The Toshiba LX835-D3230 ($999 list) is a speedy, if utilitarian all-in-one desktop PC. It may be all you need for shared family computing, at least until Windows 8 touch-enabled PCs start to enter the market. It has a bright HD-quality screen, quad core power, and could be a decent kitchen PC. Other systems have more "wow factor," but the LX835 is a solid all-in-one choice.
Design and Features
The LX835-D3230 is built around its 23-inch screen, which has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution (full 1080p HD). The screen itself is bright, with a decent viewing angle. The system is a basic, dark grey plastic easel-type chassis, with all the system's components built behind the screen. A single easel-type arm behind the system props the PC up, and allows you to tilt the screen back a few degrees. The bottom of the screen has two feet to hold the system up, with a wide space in between so you can slide the keyboard in for storage. The system comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, so there aren't any cords to get in the way. Controls are simple: A power button on the lower left of the screen is backlit to show states like sleep mode and power on. The system's front-firing speakers are built below the screen glass, and are adequate for daily use, but plan on using external speakers or a pair of headphones for loud music: there was a bit of distortion at the highest volume levels.
The system has a decent amount of connectivity. The LX835-D3230 has a SDXC combo card reader along with a pair of USB 3.0 ports on the left side panel, totally convenient for people who need to hook up a smartphone or hard drive. The back panel has four USB 2.0 ports, useful if you want to hook up a different keyboard or for printer(s). Also on the back panel are the connector for the TV tuner, HDMI-in port, Ethernet, and the audio-out port. The HDMI-in port can help you view programming from your cable box or other DVR. The HDMI port can also be used to extend the monitor's life. You can simply hook up a future laptop or desktop via HDMI once the LX835's internal components eventually become obsolete.
The system isn't a touch-screen desktop, and while that's not a big deal right now, it will be a big deal later this year when Windows 8 is released. The system is eligible for the $14.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade, plus Toshiba is currently offering a $15 prepaid Visa rebate for the upgrade. Windows 8 is touch-optimized and inconvenient to use with a mouse, so you may wish to skip the upgrade when that happens.
The LX835-D3230 comes with a full 1080p HD screen, and while it looked great while viewing online videos and programming from the built-in TV tuner, the system lacks a Blu-ray drive to complete the HD viewing trifecta. You won't miss it if you never bought into the Blu-ray hype from a few years ago, but if you're a Blu-ray collector or movie completist you're going to want another desktop with a Blu-ray drive like the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 ($1,449 list, 4 stars). The system comes with an IR Media Center remote to work with the built in TV tuner and Media Center's built-in DVR.
The LX835-D3230 has a initial desktop screen free from extra icons (which is nice), but the system still comes with a few pieces of bloatware pre-installed. On the plus side, Google Chrome is pre-installed, so you have a choice of Internet browsers. On the minus side, the pre-installed version of Norton Internet Security only has a 30-day trial, which is the same as the offer Norton/Symantec already offers online for free. Other offers like Amazon.com, NetZero, and QuickBooks banking live in the Start menu. They don't take up a lot of space, but the unneeded ads are still a bit of a nuisance. Hopefully, future Windows 8 versions will consolidate these offers in the Microsoft Store or in a single Toshiba Offers type of tile. The system comes with a one-year standard warranty.
The LX835-D3230 comes with an Intel Core i73610QM CPU. While it's a mobile-oriented processor, it still has four cores and Hyper-threading so it can handle up to eight threads of data. This helps on multimedia tasks like video transcoding and photo editing. The LX835-D3230 has a quick score of 1 minute 17 seconds on our Handbrake video test, and 3:20 on our Photoshop test. It's certainly faster than the Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) ($1,399 list, 3.5 stars) (1:43 Handbrake, 4:03 CS5), which had a less capable Core i5 mobile processor. On day-to-day tasks, the LX835-D3230 got a very good 4,249 point score on the PCMark7 test, which is a world faster than the Sony (2,857 points).
The LX835-D3230 comes with Intel's Intel HD Graphics 4000, which can handle light 3D tasks. Basically, it can play browser-based games and light 3D games like Torchlight fine, but for games like Lost Planet 2 and Crysis, you'd be better off with a discrete graphics-powered system like the Asus ET2701INKI, Lenovo A720, or the Vizio 27-inch All-in-One PC (CA27-A1) ($1,249.99 list, 3.5 stars). The current sub $1,000 all-in-one Editor's Choice, the Asus ET2410IUTS-B018C ($999 list, 4 stars) (2,992 points), also came in a little behind the LX835.
The Toshiba LX835-D3230 is a good, tractable all-in-one desktop system. It doesn't wow with design like the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 or Vizio CA27-A1, but those systems are a bit more expensive. Though the current sub-$1,000 Editor's Choice all-in-one Asus ET2410IUTS-B018C system is smidge slower than the LX835-D3230, it's still a more future-proofed system, since it comes with a touch screen and other features like HDMI-out. If you can skip a touch screen and Blu-ray, the LX835-D3230 makes a good second choice system while you're out shopping in a big box store.
This review is in partnership with PCMag.com.