In some tasks, such as sharing photos or updating family budgets, an all-in-one large screen, such as the Dell Inspiron 27 7000, is much more useful than a laptop. It doesn’t offer a particularly efficient 4K display or CPU, but this 27-inch AIO provides the right basics and is reasonably priced ($949.99; $999.99 tested). The Inspiron is not as comprehensive as the 27-inch Apple iMac, much more expensive, but it is suitable for home users who do not need the latest generation of computer components.
- Sleek design with tilt-adjustable stand.
- Retractable webcam.
- Comfy keyboard and mouse.
- HDMI input.
- Dual storage drives.
- The touch screen is optional.
- Uses less powerful laptop-class CPU.
- It requires an external power brick.
|Price as reviewed||$950|
|PC CPU||1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U|
|PC Memory||8GB SODIMM 2.67GHz|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce MX110|
|Storage||256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 1 x SD card slot|
|Ports||3x USB-A, 1x USB-C, audio jack, 1x HDMI in, 1x DMI 1.4 out|
|Networking||Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home 1903|
The Inspiron 27 7000 (model 7790) is available in black or white with a silver accent. It is clearly planned for 2019. It is now more elegant and contemporary, but it also requires advice from the blend-in-with-your-decor aesthetic of smart devices like Google Home Mini. Because of the narrower edges and generally smaller body, the Inspiration is more like a screen than a full computer. The tape measure reinforces the effect of weight loss: With the included stand, Dell measures 14.3x24x1.7 inches (HWD) compared to its predecessors with 15.5×24.2×2.1 inches.
With a more spacious stand and thicker screen frame, the 27-inch iMac measures 20.3×25.6×8 inches (HWD). However, Apple’s AIO offers two much better features (internal power supply and sufficient desktop cooling) than mobile CPUs and GPUs to justify the size of the device. At Inspiron, you need to find space for an external power supply that is much larger than that of the most conventional laptops. This can be a problem if you want to install the system on a kitchen counter or in another location where there is little space to hide the power cables.
The Inspiron 27 7000 that I’m reviewing has an Intel Core i5-10210U processor that is typically found in laptops. This means that it is not only as less powerful as the Core i9-based iMac but also then the tower of the Core i5 class. It’s ideal for basic productivity and web browsing, but it means that Dell can’t act like an iMac as a platform for creating multimedia content.
DISPLAY & PORTS
With this redesign, Dell stopped the all-in-one display with 4K resolution. You can only select from the Full HD screen (1,920×1,080 pixels), which is available as a touch screen or non-touch version. The loss of 4K is disappointing, especially since Apple offers 4K and 5K displays on its iMac devices. However, extra pixels are a luxury and not a necessity for most consumers, so value-seekers don’t care. However, you will definitely want to choose a touch option that is a modest amount of extra work and is much easier to slide and zoom with photo albums, cards, and calendars. Such a large screen essentially wants to be touched and it is a shame that our review unit lacked that ability.
A removable webcam is on the screen. When not in use, you can slide it down into the case to protect your privacy and physical damage. The tested version featured infrared sensors that can be logged on to Windows Hello through face recognition, so the camera has to stay lit most of the time.
There is a huge soundbar at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, it is only for show: the actual speakers are two small stereo tweeters that deliver laptop quality audio. They fill a medium-sized living room and are suitable for Skype calls with grandparents, but offer very little bass for listening to music or watching movies. Fortunately, external speakers can fill the void.
The On/Off switch on the Inspiron 27 7000 is conveniently located to the right of the speaker grille. However, all ports are back, which also applies to iMac ports. They include a power connector, USB 3.1 Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet jack, three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, USB 2.0 ports, headphone connector, SD card reader and HDMI video output connector. It also includes an HDMI video input to access the 27-inch screen as an external display for a laptop or gaming console. This is a useful feature that your iMac lacks.
The keyboards and mice that came with the AIO have been thought of too often, but my tester had a nice wired keyboard with a numeric keypad and a durable but small wired mouse that connected to the system’s white color scheme. You can also select a wireless keyboard and mouse and use the USB 2.0 port as the receiver port.
