Dell XPS One 27 All-in-One Desktop, Ivy Bridge-Infused

Software, Accessories, & First Boot

We often mention that TV tuners are great for college dwellers and anyone renting a studio apartment or otherwise cramped for space, but it's particularly feasible in this case since the XPS One 27 wields such a large size display. It's not going to replace your 65-inch HDTV, but if you lack space for such luxuries, there's really no reason why you would have to make room for a dedicated TV set if you own a capable AIO desktop like this one.

Your specific bundle will depend on how you configure your XPS One 27, but at minimum, you can expect to receive a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, media center remote, various documentation, and drivers/utilities disc. Dell doesn't include a Windows disc or restore CD, though you can roll your own backup disc using the included software (see below).

The keyboard is pretty nice as far as Bluetooth planks go, with chiclet style keys that are slightly concave. It's mostly comfortable to type on and lightweight enough to lay on your lap. We also appreciate that it includes a numpad and dedicated arrow keys, albeit the latter is a little squished, which can be challenging to deal with if you use them to play games.

We're less thrilled with the clunky Bluetooth mouse, which is your standard-fare rodent devoid of any side buttons or special features to speak of. It is, however, ambidextrous, much to the delight of left-handed users and chagrin of right-handed users who are accustomed to being catered do.

Finally, Dell includes a power cord, and just the cord. The actual power supply is integrated into the chassis, so there's no power brick to contend with.

We're used to seeing squeaky clean desktops from boutique system builders and from rolling our own rigs, but it's extra special to find them on bulk OEM systems because it defies our expectations. To Dell's credit, the company's XPS line has mostly avoided loading up system builds with third-party crud, and the XPS One 27 is another example of that philosophy. The desktop on our review system wasn't littered with icons -- just a Recycle Bin -- nor was it bloated with performance robbing programs loading in the background.

The result is that our system cold booted into Windows in just 37 seconds and shutdown in 13 seconds, and that's after we loaded it up with a bunch of benchmarks and testing utilities. It's also after the mSATA SSD had a chance to properly cache the boot drive.

Dell didn't pre-load our system with any antivirus software, and as power users, we prefer this approach to the popular alternative, which is to plop a trial version of a paid security suite. At the same time, this could be disservice to less savvy computer users, which puts Dell and other bulk OEMs in a precarious situation. Ideally, we'd like to see Microsoft Security Essentials installed on OEM systems, which is a serviceable (and free) antivirus program that obviously integrates well with Windows.

Dell may not have pre-loaded the XPS One 27 with a bunch of useless third-party software, but it didn't totally neglect the software side, either. CyberLink's PowerDVD 9.5 is included so you can watch DVDs and, in this case, Blu-ray movies as well.

This is an older version of PowerDVD (version 12 is the latest), but it didn't matter to Robert Downey, Jr. when we fired up a Blu-ray of Iron Man, which looked superb on the 27-inch PLS display.

The XPS One 27 boasts a Full HD webcam that, during our tests, tracked smoothly and looked awfully sexy (or just awful if you don't dig 1990s style goatees). It also includes a dual digital microphone array for Skype stalwarts.

Working in tandem with the webcam, if you want it to, is FastAccess Facial Recognition software that you can use to login in lieu of using a password (or for added security if you opt to use both).

Since Dell doesn't include restore media by default -- or at least didn't with our setup -- you'll want to grab hold of a few optical discs and roll your own before you go mucking around the operating system. This will give you a safety net if something goes terribly wrong, whether from a virus or a poorly coded program that manages to bork Windows.

Dell's DataSafe backup utility pops up on its own after awhile, so unless you're really quick to mess things up, this shouldn't be an issue. And if you are accident prone and computer illiterate, call your nephew to save the day and toss him a Microsoft Points or iTunes card for his trouble.

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