Dell XPS One 2710 review: Dell XPS One 2710

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MSRP: $1,599.00

The Good The Dell XPS One 2710 boasts speedy performance and the highest screen resolution among 27-inch Windows all-in-ones.

The Bad The overly glossy screen and a limited OSD take away from the display, and the absence of Blu-ray is strange at this price.

The Bottom Line The pixel-dense Dell XPS One 2710 is one of the best Windows-based all-in-ones available and, barring a new iMac, an easy high-end recommendation.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

Dell has scored a major coup with its XPS One 2710 all-in-one desktop. The only Windows-based all-in-one to match the iMac's 27-inch, 2,560x,1,440-pixel screen, this Dell achieves the too-rare feat of a Windows PC separating itself from the commodity herd. You might wish for more hardware configurability -- swapping the TV tuner for a Blu-ray drive, for example. Still, between the beautiful display and its speedy performance, the Dell XPS One 2710 is one of the best all-in-ones available. My only hesitation is the potential for a new iMac in the next few weeks.

The XPS One 2710 is the third 27-inch Windows all-in-one I've reviewed this year, joining the HP Omni 27 Quad and the Asus ET2700I. Along with those systems, Lenovo, Samsung, Vizio, and others have all showed 27-inch models. Unlike this Dell, all of those other models have 1,920x1,080-pixel screens. The XPS One 2710 is the only Windows all-in-one with a higher-resolution 2,560x1,440-pixel display.

The benefits of that display are similar to those of the current 27-inch iMac. The XPS One 2710 offers a refreshingly large canvas on which to arrange application windows. For standard computing tasks like Web browsing, photo viewing and manipulation, word processing, or spreadsheet work, the screen alone simply makes you feel like you're using a "better" computer.

This is not to say that Dell's display is perfect. The glossy exterior coating, similar to that on the iMac, is one problem. As our photo editor, Lori Grunin, noted, unless you're working in a pitch-black environment, reflections, particularly your own, will impede your ability to discern fine image detail.

Video can also be a problem. Movies in 1080p look fine, even if you're sitting close to the screen, but standard-definition content often looks terrible from within 5 or 6 feet. Its black levels, as noted by our TV reviewer Ty Pendlebury, are also more dark gray than black. When Ty asked to calibrate the display, we were both frustrated to find that Dell only provides a brightness control in its onscreen menu.

If it's not the perfect display, at least in a room where you can watch from a distance the XPS One 2710 will make a credible home entertainment center. Its screen is large enough, the HDMI input lets you connect standard video components, and its audio output is powerful enough and clear enough to travel across a reasonably sized room.

Dell XPS One 27 Asus ET2700I HP Omni 27 Quad
Price $1,599 $1,399 $1,249
Display size/resolution 27-inch, 2,560x1,440 27-inch, 1,920x1,080 27-inch, 1,920x1,080
CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 3450S 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 2600S 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2400S
Memory 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,333MHZ DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 640M 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 (embedded)
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200 rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm 1TB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray player/dual-layer DVD burner combo Blu-ray player/dual-layer DVD burner combo
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 SP1 (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

I suspect 27-inch all-in-one PCs will come down in price before too long, but for now they allow PC vendors to demand a premium, particularly in Dell's case with the higher resolution panel. All of the systems in the charts above also cost less than Apple's $1,699 27-inch iMac, a configuration now more than a year old.

Of these 27-inch Windows systems, the Dell is the most expensive, but it also offers the fastest CPU and the most powerful graphics card. You can order the Omni 27 Quad with a third-generation Core i5 chip, a TV tuner, and with a DVD-burner downgrade to match the Dell, but HP does not offer the newer Nvidia graphics card, and its 27-inch screen is only a 1,920x1,080 model. The price of that reconfigured HP will be $1,419. Given its still higher-end components, the Dell seems fairly priced.

My primary value complaint is the same as with the Dell XPS 8500. It might not be common knowledge, but Dell has largely abandoned the build-your-own PC model with which it first had so much success. For many Dell PCs, including the XPS One 2710, you can only chose from a few fixed configurations. The $1,999 model, for example, is the only one with a Blu-ray drive in it. From a business standpoint, I can see why Dell would reserve that feature for its highest-priced unit, but given the large screen and the fact that Blu-ray is so common now, this $1,599 XPS One 2710 feels underequipped with only a standard DVD burner.

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