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Dell Inspiron One 19 Touch review

Verdict:

The Inspiron One isn't a bad PC, it's just not a desirable product, which we think is a key part of a good all-in-one PC.

Review Date: 8 Mar 2010

Price when reviewed: £549

Reviewed By: Seth Barton

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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We can see the attraction of all-in-one PCs, with them being far neater-looking than the tower, monitor and cable mess of a traditional desktop. The best ones provide desktop-levels of computing power along with larger screens than any laptop. The downside is that they cost considerably more than equivalently specified desktop systems, a fact that is often compounded by the insistence of many manufacturers to include a pricier touchscreen display.

Dell's Inspiron One has just such a touch screen. In many ways it resembles the crop of touchscreen nettops we saw last year, a short-lived fad led by Asus's Eee Top ET1602. We found the One's all-black plastic casing a bit dull, and the chunky bezel around the 18.5in display doesn't add anything either.

Most modern desktop PCs, and the more expensive all-in-one models, have 22in displays – usually with full HD resolutions. By comparison the One's 18.5in display feels a little cramped, largely due to its relatively small 1,366x768 resolution. We've no quality complaints, though, thanks to vibrant colours, reasonable brightness and consistent backlighting.

The multi-touch screen uses the same IR technology as many we've seen recently. Sensors around the edge of the display detect the position of your fingers. It's fairly accurate, but not as pin-point, or as responsive, as the capacitative screens used on most mobile phones. We're still not convinced that a touch screen is much use on a desktop PC, with very little software available to make the most of it.

A touch screen would be very handy if you wanted to wall mount it, though, in a kitchen for example. There are VESA mounting points on the rear of casing, and the whole thing feels very sturdily constructed. It's compact too, and the power supply is built-in, so there's no messy external box to deal with.

Despite being compact, it's a fully featured PC. There are six USB ports, FireWire, a memory card reader, integrated webcam and a DVD writer. Gigabit Ethernet is provided, but the built-in wireless only supports 802.11b/g connections. Inside is a respectable 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5300 and 4GB of RAM, enough for practically any task. It scored 68 overall in our benchmarks, making it easily powerful enough for day-to-day tasks. A 500GB hard disk provides plenty of storage space. It must be noted again though that you'll be able to get a far better specified desktop PC for the same money.

The Intel X4500 chipset isn't up to playing games, even with the resolution reduced to 1,024x768 and anti-aliasing disabled it only scored 8.5fps. The chipset and processor are capable of playing HD quality video, though you're limited here by the resolution of the display. The integrated 2W speakers aren't up to much, lacking volume and bass.

The Inspiron One isn't a bad PC, it's just not a desirable product, which we think is part of the point of a good all-in-one PC. Unfortunately, if you want a decent all-in-one then you really need to be spending more money. We'd recommend the Asus Eee Top ET2203T, it does cost £214 more admittedly, but you get a lot for your money: a quicker processor, a 21.6in Full HD display, a HDMI input for external devices, basic gaming capability and a Blu-ray drive for HD movies, plus it looks like a supermodel in comparison.

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