After the courier has dropped off the XPS One 27" and no doubt had a moan about the size of the packaging users will be struck by how nice a system this is to look at, and touch. Dell have done a great job of refining the all in one design concept and while it looks decent from the back with the curved silver surface the front looks fantastic. That is partially down to the edge to edge glass surface but also the minimalist design. The stand could maybe do with a little work on the style front but it is functional and allows a decent level of movement.
Elsewhere on the design front we have a system which offers a decent level of connectivity (and we love that all six USB ports are USB 3.0 spec). Of course the fact that the system uses a wireless keyboard and mouse also has its benefits, not taking up any of those ports on key hardware. We are also pleased to report that there were no quality issues with the external build quality and that the XPS One 27" feels solid in the hand, though it isn’t an easy system to move at just under 16KG in weight.
For performance there are a lot of positives about the system. The i7 CPU for example breezes through media and productivity tasks and the GT 640M GPU is surprisingly good for a low-ish end part. Certainly it is enough for those who are not enthusiast gamers. The screen is also of a particularly high quality with great viewing angles (especially on the horizontal) along with great clarity.
As noted earlier in the article the hard drive provided by Dell is a decent performer (especially so with the 32GB cache drive) but we would have liked to see a "traditional" SSD included here even if it was just as a boot drive with the 2TB mechanical model purely for storage. We were also a little disappointed that Dell didn’t go with a dual band Wi-Fi card as standard although we could add a higher spec model via USB later.
Then of course we have the temperatures and noise. Clearly Dell have had to compromise in some areas to maximise performance, functionality and design with the end result being that the top model with i7 CPU has the potential to get hot when stressing the CPU. Under normal tasks the temperatures and fan are acceptable but a long encode (for example) does push the limits of the cooling. The GPU has no such issue and power use is more than acceptable, especially considering the reading also includes the draw for our 2560×1440 display which is built into the system.
Speaking of the display again, touch functionality is optional on the XPS One 27" and while Windows 8 is deisgned around it we feel it is of minimal use in a desktop environment where the keyboard and mouse work better. That said, maybe it is better to have touch available and not used until a future OS makes it more productive.
So that brings us to value where we fully expected the XPS One 27" to retail a little higher than it does. Without doubt it is priced fairly (even if we would have liked a little more from the SSD/WiFi) and we of course do need to take into account that it is essentially a one off cost… we don’t need to add in keyboard, mouse, screen to the cost after buying a tower or bundle of components for alternative systems.
One final note before we finish up… we have to say that we are thrilled Dell doesn’t insist on bundling bloat filled security software on this range. Microsofts solution is perfect, it isn’t in any way intrusive and requires minimal resource. Exactly the opposite of the previous Dell solution.