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Dell's goal is for this $1,250 Inspiron One 2320 to become your digital media command center. At least that's what I assume based on the assortment of video inputs and other multimedia features festooning this all-in-one. Dell would have been wiser to balance those features with more-powerful computing components, and an aggressively priced Lenovo all-in-one gives the Dell a value challenge, but overall I can recommend this desktop if you're looking for a Windows PC to anchor your digital entertainment consumption.
The design of the Inspiron One 2320 is almost identical to that of the Inspiron One 2305 we reviewed this time last year. Along with HP's TouchSmart 600-series, the Inspiron One has one of the more-polished all-in-one designs out there. Dell says this new model is thinner than the previous version, coming in at 68mm/2.68 inches with the touch-screen option. The unit doesn't feel particularly thin in the grand scheme of all-in-ones, though, particularly next to the Samsung Series 7 all-in-one's razor-edge bezel.
|Dell Inspiron One 2320||Samsung Series 7||Lenovo IdeaCentre B520|
|Display size/resolution||23-inch, 1,920x1,080||23-inch, 1,920x1,080||23-inch, 1,920x1,080|
|CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2400||2.7GHz Intel Core i5 2390T||3.4GHz Intel Core i7 2600|
|Memory||8GB 1,33MHz DDR3 SDRAM||8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM||8GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM|
|Graphics||1GB Nvidia GeForce 525M||64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000||2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M|
|Hard drives||2TB, 7,200rpm||1TB, 7,200 rpm||2TB, 7,200rpm|
|Optical drive||Blu-ray RW burner||dual-layer DVD burner||Blu-ray/DVD burner combo drive|
|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 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
From a specification standpoint, the Dell Inspiron One 2320 is well-equipped compared with other all-in-ones in its price range, although the exceptional Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 continues to throw off the comparison. In light of that Lenovo unit, we can't recommend the Dell outright if you're after traditional computing performance since it lags in both its CPU and its graphics card.
The Dell does make sense, though, if you're in the market for an all-in-one desktop with the ability to connect to all manner of home entertainment devices. The Lenovo has an HDMI input, an HDMI output, composite video input, and a TV tuner. In comparison, the Dell has an HDMI input, composite and VGA video inputs, a VGA output, a TV tuner, and an S/PDIF optical digital audio out. We wish the Dell had HDMI-out, but otherwise, it's equipped to work with almost any home audio or video component, and it can also field a second monitor. No other all-in-one we've recently reviewed offers as many options in its device interoperability.
What all those inputs mean in practical terms is that you can connect a cable box, a separate laptop or a desktop, a game console, an HDTV camera, and even older analog devices or CRT displays to the Inspiron One to use as a standalone monitor. The optical audio output means you can connect the Inspiron One to a digital audio receiver and to route sound from the system to a more robust speaker set. And although distinct DVI or HDMI outputs would make it easier to connect a second monitor for expanded screen real estate, you can still make any additional computer display work with the VGA output and the appropriate adapter.
|Rendering multiple CPUs||Rendering single CPU|
Although the Inspiron 2320 is not as fast as the IdeaCentre B520, the Dell system still performs with appropriate speed for its price. I'm surprised its Photoshop CS5 performance isn't faster, since the Dell's discrete Nvidia graphics card can boost certain aspects of that test, but on the whole this system will provide respectable performance for mainstream tasks at home.
Given the Dell's discrete graphics card, as well as its 8GB of RAM, I also looked into this system's gaming capabilities. I used Bethesda and id Software's relatively demanding new 3D shooter, Rage. In the Dell's native, 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, with 2x anti-aliasing and all other details set to maximum, the game ran like a dream. I'd expect that an even more challenging game like Battlefield 3 might give this system some hiccups if you pushed the graphics settings to their highest, but at least for current titles, this Inspiron One 2320 makes a competent gaming computer.
Like most current all-in-ones, the Inspiron One 2320 offers touch-screen functionality (although Dell will also let you buy a nontouch version for $100 less). With the touch screen comes Dell's Stage interface, a low-profile but reasonably well-done set of touch-friendly icons and associated applications.
The apps are mostly straightforward media players and the like, although Dell has also included the Nero-made SyncUp program for streaming media files between devices on a network. You can drag and drop your own shortcut icons to the Stage bar. In all, Stage is an accessible, unobtrusive approach to touch. It's not quite as produced as HP's similar TouchSmart software, but the overall benefits are similar.
Alongside the media connectors mentioned above, Dell has also included the usual assortment of data connections. You get four USB 2.0 jacks on the rear panel, and on the left side you'll find an SD memory card reader and another pair of USB 2.0 inputs. Also on the left edge, the Inspiron One 2320 offers a set of analog audio jacks and dedicated buttons for screen brightness and volume control. Dell throws in a wireless mouse and keyboard to round out the package. Our only complaint: no USB 3.0 ports. USB 3.0 should be standard in any new all-in-one over $1,000.
|Dell Inspiron One 2320||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||140.58924|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$15.96|
The Inspiron One 2320 offers few surprises in its power efficiency. You can argue that it overachieves a little given that it draws less power than the slower Samsung Series 7 all-in-one, although only by a narrow margin. And while the Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 is much faster than this Dell, you can also see from our comparison chart that that speed comes with a dramatic increase in power costs.
One other note about this system and its power and thermal efficiency: I received a few e-mails from owners of Dell's Inspiron One 2305 reporting frequent failures because of overheating. While I didn't come across any such issues during the admittedly short review process of that unit, I made a point to watch out for any similar issues on this model. I measure the temperature of the cooling vent on the back panel during a test run of 3DMark 2011, one of the more intensive benchmarks around. During that test, our handheld laser thermometer registered 107 degree peaks in temperature around the vent, with an average probably around 100 degrees or so. We've seen iMacs hit 104 degrees, so that temperature range isn't out of the question for an all-in-one.
Looking further, I ran a program called LinX on the Dell. We use LinX to test the stability of overclocked gaming desktops, and essentially it runs a series of calculations that maxes out the CPU and memory utilization. If the system can't maintain maximum performance due to heat or other issues, LinX will report an error. I left LinX running overnight on the Inspiron One 2320, and found it had successfully completed the test run when I came in the following morning. Your mileage may vary, and stability can change over time with wear, but I can at least report that our review unit passed our stability tests.
Should you need to service the Inspiron One 2320 for overheating or any reason, you'll find Dell's on-paper service and support policies compare well with those of its mainstream competition. You get 24-7 phone support, a yearlong parts-and-labor warranty, a variety of support resources online, and various diagnostic tools on the system itself. Phone support, of course, varies from support rep to support rep.
While I'd like to see faster performance from this system given its competition in the same price range, Dell has overachieved in the variety of connections going into and out of its new Inspiron One 2320 all-in-one. And even if it's not the fastest all-in-one out there for $1,200 or so, its performance is robust enough that you can still feel confident playing games or performing basic digital media editing tasks. I wouldn't recommend this system over the Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 for dedicated gamers, but this Dell is a solid buy for consumers looking for a general purpose all-in-one.
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Dell Inspiron One 2320
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 2400s; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 525M graphics card; 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2400; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750 graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive
HP TouchSmart 520
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-2600s; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6450A graphics card; 2TB 5,400rpm hard drive
Lenovo Idea Centre B520
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555 graphics card; 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive
Samsung Series 7 All-In-One
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-2390T; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 embedded graphics; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive