Dell Inspiron One 23 review
Superb build, fine design and oodles of connectivity, but the average quality display proves a major disappointment
Review Date: 25 Oct 2012
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £733 (£880 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
As our review unit was an early production sample, the specification is different to that of the pre-order model shown on Dell’s website at the time of going to print. Rather than a 2.7GHz Ivy Bridge Core i5 and 6GB of RAM, our model sported a 2.8GHz chip and 8GB of RAM. We expect Dell will provide a wider range of configurations at launch, but with a result of 0.93 in our Real World Benchmarks, the Dell is anything but slow.
If there’s a trade-off to be made, it’s in graphics performance. The dedicated AMD Radeon HD 7650A chipset is appreciably faster than the integrated Intel GPU, but those expecting top gaming performance will be disappointed. Indeed, while the AMD GPU powers to a smooth, playable average of 47fps in our easiest Crysis test, using Medium detail settings and a 1,600 x 900 resolution sees the average frame rate tumble to a modest 27fps.
The bundled wireless mouse and keyboard work well. The slight dip in each of the Scrabble-tile keys grips the finger, and each stroke presses home with a light, crisp feel. The mouse, meanwhile, had no issues at all. Both devices have dedicated power switches to prevent the batteries from running down needlessly.
The final addition is a miniature Media Center remote control, but with Media Center unavailable at the time of writing, we couldn’t test it. The Windows 8 Media Center Pack will be available as an optional, paid-for download.
After a few hours working on the Dell, glaring problems began to bubble to the surface. Touch operation makes sense for casual use but makes far less sense at a desk, where reaching out to a touchscreen quickly becomes tiring and uncomfortable. This is a problem faced by all touchscreen all-in-one PCs, and while some employ stands that fold into a flat, coffee-table-style orientation, the Dell’s stand permits only a slight rearwards tilt.
This isn’t to say that the touchscreen operation doesn’t have its appeal. The Windows 8 Start screen begs to be touched physically, rather than interacted with via a mouse or keyboard, and we often found ourselves flitting from mouse to touchscreen without even thinking. In spite of the ergonomic niggles, there’s something far more instinctive and satisfying about pressing or interacting with an onscreen element using a prod of a finger.
The final and most pressing niggle concerns screen quality. Average viewing angles cause contrast shift when viewed away from head-on, and mediocre colour reproduction left our test photos and movies lacking their usual vibrancy. We measured a maximum brightness of 189cd/m2 – only just enough for it to remain legible in really bright rooms – and the contrast ratio of 305:1 is average by desktop monitor standards, too.
There’s much to like about Dell’s Inspiron One 23. It has plenty of power, and the understated design both looks and feels the part. However, the Dell’s display is an unsightly blot on an otherwise able and fully featured all-in-one. With plenty of rivals soon to be vying for your cash, Dell’s Inspiron One 23 just isn’t good enough.
Author: Sasha Muller
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