Dell XPS 27 AIO Review

This entertainment-savvy All-in-One PC is a little pricey

Things can change a lot in four years. That how long it’s been since we reviewed the Dell XPS One 27 Touch, an All-in-One PC that sported Blu-Ray drive options and relied on integrated graphics.

Since 2012, the standard has shifted for desktop PCs. With the advent of Microsoft’s Surface Studio, manufacturers are now expected to think outside the box and come up with forward-thinking AIOs engineered for versatility, while catering to designers and gamers – the 2017 Dell XPS 27, with its 27-inch Ultra HD display, 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor and discrete AMD Radeon GPU is certainly up for the challenge, especially when you factor in its six front-facing speakers and subtle, albeit weighty, design.

Pricing

There’s no getting around the price range that the Dell XPS 27 inhabits. Even with standard specs it’s more lavish than a baseline 24-inch iMa. Note, that’s without the touchscreen and articulating hinges. Even so, the Dell XPS 27 is more of a 5K iMac rival – it’s certainly more enticing.

Although the version we were sent, it has a lot more on offer than Apple’s top-end £2,249 ($2,299) 5K iMac.
For that sum, the Dell XPS 27 is graced with an Intel Core i7 processor and an SSD. It also gives you 8GB more RAM and a graphics card with double the VRAM.

However the Dell simply seems overpriced when compared to the HP Envy AIO 27, which is similarly specced, but only. For almost a grand less, you’re getting an almost equivalent configuration with a touchscreen, an Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of Nvidia VRAM, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 2TB hard drive combined with 256GB of PCIe SSD storage.

Though the quality of the Dell’s speakers, mouse and keyboard all put the HP Envy AIO 27 to shame, the price difference between the two is monumental.

Design There’s no denying that the Dell XPS 27 is a looker. Although there is no backlighting on the back of the PC, the minimalism is honestly for the best. It exhibits the subtlety and sophistication that the company is known for and a quality we’ve admired in other Dell PCs.

Turn around to the front, however, and you’ll notice a full soundbar firing directly at you.

Among these are two tweeters devised with high notes and vocals in mind, four full-range drivers for punchy midrange sounds and two passive radiators for the bass.

When Dell says its speakers are immersive, the company means it, as the XPS 27’s sound system is a clear draw for audiophiles in the market for an All-in-One. The sound is as loud as it is vibrant. Even with the system volume tuned down to about 10%, you can hear it from across the room or even outside it.

Despite the components stuffed into the Dell XPS 27’s gut, it still manages a relatively slim bezel, complemented by a 4K display. As long as you have the touchscreen equipped, there’s an articulating stand that enables you to lay it flat.

You can get up close and personal with the XPS 27 without any loss in quality when viewing the screen. Given there’s no stylus included with the Dell XPS 27, a touchscreen seems unnecessary except for use as a giant tablet. At least you have the option to avoid its inclusion altogether and still retain the Intel Core i7-6700 processor.

The Dell XPS 27 AIO ships with a wireless mouse and keyboard, which are surprisingly impressive.

The mouse is sleek and lightweight, yet avoids feeling cheap; while the keyboard goes all out with a number pad, dedicated media control buttons and a virtually silent membrane interface that feels natural to the touch.

The only downside is the use of AAA batteries rather than a native rechargeable solution. Though they’re bound to last you longer than something you’d plug into the wall, the need for household alkaline batteries seems a bit antiquated in 2017.

Connectivity The Dell XPS 27 is well equipped with ports as well. On the right side of the display, you’ll find a USB 3.0 port with PowerShare just above the power button while, on the left, you’ll be grateful to discover an SD card slot and an audio socket in place for your convenience. It was smart of Dell to install ports on the side as well as the back, that is until you find out why it was necessary.

The ports on the rear are located within a small cubbyhole and comprise four more USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, a DisplayPort and an HDMI output. Unfortunately, they’re largely inaccessible being caught between the chassis and one of the hinges on the adjustable stand.

We’d have also like to see an HDMI input in the spirit of the HP Envy AIO 27, which itself can be used as a monitor for other devices.

Performance Because it wrestles with the idea of discrete graphics, featuring an AMD Radeon R9 M470X, the Dell XPS 27 performed well in our graphics-based benchmarks. That said, the XPS 27 is no gaming PC. Even so, it’ll be able to handle most of the games you want to play at medium to high settings. This is a machine that’s geared towards more general forms of entertainment as well as creatively-driven assignments.

Compared to the HP Envy AIO 27, the XPS scored better in every test, earning 780 points in Cinebench, compared to the HP Envy’s 662.

For those stuck between these two rivals, the Dell XPS 27 is the faster machine, even if that speed does come with a towering price tag. Just another factor to keep in mind as you determine just how much a little extra performance boost is worth financially.

Summary From its gaudy (though desirable) sextet of speakers to its glossy and gargantuan 4K display, the Dell XPS 27 is an entertainment PC to be gawked at. It’s no gaming machine, nor is it meant to be, but it throws a convincing pitch as a productivity machine as well.

While it’s held back by a price that’s unjustifiable when compared to its closest rival, the Dell XPS 27 almost makes up for that with a comfier mouse and keyboard, better performance and a sleeker design than the HP Envy AIO 27.

The lack of a pressure-sensitive stylus means it isn’t as great for designers as Microsoft’s nearly-as expensive Surface Studio; then again, maybe it doesn’t need to be.

All-in-all, the Dell XPS 27 will give you a sound AIO experience.

The XPS 27’s design, gorgeous screen and sound quality make for a dreamy entertainment PC.

KEY FEATURES

Dell XPS 27 AIO
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-6700 processor (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.0GHz)

Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M470X (4GB GDDR5 VRAM)
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2133MHz)
Display: 27-inch, UHD (3840 x 2160)
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0; 5x USB 3.0 ports; 2x Thunderbolt 3; 1x DisplayPort; 1x HDMI out; 1x SD card slot
Dimensions: 434x625x80.3mm

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8 Total Score
Dell XPS 27 AIO Review

The XPS 27’s design, gorgeous screen and sound quality make for a dreamy entertainment PC.

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