Dell Inspiron One 2320 touchscreen

Dell’s Inspiron One 2320 proves that you can get a lot for a decent price, including plenty of RAM, a pretty big hard drive, and a Blu-ray disc player. But you can’t get everything: specifically, good looks and a quality touchscreen. The Inspiron One 2320 may cost less than US$1300 — on the low end of the Big Screen All-in-One category — but slightly pricier systems deliver a better value.

Our review model, at US$1250 (as of 11/29/2011), has a 2.5GHz Core i5-2400S processor, an Nvidia GeForce GT 525M graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1.5TB hard drive. It also features a Blu-ray disc drive, has built-in Bluetooth and a built-in webcam and microphone, and runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

In our WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, the Inspiron One 2320 performed well for its category with a score of 134. By comparison, the HP TouchSmart 610 Quad, which starts at US$1599, scores only slightly higher with a benchmark score of 135. However, in the group of AIOs I tested along with this machine, the Inspiron One 2320 was the least impressive performer: Both the HP TouchSmart 620 3D and the HP TouchSmart 520 outperformed the Inspiron with WorldBench scores of 137 and 142, respectively. Graphics performance is also good–in PCWorld’s Unreal Tournament 3 test, the Inspiron One 2320 managed a frame rate of 110.6 frames per second (medium quality settings, 1024-by-768-pixel resolution). In the same test, the aforementioned TouchSmart 610 Quad achieved 119.3 frames per second with its AMD Radeon HD 5570 graphics card.

The Inspiron One 2320 sports a glossy 23-inch touchscreen that has a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. This screen was fairly bright, images were crisp and clear (when they were not moving–but more on that later), and colors looked fairly true-to-life. The touchscreen was consistently inaccurate, however: In my testing, my taps consistently registered about half a centimeter below where I had actually touched.

Surrounding the touchscreen is a shiny black plastic bezel that rounds off at the corners and tapers off at the sides. The speakers are located below the bezel, but set in such a way that it looks as if Dell just pasted the bezel and screen on top of the speakers–not a great look. The system is propped up on two tiny faux-chrome feet, and leans on a thick plastic stand, which does seem sturdy.

This combination of design elements — the shiny, rounded bezel; the pasted-on look; and the faux-chrome feet — makes the system look cheap and unplanned. Despite the sturdy feel, appearances don’t work in this PC’s favor.

Most of the ports are along the bottom rear of the machine, but a few connectivity ports are on the screen’s left side. These include headphone and microphone jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, and a card reader. Volume and brightness adjustment buttons are also on the PC’s left side.

The rest of the ports are on the back. These include gigabit ethernet, HDMI-in, VGA-in, composite-in, an S/PDIF port, a TV hookup, D-Sub, line-out, and a Kensington lock slot. Also on the back are four additional USB 2.0 ports, for a total of six (no USB 3.0 at all). The right side has no ports, just a slot-loading Blu-ray disc player and power and input change buttons.

The Inspiron One 2320 comes with your basic all-in-one peripherals, namely a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. The keyboard has flat black, Chiclet-style keys that are soft to the touch–perhaps a little too soft. The keys are small and rounded and make virtually no noise when you’re typing. While this soft-touch, noiseless keyboard might be a virtue if you happen to work in a library, it’s not exactly accurate — in my tests, my typing was rife with typos because the keyboard doesn’t give enough feedback.

The mouse is pretty standard — two-button, wireless, with a rubbery scroll wheel. I do particularly like its look — the entire thing is smooth and black, like a pebble, and it has a little more weight to it than your typical light-as-air optical mouse.

Multimedia playback on this PC is okay, but not stellar. Streaming HD video looks good, though images are sometimes soft, with a moderate amount of artifacting (blockiness and noise) in high-motion scenes. Blu-ray video also comes through very well, though in my testing I still detected a hint of artifacting. DVD up-conversion isn’t quite as good: Images are soft, with a lot of lost detail.

Audio is also acceptable, though not as good as on the two HP TouchSmart models I tested in this run, both of which feature Beats Audio enhancement technology. The speakers, located below the screen, are loud, but at their loudest setting audio sounds a little thin and bassless. At a more moderate level, however, audio sounds good.

I know I’ve been ragging on the Inspiron One 2320’s general build, but it’s not such a bad system if you’re on a budget. You get some premium specs, including a big hard drive, a lot of RAM, and Blu-ray playback capability, as well as solid performance, for a few hundred dollars less than other systems. But you will have to live with the cheap-looking design, an inaccurate touchscreen, and the lack of USB 3.0 if you decide to go the budget route.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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