest ever AIO system. It's a distinction that matters because there aren't very many 27-inch AIOs on the market, and because the display on this model is so darn good, graphics artists and professional photographers can join the AIO party without selling their soul to Apple. There are other reasons why you might want to consider this system, along with some caveats, and we'll cover all of them on the following pages. Before we dive in, let's give the spec sheet a once over.
Dell XPS One 27 All-in-One Desktop
Specifications and Features (as tested)
3rd Generation Intel Core i7 3770S (3.10GHz) quad-core CPU
8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
27" Samsung PLS LCD (2560x1440); WLED backlight
Nvidia GeForce GT 640M 2GB GDDR5 graphics
2TB 7200RPM hard drive + 32GB SSD
Slot-load Blu-ray combo drive
Full HD webcam; Dual mics
HDMI (1.4) output; HDMI input
USB 3.0 x 6 (four on the back; two on the side with Sleep and Charge)
Dell sent us a higher end configuration that lists for $1,999, though you can get in on the ground floor starting at $1,399 if you're willing to sacrifice a few features and options. What we like about this setup is that it's well rounded, as opposed to dumping the bulk of the funds into one particular sub-system, like a beefy GPU with a weak processor or vice versa.