Dell XPS One 27 Touch

Dell’s massive and very heavy XPS One 27 Touch offers excellent performance, superb build quality and a 27in display with an iMac-like 2560 x 1440-pixel and ten-point touch support.

See: more reviews of all-in-one PCs.

The Dell XPS One 27 Touch screen is supported by an articulated stand which allows you to lean the screen back towards the horizontal, although not completely flat, to make the touchscreen experience less uncomfortable.

It also allows for some degree of height adjustment – a unique feature among the systems reviewed recently. The image quality from the IPS display panel is very good, but can’t match that of Apple’s iMacs which are much more accurate and pleasing to the eye.

The Dell XPS One 27 Touch is a very heavy PC, more than 50% heavier than the equivalent iMac, and has a considerably more rugged look to it, although the build quality is pleasantly high.

Given its bulk and the effort require to move it around, it’s unfortunate that many of the connection ports are tricky to reach.

There’s USB 3.0, audio and a card reader available on the left side, but the remaining five USB 3.0 ports, HDMI input and out and S/PDIF connectors, among others, can only be accessed from the rear and are partially obscured by the stand.  

The front features a 2.0Mp webcam with a physical shutter which can be slid into place to protect the undressed and the paranoid, while the right edge of the screen has a slot-loading Blu-ray playback drive.

Four versions of the Dell XPS One 27 exist – we’re looking at the most expensive version, featuring a 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-3770S low-power processor and a 2TB hard disk, boosted by a 32GB SSD configured using Intel’s Smart Response Technology.

This combination delivered a superb PCMark 7 score of 5876 points, which is far and away the highest result recorded in the category. In fact, it’s around double the score of the Acer and Chillblast systems.

Apple’s 27in iMac ought to be faster, but it can't use its SSD when running Windows, so a direct comparison cannot be made.

If the £1679 asking price is too much for you, you can forego the touchscreen and articulating stand for an instant saving of £200.

Or you could retain the touchscreen and go for a slower processor and less memory for £300 less. Cut out all the fancy stuff and the base model is yours for £1179.

All models feature nVidia GeForce GT640M graphics which are powerful enough for a bit of gaming – just don’t try it at 2560 x 1440 pixels, as we’re only talking about fast enough with relatively conservative settings.

NEXT PAGE: Original PCWorld US review >>

The Dell XPS One 27 Touch all-in-one PC costs £1,399 and has a third-generation Intel Core i7-3770S processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 2TB hard drive (alongside a 32GB SSD boot drive). This all-in-one also has a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card, built-in Bluetooth 4.0, and a slot-loading DVD-RW/Blu-ray combo drive. The XPS One runs Windows 8 Professional. See also: Group test: What's the best all-in-one PC?

Dell XPS One 27 Touch: Performance

In our WorldBench 8 benchmark tests, the XPS One scores a very good 91 out of 100. This means that the One is just nine percent slower than our testing model, which sports a third-generation Intel Core i5-3570K desktop processor, 8GB of RAM, and a discrete Nvidia desktop-class graphics card.

By comparison, the One has a low voltage, S model processor and an Nvidia GT 640M mobile GPU, which is why it's a bit slower than our testing model (despite the fact that our testing model has an i5, and not an i7, processor).

The XPS One performs well in individual tests, though it's not quite up to speed with our testing model. It's quick to start up (20.6 seconds), and reasonably snappy with video and audio encoding (148 seconds and 201.5 seconds, respectively).

By comparison, our testing model starts up in 33.5 seconds, and encodes video and audio in 132 seconds and 202.2 seconds, respectively. The One doesn't perform quite as well in the PCMark 7 productivity test, with a score of 2943 (compared to the testing model's 4633).

Thanks to its discrete graphics card, the XPS One holds its own in graphics tests. In our Dirt Showdown graphics test, the One managed 111.8 frames per second (maximum quality settings, 1366 by 768 pixel resolution).

The HP Envy 23 TouchSmart and the Toshiba Satellite LX835-D3380 both managed just around 73 fps, and both of those all-in-ones have Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics cards.

Dell XPS One 27 Touch: Design and usability

The Dell XPS One is gorgeous, but it sacrifices usability in favour of aesthetics.

Dell XPS One 27 TouchIt's got a pretty screen, a pretty stand, and a pretty back, but all of this prettiness comes at a cost. The screen, for example, is surrounded by a thick black bezel, which is covered in edge-to-edge glass. Along the bottom of the bezel there's a mirrored Dell logo (in the center), as well as four touch-sensitive buttons. These buttons are for changing the brightness and input, as well as ejecting discs from the One's slot-loading DVD-RW/Blu-ray combo drive. While these buttons--which glow to indicate recognition when you hover over them with your finger--add to the One's overall buttonless aesthetic, they're unlabeled, which is annoying and confusing until you get used to them.

Another example of form over function is the One's stand. It looks like a typical monitor stand, which is nice--I hate when all-in-one stands extend from the base of the screen. This stand instead attaches to the back of the screen, and has a large, rectangular base and a thick, flexible arm. The arm is designed to let you position the screen at different angles--for example, you can adjust the stand so that the screen is tilted back in a sort of tablet-form. Er...what I mean to say is that you could adjust the stand like this, if the stand weren't so difficult to adjust. The screen is heavy, and let's just say that it takes a lot of strength to move the One into different positions.

Finally, the One's ports are awkwardly placed. There are a couple of convenience ports on the left side of the screen (two USB 3.0 ports, microphone and headphone jacks, and a card reader), and optical drive and power button are on the right side. But the rest of the ports are located underneath where the stand attaches to the screen.

That's right--underneath the stand. The AC port is located directly under the stand's inflexible arm, and the rest of the ports are located to either side of this port. This includes four USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI in, HDMI out, S/PDIF out, and a lock slot. Although this looks good--the back of the machine looks smooth and uncluttered, it's a terrible place to put ports. It's difficult to plug just about everything in, unless you tilt the screen up and contort yourself in strange ways.

Dell XPS One 27 TouchThe XPS One comes with sleek but generic peripherals, both of which are wireless. The keyboard has flat, island-style keys and orange accents, and gives good feedback, while the two-button, scroll-wheel mouse is lightweight and smooth. The peripherals don't feel flimsy or cheap, but they're merely basic in function.

Dell XPS One 27 Touch: Screen and speakers

The XPS One's glossy, 27-inch screen has a native resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, also known as "Quad HD." Images and text look crisp, clear, and very sharp, and pixels are hardly visible (especially not if you're standing a couple feet away). The screen looks excellent at first glance, but it's not perfect. Colors look a little off--whites look yellowish and skintones look sunburnt. There's also some artifacting in darker HD video scenes, as well as some shimmering on what should be static patterns.

As a touchscreen, the One's screen is accurate and responsive. It has 10-point multi-touch and multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom are smooth and not stilted or jerky at all. The One's speakers sound good as well, with excellent surround sound replication and full, warm bass. They get fairly loud, and there's very little distortion at higher volume levels.

Original PCWorld US verdict

The Dell XPS One is a very pretty, powerful machine, and it will certainly add style and class to any room you put it in. Unfortunately, it's like they say: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This AIO has multiple issues if you plan on using it, rather than just looking at it, including a difficult-to-position stand, an off-color screen, and poor port placement. Of course, for some people these will be minor issues. If you're just looking for a sexy AIO to liven up your living room, the XPS One is a very nice choice. But if you're a graphic designer looking for a new multimedia powerhouse, you may want to pass.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

Dell XPS One 27 Touch: Specs

  • Intel Core i7-3770S
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 2TB hard drive
  • 32GB SSD boot drive
  • discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • slot-loading DVD-RW/Blu-ray combo drive
  • Windows 8 Professional
  • Intel Core i7-3770S
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 2TB hard drive
  • 32GB SSD boot drive
  • discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • slot-loading DVD-RW/Blu-ray combo drive
  • Windows 8 Professional

OUR VERDICT

The Dell XPS One is a very pretty, powerful machine, and it will certainly add style and class to any room you put it in. Unfortunately, it's like they say: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This AIO has multiple issues if you plan on using it, rather than just looking at it, including a difficult-to-position stand, an off-color screen, and poor port placement. Of course, for some people these will be minor issues. If you're just looking for a sexy AIO to liven up your living room, the XPS One is a very nice choice. But if you're a graphic designer looking for a new multimedia powerhouse, you may want to pass.

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