Product: Dell XPS One 20" All-in-One PCManufacturer: DellMSRP: $1300Lowest Historical Price: $1099
If you have a desktop PC, chances are that you have a complete mess of cables exploding from the back panel to your various power and peripheral connections. The Dell XPS One aims to provide an integrated all-in-one desktop solution for users willing to fight the clutter with their wallets. You need just one cable to get the XPS One up and running. Just what do you get for the $1299 base price? Read on to find out.Unboxing & Set-Up
The XPS One arrives in a large branded box that you wouldn't want to leave out on your doorstep. It's a hefty load, with a shipping weight of about 41 lbs. Once you open the box, it seems as if there is just too little padding for the delicate monitor, however everything arrived in perfect condition. Set up couldn't have been much easier. Just find a spot where the XPS One will live out its days, put the included batteries into the wireless Keyboard & Mouse, and plug in the single power cable. After the usual Vista first-boot shenanigans, you're ready to play.SpecificationsIntel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.2GHz Processor
20-inch Widescreen High Definition WSXGA 1680 x 1050 LCD
2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 2 DIMMs
250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/ DataBurst Cache
Built-in TV Tuner with Media Center Remote Control
Integrated Audio & Video with 2.0 Speakers
Gigabit Ethernet & 802.11n Draft 2.0 Wireless
8X Slot load CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW)
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium
If a computer manufacturer decides to try their hand at an all-in-one, they damn well better make sure the design measures up to what's already out there; namely the Apple iMac. While the One certainly doesn't look as clean as an all-white iMac, its overall design and execution are quite impressive. Apple has never been very good about peripheral connections, and this is an area where the XPS One is far better.
From the front the XPS One looks like a high quality 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor with a set of side speakers. The screen is glass and the dark bezel hides several features that are not noticeable at first glance. As your hand approaches the monitor, a series of multimedia controls lights up in a nice dark blue shade. These are touch sensitive areas of the bezel, and feedback is provided by a short vibration that occurs when you press a button. The slot-load DVD burner (optional Blu-Ray) is situated on the right edge of the screen, and a half circle blue light (think an outline of the disc) indicates the presence of a disc in the drive. The front of the screen also conceals a webcam & mic for your late night chat rendezvous.
On the left edge of the screen, you have the main power button, headphone and mic connections, two USB ports, a FireWire mini port, and a multi-card reader. One quirky aspect is that the HDD indicator light is on the left panel, so it's not visible from the front of the screen where you'd be sitting.
Along the lines of connectivity, the rear panel of the XPS One provides an additional 4 USB ports for your jungle of extra devices. The back panel also hosts connections for Gigabit Ethernet, 6-Pin FireWire, Optical Audio, and an expansion port that provides Coax & S-Video as well as RCA audio. Hook up your cable box to the TV tuner and you'll be able to watch live TV as well.
One of the main complaints about desktops is the amount of noise they make. I was happy to find out that the XPS One is virtually silent. I could hear the hard drive activity, but the fan noise was almost imperceptible. The case design is such that air flows vertically from the bottom and out the top, which is the natural way the heated air wants to go anyways. Based on a Kill-A-Watt measurement, the XPS One consumes about 90 Watts at idle.
In terms of raw performance, this system does not have the graphical power to satisfy a power gamer. It runs the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100, which is just about the most basic video card you can buy with a new system these days. If you can pass on the latest gaming fads, the XPS One has plenty to offer.
All of Vista's features including Aero worked quickly and flawlessly on the One while performing an array of duties from web browsing, audio editing with the included Adobe Soundbooth CS3 software, and watching DVDs. The side-speakers produced clear sound that can fill a medium sized room if needed. The included keyboard has a multimedia pad to control your entertainment programs, as well as a track pack to use while you're using it away from the desk.
Part of Dell's message with their XPS brand is that you not only get an XPS computer, but you get the "XPS Experience" with a separate support hotline than their run of the mill customers. We wanted to test out the response of this system, and so we set out to record a call. What happened during our first call was disheartening. After entering the service code, the call was transferred to a dead extension. The second test call was more successful, and we were able to reach a live technician in about 2 minutes. We didn't have any material to test him on since the XPS One didn't have any problems.
According to Dell's branding lingo, their XPS systems are "Designed for Performance." Traditionally this has come to mean that XPS is aimed at people who want a custom experience above and beyond the typically Dell box. With the XPS One, Dell has created a stylish all-in-one PC with multimedia & simplicity as its main traits. If you've been building your own PC's for years or you're on a shoestring budget, the XPS One probably isn't for you. For everyone else, the XPS One is an alternative that warrants serious consideration.
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