Four recommendable Windows 8 all-in-ones under $1,300
Have Windows all-in-ones finally broken out of their commodity death spiral? Not entirely, but these four PCs at least put in some effort.
If you are considering an all-in-one desktop purchase, you may have noticed higher prices for Windows 8 PCs than Windows 7 systems with comparable hardware from a year ago. Where a reasonably fast 23-inch all-in-one used to cost about $1,000, you can expect to pay $100 to $200 more for the Windows 8 equivalent today
The good news is that PC vendors seem to have finally internalized the calls for better-looking Windows PCs and more-innovative features. Those things alone don't account for the higher prices we're seeing at retail, but they do help lessen the impact.
We know of two more interesting Windows 8 PCs on the horizon, one from
You might put off any new desktop purchase until we see the full breadth of PCs with Intel's latest CPUs. If you need a new Windows-based all-in-one today, here are four worth considering with a reasonable price tag.
Asus took a page from Apple by making the ET2300INTI one of the first Windows 8 all-in-ones with a Thunderbolt port. That fast data port, combined with its built-in (admittedly less exciting) Wireless Display feature make this the best Windows all-in-one for experimenting with new I/O tech. The big base unit gives the design some clunkiness, and at $1,299 it's also the most expensive unit in this list. It's also the fastest of these four PCs, thanks to its 3.0GHz Core i5 3330 chip. A discrete Nvidia GeForce GT630M graphics chip even makes it a basically capable gaming desktop.
For $100 less than the Asus system, you can pick up the Dell Inspiron One 2330. The Asus system is generally a better value because of its performance and its more-exotic inputs, but the Dell has appeal in its design and a few unique ports of its own. Dell put most of its connectivity effort into audio/video inputs, and here you'll find HDMI input, both VGA in and out, as well as composite audio/video ports and two versions of digital audio output -- 3.5mm and optical S/PDIF. Looking for a PC to act as a versatile hardware hub? The Inspiron One 2330 is the best choice on this list.
Samsung included gesture recognition capability with its new Series 7 all-in-one, but it doesn't work anywhere near as well as it should. Since this system only costs $1,099, though, the gesture tech doesn't add much to the price. Instead, the Series 7 is appealing mostly for its sleek design, and also for its impressively responsive touch screen. In most other ways it's humble, but it does the job as an attractive, no-frills, touch-screen Windows 8 desktop.
Sony was the first vendor with a battery-powered Windows 8 all-in-one, and it showed the world that the concept was not as crazy as it sounds. When it's plugged in, the Tap 20 acts like a normal Windows 8 desktop, albeit a slower one given its power-conscious 1.7GHz Core i7 3317U processor (faster models available). Off the cord, the Tap 20 becomes either a giant 20-inch tablet, or a moderately portable home entertainment device. With battery life just under 4 hours, you won't take the Tap 20 far. But for $999, the Vaio Tap 20 is an exceedingly approachable experiment in next-generation desktop computing.