The battle of the all-in-ones: Dell vs iMac

The long-neglected desktop PC is making a comeback, in the form of super-sleek, high-end all-in-one machines. Less cumbersome than the traditional tower and monitor setup, more powerful than a laptop – all-in-ones, like these ones from Ebuyer, have their hardware built into the monitor, delivering a device that’s beefy enough to handle the most demanding tasks while taking up far less real estate.

For those who really value their screen time, there’s a few 27-inch models to choose from – but will you side with a Windows or an Apple machine? Comparisons are difficult to make at the moment as the new 27-inch iMac has yet to be released, but if the potential specs are as impressive as Apple claims, Windows 8 alternatives like the Dell XPS One 27 have some hefty competition to beat.

The Dell XPS One 27 has already won quite a bit of praise from the tech press, winning CNET’s Editor’s Choice award in a review that called it “the best Windows 8 all-in-one you can buy”. Windows 8, of course, is Microsoft’s Next Big Thing – a smooth, efficient operating system optimised for touchscreen devices (although there’s still a perfectly good Windows 7-style desktop waiting under the hood) and some may be tempted to opt for the Dell just to see what all the fuss is about.

Going on specs alone, a side-by-side comparison of the base iMac and Dell units has the iMac coming out ahead, albeit at a higher price point. The new 27-inch iMac comes with a 2.9GHz Core i5 processor, a little faster than the Dell XPS One 27’s 2.7GHz, but it’s the graphics capabilities that really set the iMac apart.

The iMac’s standard 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M is significantly more powerful than the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that comes with the Dell, and the Apple machine can be tuned to a far higher ceiling than the Dell – if you’ve got the cash. Both all-in-ones will cope with standard home entertainment just fine, so your decision may rest on how much you need that extra power.

Before you make your decision, though, there’s a few other points to consider. The Dell has a touch-screen option (the iMac doesn’t) supported by an adjustable stand, and a dual-layer DVD burner that’s upgradable to Blu-Ray (the iMac doesn’t). On the other hand, the iMac has super-fast Thunderbolt ports going for it and a dizzying array of upgrade options that, fully maxed, should put it well ahead of any Dell XPS One 27.

With no release yet for the new iMac, we can only compare the numbers. For an affordable, yet powerful and flexible home office all-in-one, the Dell seems to be the clear choice – but power junkies are likely to wait and see exactly what the iMac can do.


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