All-in-one PC

Get a truly wireless PC, printer, mouse and keyboard.

QUESTION My PC is on its last legs, so I have to buy another and would love to be without all the wires. Is there a reasonably priced one from a well-known brand? What should I look for? What, if any, are the pitfalls?

I already have a wireless printer and mouse, but how can I get rid of the rest of the wires, such as the one connecting the monitor and the network?

HELPROOM ANSWER You have a few choices here, but there will be some wires which will have to remain. Unless you move to using a laptop, you're going to have to have a mains cable at the very least.

There are many PCs available these days which come with built-in wireless networking and can be supplied with a wireless keyboard. You say you have a wireless mouse already, but it may be better to get rid of that and go for a new wireless keyboard and mouse combo, as it will simplify setup and cut down on the number of wireless receivers required on the PC.

To make use of wireless networking, you will need to have a wireless router installed, so you can connect over Wi-Fi.

Your wireless printer will most likely already be connected using this router (unless you never set it up and use a USB cable instead). If you don't have a wireless router they are relatively inexpensive.

If you want to keep your monitor, then you're going to have to keep its wires too – both the mains cable and the PC connecting cable will remain, although you should be able to tuck these out of sight.

Go wireless: all-in-one PCs

If you're not too attached to your old PC monitor, we would suggest going for an All-in-One PC, such as a Lenovo IdeaCentre. All-in-One PCs combine all of the PC internals into the same physical box as the monitor, so there's no connecting cable necessary and the whole thing can be powered by a single mains cable, which will become the only external "wire" required by your PC. All-in-One PCs also tend to be considerably nicer to look at than a traditional desktop PC and take up much less space. See also: Group test: what's the best all-in-one PC?

Pitfalls of all-in-ones include being difficult, if not impossible to upgrade, plus the fact that you can't upgrade the monitor separately from the computer. All-in-ones tend not to offer video inputs, so you can't use the monitor for your Xbox or DVD player as you can with most PC monitors.

There are a few pitfalls involved with going wireless, too. A wireless network connection can be less reliable than a wired one, slower and prone to interference from other wireless equipment.

Also, wireless peripherals such as keyboards and mice require battery power to operate and these batteries will eventually have to be recharged or replaced. Make sure you have a spare set ready as they will often run out at an inconvenient time.

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