Seven great all-in-one desktop PCs

All-in-one PCs are zippy, stylish, and just plain practical. Here's why your next PC probably won't be a tower.

Traditional tower desktops have had a good run. All-in-one PCs--expensive upstarts just two or three years ago--have all but usurped the throne.

Towers will always have a special place in our hearts, as well as under the desks of enthusiasts and professionals who need more power and versatility. But for many PC users today, all-in-ones just make more sense. They take up a fraction of the space of a traditional PC, without sacrificing much in the way of performance. And that performance has improved while prices have dropped, so you don’t have to compromise. Most important, all-in-ones are paving the way for touchscreen adoption outside of tablets and smartphones. Touch and gestures are baked into the very core of Microsoft’s Windows 8, and all-in-ones will be ahead of the curve.

You’ll find no stronger evidence of the trend than the great selection of all-in-one PCs available today. Big-name desktop makers such as HP and Lenovo offer a wide array of all-in-ones, and Dell has jumped in on the action. Even laptop manufacturers like Samsung have recently introduced their first all-in-ones (and, not coincidentally, their first desktops) in years. You can expect plenty more once Windows 8 arrives, and Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs will make all-in-one PCs faster and slimmer still.

Overall, the options are great: If you’d like a large display to complement (or replace) a television, they don’t come any bigger than the HP Omni 27, a goliath with a gorgeous 27-inch screen. If you need to do some work, you’ll find plenty of strong performers: Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Edge line stands out, providing machines that are attractive, powerful, and stocked with security software and utilities that small businesses can appreciate.

We tested all of these all-in-ones with our revamped WorldBench 7 benchmark suite, which pits PCs against a battery of tests based on real-world usage models. Be sure to read "How We Test PCs" to learn all about our new methods and the apps we use.

All-in-One PC Reviews

1. HP Touchsmart 9300 Elite: The Consummate Workhorse

HP's 23-inch TouchSmart 9300 Elite is a business-centric, all-in-one powerhouse. It may not be much to look at--it's boring yet functional--but it delivers excellent performance and sits on an easy-to-adjust stand; the reclining design is very comfortable to use. It even tackles multimedia rather well. As befits a business PC, our test model ran the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. If you’re seeking to get things done, this all-in-one fits the bill very nicely.

2. HP Omni 27: Big Things in a Big Package

When we first saw HP’s Omni 27 sitting in the PCWorld Labs, we were absolutely taken by its gorgeous, edge-to-edge, 27-inch glass screen. The rest of the design leaves a little to be desired, but this screen is definitely a step in the right direction. The only real complaint we have is that it’s not a touchscreen, which is pretty much standard for all-in-ones these days. Nevertheless, this is definitely an all-in-one that can double as a small television. In our tests, for example, Blu-ray playback was excellent, and HD video streaming looked very smooth.

3. Lenovo IdeaCentre B320: HDTV, Budget All-in-One, or Just Confused?

Lenovo bills the 21.5-inch IdeaCentre B320 as a “sleek desktop” with “two extreme missions”--to be an HDTV and to be a PC. It spreads itself a bit thin, however. It has an unusual mix of attributes, and its affordable price tag makes it a good fit for a cash-strapped college student in a small dorm room. But if you’re looking for stronger media capabilities and features (such as a Blu-ray drive) and you have a bit more coin to spare, a larger machine could be a more satisfying investment.

4. HP Omni 220 Quad: Fast, Affordable, Homely

HP’s Omni line is known for its speediness, and the HP Omni 220 Quad is no different--it's even faster than its predecessor, the Omni 200. It has a relatively small, 21.5-inch screen, and there are some caveats, but its overall power may convince you to overlook them. This fast machine packs a Blu-ray Disc player, too. The display is a bit less impressive, but if you’re shopping around for an affordable all-in-one that offers great general performance, this PC is not a bad choice.

5. Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge M91z: A Stylish, Business-Savvy Sprinter

Designed for business users and running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional, Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Edge M91z is a stylish 21.5-inch all-in-one system that boasts a sleek, edge-to-edge glass screen, as well as excellent overall performance. The M91z is not a high-end machine, so you do have to give up several fancy multimedia features such as a Blu-ray Disc drive and a discrete graphics card, but it should be fine for business users who want something a little nicer than the typical desktop.

6. Samsung Series 7 All-in-One: A Fresh Face

The 23-inch Series 7 All-in-One is Samsung’s first foray into the all-in-one desktop market, and it’s a beauty. Adequate performance, a svelte and stylish chassis, and a neat custom-touch interface--you’ll find a lot to like here. We would have appreciated a Blu-ray player and better gaming performance, and Samsung makes some mistakes that veteran all-in-one manufacturers wouldn't. Still, some features, such as the screen's ability to lie completely flat, will appeal to many people, and overall this all-in-one offers a compelling design at a fair price.

7. Dell Inspiron One 2320: Solid Performance, With Some Compromises

Dell’s 23-inch Inspiron One 2320 proves that you can get a lot for a decent price, including plenty of RAM, a fairly capacious hard drive, and a Blu-ray Disc player. You can’t get everything, however, and slightly more expensive systems deliver a better value. It isn’t such a bad choice if you’re on a budget--but you will have to live with this system's cheap-looking design, its somewhat inaccurate touchscreen, and its lack of USB 3.0 if you decide to go the low-cost route.

2014 ARN Women in ICT Awards - Nominations close October 27!: Nominations have opened for WIICTA 2014 and will stay open until October 27. But don't be late, be among the first in and NOMINATE NOW!!!

More about DellDell ComputerHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPIntelLenovoMicrosoftOmniSamsungSmart

ARN Directory | Distributors relevant to this article

ARN Directory | Vendors relevant to this article

Comments

Comments are now closed

 

Latest News

Oct 24
20th Century Fox deploys HP Moonshot servers
Oct 24
Adobe begins encrypting user data collected from Digital Editions app
Oct 24
St George turns on fingerprint login for Apple iOS Internet banking
Oct 24
DDoS attacks skyrocket: Akamai State of Internet Report
More News
29 Oct
NewLease & Microsoft Technical Sessions
30 Oct
Ovum 2020 Telecoms Summit
30 Oct
NewLease & Microsoft Technical Sessions
05 Nov
vForum 2014
View all events