Dell XPS One 27 Hands On: The Apple iMac Better Watch Out

by Reads (21,880)

Dell’s new XPS One 27 is a gorgeous piece of industrial design, and after getting to play around with it for a little bit, one thing is certain – it’s the first real competition to Apple’s big-screen iMac that we have seen, and it costs $300 less. Let’s take a closer look.

This is the first real reboot of Dell’s all-in-one lineup in several years. It’s definitely not the first time we’ve seen the Round Rock computer giant take on the growing AIO market, but it’s the first time we think they might actually be successful at it. From a visual standpoint, there is no other all-in-one desktop on sale that bests the XPS One for looks – and that includes Apple’s iMac and HP’s Omni 27.

Dell XPS One 27

It’s clear that Dell has taken inspiron for the new line (both XPS and Inspiron) from its industrial team’s business offerings – the XPS One 27 is reminiscent of their business displays, only significantly refined. At the bottom of the front is a speaker bar, offering what Dell promises is high-quality audio. We didn’t have a chance to test it, but I’m hopeful, given some of the other products I saw, that Dell isn’t too far off the mark with this one.

On the sides and back, you’ll find the standard complement of inputs and ports…and then some.

 Dell XPS One 27Are you excited about USB 3.0? The new high-speed interconnect promises to make delivering files between devices quicker than ever – and this new all-in-one has it in spades. All of the USB ports on the machine are SuperSpeed 3.0, which is one of the first machines we’ve seen address USB like this; you won’t need to worry about rationing out your lonely solitary USB 3.0 port for the speedy flash stick.

You’ve got Blu-ray sitting pretty on the other side, should you find yourself actually using some sort of optical media. And on the back, there are your standard audio, Ethernet and USB (3.0 again) ports. Most importantly, however, are the HDMI ports.

Dell XPS One 27 Dell XPS One 27

The XPS One 27, like a few of its competitors, supports being used as a slave display – that is, in addition to being an all-in-one desktop that can display content on its built-in screen as well as another monitor (like your HDTV) via the HDMI-out port, it can display content from another desktop via its HDMI-in port. Apple was one of the, if not the first manufacturer to really support this idea, but their latest iteration of the iMac, replete with Thunderbolt, has thrown a monkey wrench into the plans of many computer users.

Dell XPS One 27 Dell XPS One 27

Fortunately for Dell, the XPS One doesn’t have that problem. There is no Thunderbolt here; only HDMI – which means moving content around is as simple as connecting a cable and hitting a button…which brings us to the real star of this computer – the display.

Inside of the XPS One 27, Dell slammed a 27-inch, 2560×1440 panel. It’s the same panel being used inside of Apple’s iMac, which until now was the only game in town for high-resolution all-in-ones. It’s also a sight (ha) better than the panels you’ll find inside of HP’s Omni 27 or Lenovo’s upcoming IdeaCentre A720, which both use 1920×1080 displays.

Model Pixel Density (ppi)
Apple iMac 27 109
Dell XPS One 27 109
HP Omni 27 82
Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 (unreleased) 82

What this means is that you can get an LED-version of Dell’s 27-inch UltraSharp monitor, plus all the all-in-one’s computer-y bits, for $1399. Keep in mind that Dell’s UltraSharp goes for $999 (currently $899 on sale), and you can see how the deal plays out. For being such an important part of the computer experience, the display is, sadly, often overlooked – the Dell XPS One 27 takes care of that issue in a very big way.

We’re not entirely sure how Dell’s new all-in-one desktop king will fair in the rest of our battery of tests, but, as I said earlier, I’m hopeful. Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming E3 2012 coverage, after which we’ll have our full XPS One 27 review.

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