- Review Date: 05/31/2012
- Bottom line: There are more 27-inch all-in-one desktops these days, but very few are done right. The Dell XPS One 2710 manages to put almost every technology and feature we're looking for in a compact stylish chassis.
- Pros: Has a 2,560-by-1,440 resolution screen. USB 3.0 ports. HDMI in and out. Nice styling. Fast processor. DX11 graphics. mSATA with Intel SRT. 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. Internal power supply (No power brick). Nice sound. No confusing USB 2.0 ports. Sleep Charge. Performance is at mSATA speeds.
- Cons: USB 3.0 ports aren't blue. No touch option. No height adjustment.
There are more 27-inch all-in-one desktops on the market these days, but very few are worth big bucks. Some fall short on the visuals, while others fall short on the sound. The Dell XPS One 2710 ($1,999 direct) manages to put almost every technology and feature we're looking for in a compact and stylish chassis. And it has excellent performance, thanks to its new Core i7 (Ivy Bridge) processor and Nvidia GeForce (Kepler) graphics. If you're a media enthusiast, this is the desktop you're looking for. It's our new Editors' Choice for high-end all-in-one desktop PCs.
Design and Features
The newest XPS One gives up the previous two-peg leg and easel design in favor of a cleaner base and hinged arm design. The computer's internal components are built into the screen chassis, connected to the base via that hinged arm. The hinge gives the user a decent amount of tilt, accommodating most seated and standing positions. The base doesn't swivel, and there's no height adjustment, so it's not necessarily perfect, but you will get similar viewing angles as the HP Omni 27 ($1,249 direct, 4 stars) and Apple iMac 27-inch (Thunderbolt) ($1,999 list, 4 stars). The screen itself is crisp and bright with decent viewing angles and 2,560 by 1,440 resolution. The screen is large enough to work as a mid-sized HDTV as well as a large screen all-in-one desktop PC.
There's an antenna jack on the back and built-in TV Tuner for over-the-air broadcasts. The HDMI-in port will work with settop boxes from your cable company, and the system comes with an IR blaster to control those settop boxes. The front panel has a touch-sensitive and backlit row of soft keys. The soft keys control onscreen functions like brightness, contrast, etc. The top-mounted HD webcam can be switched off with a physical switch, handy for the privacy-obsessed. You can also use the webcam for logging into the system, once the facial recognition software learns your face. Like other all-in-ones with screens that float above the base, you can store the keyboard under the screen when you're not using it.
Feature-wise, the XPS One 2710 has made quite a few intelligent choices. For one, Dell has jettisoned USB 2.0 ports entirely. Instead, this system has six USB 3.0 ports. This helps eliminate end user confusion, as there is no "wrong" port for your speedy external USB 3.0 hard drive (remember: USB 3.0 ports are still backward-compatible to USB 2.0 devices). One of the two side-mounted USB ports is a "Sleep Charge" port which will remain active even though the system is off. That way, you can charge your tablet or phone.
About the only nits I could find are that the USB 3.0 ports aren't colored blue as they are on many USB 3.0 hard drives. It's a minor nit, since all of the USB ports are USB 3.0, but the practice still bucks current usability trends. The HDMI-in port helps extend the life of the monitor even after the internal CPU is obsolete, and the system also comes with HDMI-out, which lets you extend the usable workspace in Windows with a second monitor.
The system comes with an internal power supply, so there's no power brick cluttering up your floor. Our review unit came with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, so you can use the less crowded 5GHz bands for better performance (though you need a router is also 5GHz capable to use if you want to use the 5GHz bands). There's an IR remote for the built-in TV tuner, and the slot-loading optical drive is a Blu-ray player, so you're covered for entertainment options. Speaking of entertainment, the XPS One eschews the trend of tinny speakers and low-volume level found on some all-in-one desktops like the Asus ET2700INKS-B062C ($1,499 list, 3.5 stars). The sound coming from the XPS One 2710 was forceful and distortion-free. Dell uses Waves MaxxAudio 4 sound enhancement (think Beats without Dre) technology, and it's very effective.
The system comes with no bloatware icons on the desktop when you first boot it up. This is good because you want less clutter, not more. The included 2TB hard drive is plenty for the average family user, and you can add more with the USB 3.0 ports (with an external hard drive). The 32GB mSATA SSD is a MiniPCIe-sized board that works with Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) to boot the system quickly, load apps quickly, and come back from sleep quickly. Essentially, the 32GB SSD acts like a hybrid drive with the 2TB main drive. You can't see the SSD in Windows as a separate drive, but you will feel the extra performance compared to a similar system without SRT. The XPS One 2710 comes with a standard one-year warranty.
The new quad-core Core i7-3770s processor in the XPS One and the SRT-optimized drive setup garner high scores on the benchmark tests. The XPS One leaves older systems like the Apple iMac, HP Omni 27 , and HP TouchSmart 620-1080 3D ($1,899 direct, 4 stars) in the dust on the PCMark 7 benchmark, which measures whole-system performance. Likewise, the new Nvidia GeForce GT 640M GPU helps the XPS One gain playable scores on Crysis (70 fps) and Lost Planet 2 (46 fps) at medium settings. While the XPS One does well at the 3D tests, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 in the iMac helps it stay on top at 3D tests. The Dell XPS One rivals the iMac on multimedia tasks, however. The Dell's 1:09 time on our Handbrake video encoder test and 2:53 on the Photoshop CS5 test are quicker than the iMac and HP Omni 27. Suffice to say the XPS One is one fast desktop PC.
The last Editors' Choice for high-end all-in-one desktops is the HP TouchSmart 610-1065qd ($1,789.99 list, 5 stars). Though that system has a touchscreen and innovative tilt mechanism, both technologies aren't really necessary for the type of user that wants the best multimedia enjoyment desktop on the market, which is what the Dell XPS One 2710 represents. The XPS One 2710 gives the entertainment enthusiast great sound, sparkling video, a plethora of media sources (Internet streaming, Blu-ray, downloads, OTA TV tuner), an attractive chassis, plus the power to create her own media content. The target point changes from time to time, but for now, the high-end all-in-one desktop to beat is our new Editors' Choice, the Dell XPS One 2710.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.