WARRANTY AND STAND
A well-designed stand meets the lower left and right side of the case. This means that it offers excellent stability and stays in the way when connecting and disconnecting peripheral devices. The stand has so much tilt that when I looked at the Inspiron 27 7000 on a benchtop at waist level, I found a comfortable viewing angle of up to 6 feet 2 inches.
However, the stand does not offer height adjustment and the Inspiron is not compatible with third-party VESA stands. The silver lining is that no ugly VESA mounting hole marks the elegantly curved back of the AIO, making it ideal for placement in a general area of the house where guests can see it from all angles. If you use Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth peripherals, all you have to do is mark an attractive background image with a power cord.
Dell offers the Inspiron 27 7000 a one-year standard warranty with additional support options and compensation claims. Once the warranty is in effect, you can try to repair and update it yourself, but the process is not easy. For example, to change the SSD, the back cover, bottom cover, stand, shield over the system board, and several screws must be removed.
In addition to the 1.6GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) quad-core i5-10210U processor of the tested version, the Inspiron 27 7000 can be configured with a Core i7-10510U chip. Both belong to the latest family of tenth-generation Intel “Comet Lake” processors. My tester also had an Nvidia GeForce MX110 graphics card with 2GB of dedicated video memory, an upgrade to the basic Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated solution.
Other specifications include 8GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, and 1TB secondary hard drive. You can upgrade to 512GB SSD and 12GB RAM. These are the only configurable options. If you are interested in future security, these options are limited. However, they do help to reduce costs. The first line configuration is currently priced at $1,249, compared to the AMP-based Inspiron 27,7000 at $1,799 from the previous generation.
When configured, Inspiron proved to be suitable for day-to-day computing tasks, though it sometimes stuttered while loading multiple content-rich websites into separate tabs on the browser. I did not notice the annoying fan noise, which suggests that the machine is not a public nuisance even though the CPU is working hard.
To compare our performance benchmarks, I compared the Inspiron 27 7000 to several other AIOs tested this year. However, no one came close to Inspiron’s $999.99 price tag. Although the 27-inch iMac is the closest competitor from Apple’s lineup, it’s much more expensive. That’s why I chose the tested 21.5-inch iMac at $1,499. Together with the 27-inch iMac, Microsoft Surface Studio 2 shows what a really powerful AIO can do, while the Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is a modular, business-oriented hybrid between AIO and a small desktop computer.
UL’s Windows PCMark 10 test simulates a number of real content and production workflows. We use it to evaluate the overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and video conferencing. The PCMark 8 memory exercise measures the performance of the storage subsystem.
PCMark 10 ratings immediately indicate that the performance of the Inspiron 27 7000 is poorly impaired compared to the better-equipped Surface Studio 2, even at basic work. In contrast, the SSD boot drive of the system was able to pass the PCMark 8 memory test with its colleagues.
The Inspiron 27 7000 does not have the power for gaming or creating multimedia content a general-purpose AIO. Our Handbrake video encoding and our Cinebench 3D rendering tests performed significantly worse than the 27-inch iMac. Both tests are very demanding for the system’s CPU cores and threads.
This is to be expected since both the 27-inch and the 21.5-inch iMac use much more powerful desktop processors. It is not a signal to the Inspiron 27 7000, which cannot stay on a Prosumer machine. On the positive side, the Inspiron performed quite well in the Adobe Photoshop benchmark where we put systems on a stopwatch as they use different filters and effects for the JPEG test image.
Our 3DMark and Unigine overlay gaming simulations for Windows show the difference that a powerful graphics processor makes when it comes to producing highly detailed and game-like 3D graphics sequences that focus on particles and light.
Although the Inspiron 27 7000 has separate graphics, the Nvidia MX110 does not fall into the same category as the GeForce GTX or RTX GPU like on the Microsoft Surface Studio 2.
Some home computer tasks require more screen space than even the largest laptop can offer. The Inspiron 27 7000 offers this screen at an affordable price, although it lacks the computing power and high-resolution screens of the Apple iMac series. However, you don’t need a lot of energy to surf the Internet, view a calendar, or search for recipes, so the affordable Dell is suitable for such household chores.
The configuration I’m testing lacks a touchscreen, but adding it can use Windows 10’s touch support to make everyday work easier, but less than $1,100. If you have more budget and need more processor power, we recommend adding the 27-inch iMac, which starts at $1,799.