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

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Overall Design & Layout

There's one thing we need to clear up right off the bat. As much as we like the display on the XPS One 27, it's not a 'Quad Full High Definition' panel like some of Dell's earlier literature indicates. It's a Quad Wide High Definition display, or just Quad High Definition if you want to save a few syllables. What's the difference, you ask? A QFHD display is one that sports a 3840x2160 resolution, or four times the number of pixels as a 1080p display, and a WQHD features a 2560x1440 resolution, which is four times the number of pixels as a 720p display. Savvy? Let's continue.


Dell's XPS One 27 all-in-one is 27 inches of glossy sex appeal that has to be seen in person to be appreciated, especially when you flip the power switch and see Samsung's PLS panel in action. It's remarkably thin and space conscious, even for an AIO system, measuring 19.32 inches by 26.14 inches by 1.25-2.81 inches, not including the stand (the stand measures a little under 9.5 inches from front to back). It looks more like a large monitor than a complete system, which is a credit to Dell's engineering team.

A glossy bezel surrounds the main display and measures about 1.25 inches all around. It looks great until the kids run their greasy fingers up and down the panel, but there's little reason for them or anyone else to grope the display. Why? Dell opted for a non-touch panel, banking on the assumption that users are more interested in a high-quality panel than one that wants to get all touchy-feely with the user. It's an odd omission for an AIO desktop, especially with Microsoft's Metrosexual Windows 8 just around the corner, but then again, this is a Windows 7 system that's better suited for mouse and keyboard input anyway. Still, some users will undoubtedly bemoan the lack of any touchscreen controls on a form factor that begs to be touched.

While you can't see it, an Intel Core i7 3770S processor sits somewhere behind the panel. This is one of Intel's new 22nm Ivy Bridge processors, a quad-core CPU clocked at 3.10GHz (up to 3.9GHz Turbo) with 8MB of L3 cache and a 65W TDP. There's also a Kepler-based NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, an optional upgrade/addition to the Intel HD 4000 graphics embedded in the CPU. It's a formidable one-two combo for multi-media chores and even some gaming, which we'll get into in the benchmarks sections.

 

Swing the system around 180 degrees reveals the aluminum backside, angled here to give you a better idea of depth, or lack thereof. This is a system that takes up no more space than a standard LCD monitor, yet offers so much more.

Unfortunately, Dell isn't as keen on the idea of its customers performing their own upgrades and service as Hewlett-Packard is with its recently reviewed TouchSmart 520 all-in-one PC, which features a removable backside for easy access to the RAM, hard drive, and various other electronics. Dell's system is better looking than HP's, has a superior monitor, and is rocking Ivy Bridge and Kepler, but we definitely miss being able to poke our head around inside

You can't see it in the picture above, but underneath the bottom of the display is a long speaker grill that hides the Infinity-brand speakers. At the risk of sounding smitten, we have to point out that the speakers sound as good as the display looks. Dell didn't jam a pair of low quality cans inside the XPS One 27, and instead chose to highlight loud and clear audio with integrated 7.1 surround sound and Waves MaxxAudio 4 audio processing technology. These speakers are capable of pumping out loud volume with respectable bass -- you can feel the thumps if you put your fingers up to the speaker bar -- which gets loud and forceful enough to scare a mid size dog (Schipperke), something we discovered when blasting Theory of a Deadman's "Got It Made" off the band's "Scars and Souvenirs" album. And feel free to crank up the volume full bore, these speakers don't buckle with distortion when stressed.



Most of the inputs/outputs have been placed on the system's rear end, and there's a cutout in the stand's base if you want to route your wires. Four of the six USB 3.0 ports are on the backside, which Dell confusingly neglected to color code -- USB 3.0 ports are typically colored blue, but on this system, they're all black. Working our way to the left, you'll also find the Ethernet jack, power port, HDMI input, HDMI output, infrared emitter port, S/PDIF port, TV-in port, and security cable slot. 


Over on the left side of the system are the other two USB 3.0 ports, both of which are Sleep and Charge capable. Directly above are headphone and microphone ports, and sitting below is the integrated 8-in-1 media card reader. Again, these aren't color coded correctly, and some of Dell's earlier literature lists the XPS One 27 as having four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, but rest assured, all six are in fact USB 3.0.



Adding to the system's sex appeal are a series of touch-sensitive controls in the lower right corner that glow white when your finger gets anywhere near them. We prefer the rock steady responsiveness of physical buttons, but we like that Dell appears to have jacked up the sensitivity here.

The controls are fairly rudimentary, allowing you to adjust the volume up and down (left control), play with the brightness (middle button), and switch inputs from 'Computer' to 'HDMI' (right button). If there's a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray in the slot-load optical drive (right side of the system), an eject button will also glow. A display of this caliber begs for better On Screen Display (OSD) controls, though to be fair, its out-of-the-box performance is superb.

In the picture above, you can also see the power button, and above that is an an HDD activity light.

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