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Dell XPS One 24 (PRODUCT) RED review: Dell XPS One 24 (PRODUCT) RED

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We liked Sony's Vaio LV180J 24-inch all-in-one because it works as a relatively complete secondary home entertainment system. Despite Dell's ambitions in that direction with its own XPS One 24, we don't think it's as well suited to the purpose. Instead, Dell's new large screen all-in-one fares better if you look for it to provide a blend of digital entertainment features and productivity-oriented performance, although we admit we're frustrated by a few omissions in that regard as well. At $2,199, the XPS One 24 may be expensive for even the large-screen all-in-one category, but as member of the (PRODUCT) RED charity effort, this particular XPS One will also apportion off part of your payment to disease research. We find that a worthy cause. Regardless of your own philanthropic leanings, we think you'll find this an adequate jack-of-all-trades PC. As with many products that attempt to please everyone, though, you may also wish that Dell had picked one area for this system to truly shine.

OVR
6.9

Dell XPS One 24 (PRODUCT) RED

The Good

Sharp, bright 24-inch LCD; Blu-ray burner; handy capacitive-touch screen and media controls; strong multimedia performance.

The Bad

Fixed stand prevents wall-mounting; lack of 64-bit Vista hurts performance; few inspired extras.

The Bottom Line

The (PRODUCT) RED version of Dell's XPS One 24 is the most fully featured of Dell's all-in-ones and would serve as a fine PC to anyone in search of a Windows-based all-in-one for basic digital entertainment and productivity tasks. A few more innovations or forward-thinking options would earn a warmer recommendation.

Compared with Dell's original 20-inch XPS One from last year, the most distinctive change to the XPS One 24 is the larger, 24-inch LCD. The large screen and the slot-loading Blu-ray burner make the XPS One 24 a legitimate digital entertainment device, and you'll be happy with the video quality, which handles HD video content well. More limiting is the fact that you can't separate the XPS One 24 from its support stand, which prevents you from mounting it on a wall. Dell's system also lacks advanced media-friendly options like an HDMI input for connecting game consoles, DV cameras, and other components. The Sony Vaio LV180J offers both of those features, and, in general, it's a more complete home entertainment device.


If we prefer the Sony as a self-contained entertainment system, the Dell works better as a more well-rounded all-in-one. But again, we have some reservations. As its Blu-ray drive and large screen satisfy a baseline requirement for a modern digital media PC, its quad-core CPU, 750GB hard drive, and 512MB video card help the Dell surpass the Sony system in the realm of everyday computing. Sadly, Dell missed the opportunity to move to the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. As you'll see in our charts, the XPS One 24 still does well on certain tests, but it would likely gain even more performance by going to 64-bit.

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell XPS One
153 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell XPS One
556 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Dell Studio XPS
16,028 
3,922 
Dell XPS One
8,719 
2,500 
Sony Vaio LV180J
6,870 
3,614 
Apple iMac
6,180 
3,244 
HP TouchSmart IQ816t
4,350 
2,279 

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920 x 1,200  
Dell XPS One
12 

Based on the Dell's scores on our multitasking and Cinebench tests, the quad-core processor has a definite impact on XPS One 24's ability to handle multiple processing threads at once. As this reflects how many people use their PCs day-to-day, we would be happy to use that Dell XPS One 24 at work situation over the Sony, or a comparable iMac.

For single application tasks, such as photo editing, the Dell is less impressive. We're not surprised given its slower 2.3GHz Intel quad-core chip, especially compared with the 3.0GHz Intel dual-core chip in the Sony. Had Dell used 64-bit Windows, it likely would have seen better scores, especially on Photoshop. Perhaps it would still not have overtaken the Sony system, but any boost would be welcome.

We might not be overly impressed by the XPS One 24, but it has a few notable features worth mentioning. Most interesting is a touch-capacitive interface that runs along the right edge of the screen. It provides volume and independent display power controls, as well as a media play interface. The idea is to invite a walk-up experience to the system, wherein you don't have to settle in at your desk and keyboard in order to play music or watch video. It works well enough. It's also satisfying to push the simulated buttons.

The XPS One 24 also offers a reasonable level of inputs and outputs. Between the back panel and the left edge you get six USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 400 inputs, a TV tuner input, Gigabit Ethernet, analog and digital audio jacks. You also get an input for a video input dongle, which has a variety of analog audio and video connections. All of those features are certainly useful and entirely expected, which explains our lack of enthusiasm. The Sony Vaio LV180J shined because of its HDMI input, an amazingly easy input select system, as well as a PC Card expansion slot, all useful features we'd never seen before in an all-in-one.

As with all of its PCs, Dell offers 24-7, toll-free phone support and a yearlong parts-and-labor warranty with this system. You can choose from a variety of support upgrades, including an extension of the yearlong Dell DataSafe Online data backup service that comes included. You can also find support help on Dell's Web site, with plenty of system specific resources. And, as noted, a portion of the profits from this system goes to the (PRODUCT) RED charity, which donates money to AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis research.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Dell XPS One 24 (PRODUCT) RED
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card; 750GB 7,200 rpm Samsung hard drive

Apple iMac (24-inch, 2.8GHz)
Apple OS X 10.5.2; 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive

Dell Studio XPS
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 (64-bit); 2.67GHz Intel Core i7 920; 6GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card; 500GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive.

HP TouchSmart IQ816t
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600 GS graphics card; 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

Sony Vaio LV180J
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS; 320GB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive

OVR
6.9

Dell XPS One 24 (PRODUCT) RED

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6Support 8