Windows 8 All-In-One PCs On Test (Part 1) - Dell XPS One 27, Samsung Series 7 All-in-One PC

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2/15/2013 6:17:23 PM

Microsoft’s touch-centric Windows 8 operating system is here to stay. We tested a range of touch-enabled all-in-one PCs to see if it helps or hinders in a desktop setting

LAST MONTH, we looked at Windows 8 ultra-portables. Touch proved surprisingly useful as long as it supplemented a laptop’s conventional keyboard and touchpad.

With a laptop, your hands are centimeters away from the screen at all times reaching up is quick and natural. On a desktop, that’s not usually the case. But touch-enabled desktops are becoming more common. To find out whether touch adds to your desktop, we tested touch-enabled Windows 8 all-in-one PCs from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Samsung. We covered the spectrum from entry-level 23-inch to high-spec 27-inch: a good cross-section of the Windows 8 all-in-ones on New Zealand store shelves.

Dell XPS One 27

Description: Dell’s XPS One 27 is a slim, attractive and powerful all-in-one

Dell’s XPS One 27 is a slim, attractive and powerful all-in-one

DELL’S XPS ONE 27 is a Windows 8 all-in-one PC, available in both touch and non-touch configurations. We tested the touch version with the highest specifications.

All touch versions include a highly adjustable stand with a 35-95 degree tilt range, which makes it easy to find the ideal viewing angle, or to tilt the screen back into a highly reclined position for use with touch applications. Despite the weight of the large 27-inch display, it tilts smoothly and holds its position well.

A wireless keyboard and mouse are included in the box, both of which are functional but otherwise unremarkable.

The screen has the highest resolution of all the all-in-ones we tested in our roundup, at 2560 x 1440 pixels (109 pixels per inch). That gives a fairly sharp display, just a little less sharp than your average Ultrabook. Consequently, it’s the only all-in-one we tested that didn’t show visible pixilation when close enough to use the touch interface. It’s not nearly as sharp as high-resolution tablets and smartphone, but then, you won’t get as close to a 27-inch monitor even if you’re touching it.

We used the Spyder4Elite calibration tool to assess monitor quality. The screen scored four out of a possible five, but showed weak tone response and average luminance uniformity, which may make it unsuitable for professional photo editing and desktop publishing.

Behind the screen is an Intel Core i7-3770S quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics solution with 2GB of dedicated memory. There’s also a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive, in a hybrid-storage setup with a 32GB SSD, and a Blu-ray reader/DVD writer.

Performance in our standard benchmark suite exceeded that of the Dell Inspiron 17R laptop that has held many of our performance records since mid-2012. The XPS One 27 outperformed the all-in-ones in our roundup, and in most categories beat them by a wide margin.

The other tested models were fairly weak in storage-based tests, primarily because they use 5400RPM hard drive. The XPS One 27, however, has a 7200RPM hard drive/32GB SSD hybrid storage that performs admirably almost at the level of purely SSD-based Ultrabooks.

The XPS One 27 won’t keep up with a custom-built gaming desktop, but it’s perfectly sufficient to run most modern games at medium graphical settings or lower. It’s also great for things like amateur/hobbyist video and photo editing with its fast, multi-core CPU and quick storage… just bear in mind that the screen isn’t ideal for professional photo work.

The XPS One includes a stunning six USB 3.0 ports, HDMI input and output, headphone and microphone sockets, SP/DIF output audio output, and gigabit Ethernet. Wireless features include 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and it also offers Intel Wireless Display (WiDi).

Overall, Dell’s XPS One 27 is a slim, attractive and powerful all-in-one. You’ll pay for that combination at $3,599, it’s not really an impulse buy but it’s worth it if you’re looking for something more than a web browser and media player. If you want an all-in-one you can run 3D games on, work on your next 48-hour film festival entry, or use to develop the next big mobile app, here’s your big-screen powerhouse without the big-old box.


·         Price: $3,599 (as tested)

·         Display size: 27.0 inches

·         Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels

·         Intel Core i7-3770S quad-core CPU

·         Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics (2GB)

·         2TB hard drive/32GB SSD hybrid

Samsung Series 7 All-in-One PC

Description: Sedate styling fits in anywhere

Sedate styling fits in anywhere



SAMSUNG’S SERIES 9 was our top all-in-one last year, so we had high hopes for the Samsung Series 7.

Where the Series 9’s design defied convention, the Series 7 has much more sedate styling. A bare metal bezel and convincingly faux0metal stand are attractive, but understated enough to fit in anywhere unobtrusively.

The stand provides a vertical tilt between 70-95 degrees. This is fine for a regular monitor, but 70 degrees is hardly enough of an incline for comfortable touch. If you intend to use the touchscreen often, for games or painting applications perhaps, it’s very limiting. Most competing products provide a greater tilt, some even lie completely flat for tabletop use.

A basic wireless keyboard and mouse are included, along with a media remote control. The mouse and remote work fine, though the keyboard has very shallow key travel and is uncomfortable to type on at speed or for long periods.

The LED-backlit LCD screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels (93ppi), a reasonable match to the 23-inch screen size. However, while fine from a comfortable screen-viewing distance, it’s not sharp enough when you use the touchscreen up close.

Contrast, color uniformity and color accuracy are all good: the display scored four out of five with the spyder4 Elite calibration tool.

Under the hood is an Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core CPU, 6GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 7690M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Storage is a 1TB, 5400RPM hard drive, and a tray-loading Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo.

Overall performance is good. The Series 7 has high computational power both per-core, and overall for a dual-core machine. It’s about in line with a midrange laptop, able to run modern games at low to moderate graphical settings, and easily handle tasks such as web browsing, photo editing, and even basic video editing.

The one performance bottleneck where the Series 7 lags behind is the 5400RPM hard drive, which slows down disk-based tasks such as starting applications and working with large files. For a basic home PC, this is a fair tradeoff for the storage capacity.

There’s an adequate selection of connections including three USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, HDMI output, HDMI input that allows you to use the Series 7 as a monitor, separate headphone and microphone sockets, Ethernet port and a digital TV tuner. You also get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

There are a couple of annoyances, though. The included wireless mouse and keyboard require a USB adapter that takes up one of your five USB ports. The ports below the hinge at the rear are hand to access and show off any cable mess. The SD card reader, both USB 3.0 ports and headphone/mic sockets are hidden behind an unneeded flip-out cover behind the screen bezel. They’re about mid-way up the screen, so if you’re connecting a USB 3.0 external hard drive for long-term use, expect the cable to dangle awkwardly down the side.

Samsung’s Series 7 all-in-one is elegant, as long as you don’t need to plug things in. though it supports touch, it’s very much a secondary input method given that the screen doesn’t tilt far enough back to use it comfortably for extended periods. However, it performs well as a home PC, a nice intermediate step between bulky desktop and small-screened laptop. At $2.499, we’d recommend it for home or small-business users that are after something compact and standalone, and aren’t planning to make much use of the touch interface.


·         Price: $2,499

·         Display type: Glossy LCD

·         Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

·         Intel Core i5-3470T dual-core CPU

·         Standard system memory: 6GB RAM

·         AMD Radeon HD 7690M graphics (1GB)

·         Storage: 1TB 5400RPM hard drive