Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Dell XPS 27 review

Kat Orphanides
31 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,699
inc VAT

It’s very expensive but this all-in-one PC is the perfect home, work and entertainment hybrid

Advertisement

Specifications

Intel Core i7-4770S, 16GB RAM, 27.2in 2,560x1,080 display, Windows 8

From budget systems designed for the living room to serious graphic design workstations, all-in-one PCs are increasingly popular. Apple's powerful iMacs remain top of the heap in terms of style and cachet, but there are plenty of challengers lining up to take them on. The Dell XPS 27, also known as the 2720 in its business version, is Dell's latest attempt to steal Apple's all-in-one PC crown, with its stunning 27in IPS touchscreen display and impressively high-resolution of 2,560x1,440.

Dell XPS 2720

It's available in two versions, the cheapest of which is priced from £1,449 and has a slower processor, less RAM and a smaller hard disk. We reviewed the more expensive version, which is available from £1,799. That's only a bit cheaper than a Core i7-based iMac, but the XPS 27 is also the first all-in-one PC we've seen with a Intel’s Haswell processors.

PERFORMANCE

The review system came with a 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-4770S processor, a massive 16GB of memory and a 2TB hard disk. It also has a 32GB mSATA SSD drive that's used as a disk cache to provide faster boot speeds and access times. Boot times are a slower than systems that boot from an SSD, though, with the PC taking 17 seconds to reach the Start screen from a cold boot.

The PC produced an overall score of 103 in our benchmark tests. That's pretty good, but it didn’t perform as well as the Ivy Bridge-based 2013 iMac. Even so, this an exceptionally quick Windows-based all-in-one. Plus, the XPS 27 is at least fairly well equipped 3D gaming, unlike many all-in-one PCs. Thanks to its 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics processor. It won’t run all the latest games at maximum quality, but most titles are playable and still look good at reduced settings.

The XPS 27 produced an average frame rate of 19fps in our Dirt Showdown benchmark test at a resolution of 1,920x1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and graphics quality set to Ultra. That’s a pass, but only just, and the frame rate’s too low for smooth play. However, the frame rate increased to a smooth, playable frame rate of 43.6fps at 1,920x1,080 when we slightly reduced the graphics quality to High. Reducing the resolution to 1,280x720 and graphics quality to High produced an even smoother average frame rate of 65fps.

If you want to play at the display's native resolution of 2,560x1,440, you'll get a largely playable frame rate of 28.8fps at High quality. Crysis 2 is, as ever, a more challenging prospect. Our standard test at Ultra quality and 1,920x1,080 resolution produced a frame rate of 18.2fps, only just passing the test. Reducing the quality to Very High, however, produced a smooth and playable 38.9fps.

DISPLAY

The 27in IPS display is the most striking feature of the PC. It's glossy, it looks stunning and we weren’t irritated by reflections, which is something that can happen with glossy screens. We measured a fantastic contrast ratio of 1114:1, and you can see lots of fine detail in even the most shadowy images. It did brilliantly in our colour gamut coverage test, too, with a 99.9 per cent sRGB gamut coverage rating.

The ten-point touchscreen is highly responsive, although we're not sure how many people are likely to sit within touching distance of such an enormous screen. You can tilt the display a long way back, making it easier to display images and interact with apps when showing content to a group, but we were surprised to find that it doesn't fold flat.

You can even connect additional monitors or projectors to the PC thanks to its HDMI and Lightning outputs. It also has an HDMI input so you can connect an external video source such as a console or cable box. You can change the displays settings with a touchscreen panel at the lower right of the display.

Dell XPS 2720

PORTS AND INSIDE

The integrated speaker is positioned at the base of the display. It's louder than most, and even has a bit of bass to it, but it has a tendency to boom and produce slightly harsh treble. Nonetheless, you could comfortably use it listen to music as long as you’re not on a quest for perfect hi-fi quality.

There are also 3.5mm microphone and headphone ports at the right-hand side of the display, along with an SDXC card reader and two USB3 ports. At the back of the PC are another four USB3 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port. At the right-hand side is a Blu-ray drive. The PC's webcam is positioned at the very top of the display, and there's an endearing manual lens cover that you can slide across if your inner paranoia wants to be sure of privacy. This is a great idea, and we hope it catches on.

Dell XPS 2720

Although the system looks like a sealed unit, you only have to remove a couple of screws at the bottom to slide the back panel off. Inside, metal plates protect the various components and expansion slots. It has a pair of laptop memory slots that are easy to access; the hard disk is buried deeper behind the plates. Access panels for other components aren't even labelled. Dell notes that you may void your warranty by making your own upgrades.

Dell XPS 2720

The XPS One has a built-in receiver for supplied wireless mouse and keyboard, so you won’t lose a USB port to wireless convenience. The mouse could be more comfortable and drags a little when you use it on most surfaces, but it’s usable and by no means the worst we’ve used. The compact keyboard proved to be fast and accurate to touch-type on. It even has a full numeric keypad.

The combination of a HDMI input, Blu-ray drive, massive resolution, brilliant display quality and overall performance make this all-in-one a great buy if you need a powerful system. It’s especially suited to video- and photo-editing, and is large enough for watching Blu-ray movies and catch-up TV from a distance. The Dell XPS 27 is a great alternative to an iMac. It isn’t cheap, but if you need a Windows all-in-one that can do almost anything, this PC is the Ultimate.

EXPERT EXTRA: Better than an iMac?

Apple has yet to release an iMac with an Intel Haswell processor, which is an immediate point in favour of Dell's system. Of all the Windows-based all-in-one PCs we’ve reviewed, this is the best alternative to the iMac.

Like the iMac, it’s beautifully built and has a stunning 2,560x1,440 27in IPS display with fantastic image quality. It also has a dedicated graphics processor, the Nvidia GeForce GT 750M. It’s powerful enough to play the latest 3D games, but is also great for working with video- and photo-editing software.

Apple’s proprietary Fusion hard disk technology combines solid state and mechanical drive technology. It caches your vital applications with the faster SSD to improve disk speed. The XPS 27 uses a 32GB mSATA cache in a similar fashion to improve responsiveness.

It also has a number of features not seen on any current iMac, including a touchscreen display, a Blu-ray drive and a HDMI input. Between them, these last two features mean you can effectively use it instead of a TV to watch movies and connect a cable box or games console.

This all-in-one might cost about the same as an iMac, but whether you’re watching movies or editing images, the Dell XPS 27 is a fantastic PC and excellent alternative to an iMac. For a full review of the current iMac read our Apple iMac 27in review.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i7-4770S
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor socketLGA1150
Memory16
Memory typePC3-12800
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardDell 05R2TK A00

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n (dual-band)

Internal Expansion

Caseall-in-one
PCI-E x1 slots (free)N/A
PCI-E x16 slots (free)N/A
Free memory slots0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda (ST2000DM001-1CH) + 32GB MSATA cache
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M
Graphics/video portsHDMI, mini DisplayPort

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs3.5mm stereo line out, 3.5mm mic in
Speakersintegrated

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsSDXC
Optical drive type(s)BD-ROM, DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size27.2 in
Screen modelintegrated
Native resolution2,560x1,080
Screen inputsHDMI

Other Hardware

KeyboardDell KM714 Wireless Keyboard
MouseDell WM514 Wireless Mouse

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year onsite
Price£1,699
Detailswww.dell.co.uk

Read more

Reviews