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Dell Inspiron One 2330 review: Dell's steady, mostly predictable all-in-one

Dell's Inspiron One 2330 all-in-one doesn't take any great innovative leaps, but sometimes all you need is a basic computer. This is that PC.

Rich Brown
Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
5 min read

Similar to the Toshiba LX835 I reviewed last week, the Dell's Inspiron One 2330 offers a mainstream entry point for PC buyers interested in Windows 8. Unlike the Toshiba system and its higher-end silicon, this Dell is almost entirely pedestrian in terms of its core features.

Dell Inspiron One 23 (Core i5, November 2012)

Dell Inspiron One 2330

The Good

The <b>Dell Inspiron One 2330</b> has a reasonably attractive design, and a surprisingly broad selection of video and audio connectivity options.

The Bad

Aside from the AV inputs and its not-unattractive looks, nothing about this mainstream PC really stands out.

The Bottom Line

Dell's workmanlike Inspiron One 2330 won't change your life, but it will meet all of your basic mainstream desktop needs while also providing a few useful extras.

A handsome design and a collection of less common audio-video ports give this otherwise unremarkable PC some identity. A comparatively low $1,199 price tag puts the Inspiron One 2330 on the most accessible tier of 23-inch touch-screen all-in-ones. For those with light-duty performance needs interested in a basic Windows 8 desktop, the Dell fits the bill well enough, and with some potentially useful connectivity options.

The design of Dell's all-in-one systems is consistent across its XPS and Inspiron lines. It's a polished and beefy aesthetic, like that of a more expensive SUV. You will also notice that Dell has not embraced the push by Apple, Lenovo, and Vizio toward thinner all-in-one displays. This system, 30mm thick at the edge of its display, might look clunky next to all-in-ones like the new iMacs, which come in at just 5mm thick at the same point.

And while the Inspiron One 23 looks like a smaller version of the 27-inch XPS One 27, it has a key design difference. Where the XPS One has a double-hinged display stand that lets you tilt the screen 60 degrees and adjust its height, the Inspiron 2330 has only a single hinge that gives you about 40 degrees of tilt. It's not unreasonable for Dell to swap in a cheaper stand to help keep the price down, just be ready to prop the Inspiron 2330 up on a book or two if you aren't happy with the height of its screen.

The Inspiron's touch screen is responsive to 10-point input, but it also feels draggier than the XPS One 27. The feel is not unlike that of the Toshiba LX835, which is to say that the Inspiron 2330 has a serviceable touch screen, but your inputs won't feel as smooth as they do on the average smartphone or tablet.

Dell Inspiron One 2330 Vizio CA24T-A4 Asus ET2300INTI
Price $1,199 $1,249 $1,299
Display size/resolution 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 touch screen 24-inch, 1,920x1,080 touch screen 23-inch, 1,920x1,080 touch screen
CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 3330S 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 3210M 3.0GHz Intel Core i5 3330
Memory 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 6GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 32MB Intel HD Graphics 2500 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4000 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT630M
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 5,400rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner None dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless
Operating system Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit)

A side-by-side comparison with two other Windows PCs in its price range gives the Dell very little to set it apart. It looks like a better deal than the Vizio CA24T-A4, boasting more system memory and a full-speed, 7,200rpm hard drive instead of the Vizio's slower 5,400rpm drive, but the spec sheet offers nothing you'd call unique or remarkable. You can say that the Dell is a fairly priced midrange Windows 8 all-in-one, but that's about it.

Marginally more interesting are the Dell's audio video inputs. It has an HDMI input, expected in any $1,000-plus all-in-one. It also has a pair of old-school VGA jacks, one in, another out (handy for connecting old monitors, or using the Dell as a monitor with an older PC), as well as a full set of composite audio and video inputs, and separate digital audio outputs, one 3.5mm, the other an optical S/PDIF output. This is an uncommonly broad array of connectivity options for a PC in this price range, and it gives the Inspiron One 2330 some great flexibility in terms of how it might be used with other devices.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds) -- iTunes and Handbrake
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Cinebench 11.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs
Rendering Single CPU

On our performance tests, the Dell lands exactly where I expected, coming in at or near the middle of a pack of similar, but generally more expensive competitors. None of the systems in this chart are suitable for serious, performance-oriented computing, but all of them will do for day-to-day Web browsing, nongaming media consumption, and other standard consumer-level PC tasks. The weak Intel HD Graphics 2500 3D core prevents the Inspiron One 2330 from playing all but the most forgiving games, but it should be able to handle most if not all of the titles you'll find on the Windows 8 App Store.

Dell has built a few other useful features into the Inspiron One 2330. Like the XPS One 27, a small dial on the top of the display lets you adjust the angle of the built-in Webcam. The display also has a set of buttons that lets you cycle through the active video signal via an intuitive onscreen menu.

The only real complaint I have about the system is that it sounds like there's a sock jammed in the speakers. Audio output comes out feeling muffled and underpowered, even after you tweak the various software effects.

Despite various efforts to reinvigorate the PC category, the Dell Inspiron One 2330 provides yet another data point indicating that commodity PCs will continue to make up a healthy portion of the market. There's nothing wrong with this fact. Sometimes all you need is a hammer, and all you ask is that that hammer comes at a reasonable price. This system is that hammer, and Dell has priced it accordingly. Even with Windows 8, this system won't change your computing life. But it will at least meet our basic expectations of a contemporary desktop.

Performance testing conducted by Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations
Apple iMac 21.5-inch (November 2012)
Apple OS X Mountain Lion 10.8; 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-3330S; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card; 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive

Asus ET2300INTI
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 3GHz Intel Core i5-3330; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Dell Inspiron One 2330
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3330S; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD Graphics 2500 (embedded); 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Toshiba LX835-D3380
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card; 2TB 5,400rpm hard drive

Vizio CA24T-A4
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M; 6GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4000 (embedded); 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive

Dell Inspiron One 23 (Core i5, November 2012)

Dell Inspiron One 2330

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Support 10
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