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Dell Inspiron One2305 Reviews

High Technology Product Reviews | Trends and News | Dell Inspiron One2305 Reviews
The Dell Inspiron One 2305 (IO2305-3114MSL) ($849.99 list), available at Best Buy, is an all-in-one touchscreen desktop PC with a large 23-inch widescreen display. It has a 1080p HD display, wireless everything, decent design, and an attractive sub $900 price. However, it's a little sluggish on most functions, particularly the multimedia tasks like photo and video work that would look great on such a large screen. Maybe with a little more power and a more features, the Inspiron One could be a contender, but not this configuration.

Multimedia, All-in-one, Touchscreen All-In-One
Processor Family
AMD Athlon II X2
4 GB
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
750 GB
Graphics Card
ATI Radeon HD 4270
Primary Optical Drive
Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Design and Features
The Inspiron One 2305 looks like most other all-in-one PCs—basically it looks like a widescreen monitor. It takes after the HP TouchSmart 600 series and Gateway One ZX series, using two posts on the front and a spring-loaded arm in the back to position the screen. The system is slightly raised so you can slide the wireless keyboard under the system for out-of-the-way storage. The lack of under-chassis storage is one of the drawbacks of designs like the Lenovo IdeaCentre B305 ($949 list, 3.5 stars) and B500 ($1,399 direct, 4 stars). One odd design quirk is that the tray-loading DVD burner is on the left side of the panel. Most other all-in-one PCs have the optical drive on the right side.

The bright 23-inch screen has a 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, so it can display full 1080p HD content. 1080p movie trailers from YouTube played smoothly and loaded quickly over the 802.11n network we have in PC Labs. Unfortunately, the IO2305 doesn't include a Blu-ray drive or TV tuner, so online videos are the limit of your HD entertainment. The 750GB (7,200rpm) hard drive will supply you with plenty of space to accumulate a healthy library of videos.

The IO2305 has a built-in speaker bar and THX TruStudio sound logo on the speaker. Even with the THX certification, however, the speakers can't match the full sound of a dedicated full-range speaker system. They are adequate for quiet room listening, but quickly distort on bass-heavy electronica like The Knife's "Silent Shout," one of our stock testing tracks. If you want better sound, you can hook up external speakers or headphones using the system's two analog audio jacks.

The IO2305 comes with Dell's first touch screen interface, Dell Stage. While you'll enjoy multimedia with the touch interface, there isn't enough integration between the Stage modules and the rest of Windows. Sure you can drop sticky notes or set web browser shortcuts in Dell Stage, but once you click on that tile, the computer still kicks you out into Internet Explorer. Specific touch programs are limited to a few games (including a few neat musical instrument programs), CinemaNow for movies, and Microsoft's Surface Touch apps. In contrast, HP's TouchSmart interface is up to version 4.0, and cleanly integrates online and multimedia features like Netflix, Hulu, Rhapsody, Facebook, Twitter, and other downloadable apps like a Marvel Comics reader. The Dell Stage interface allows you to upload pics to Facebook, but the HP TouchSmart interface lets you browse, socially network, and post to Facebook as well.

There's no bloatware, trialware, or unwanted software that retailers and system makers tend to dump all over a retail system. The only "extra" program is the Best Buy app, which is like an online software store. I like the Best Buy app, because you have to actively search and download software onto your system (a much better usage model). Thanks to Best Buy, the system comes with a six-month subscription to McAfee Internet Security, which is much better than the 30- to 90-day subscriptions on some PCs, but still I'd like to see the 15 months that Dell offers on its build-to-order systems.

The IO2305 comes with an economical AMD Athlon II X2 250U processor running at a nettop-like 1.6GHz speed and integrated ATI Radeon HD 4270 graphics. The Radeon HD 4270 graphics chipset is also used in laptops, so it's designed mainly for power saving and thermal limits rather than all-out 3D power. Because of these low-power parts, performance on our benchmark tests is poky. The IO2305 took a leisurely 5 minutes 36 seconds to complete our Handbrake video encoder test and almost 11 minutes to complete the Photoshop CS5 test (10:56). Both tests take over twice as long as our class-leading all-in-one desktop, the Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Core i3) ($1,199 list, 4 stars) (2:29 Handbrake, 4:21 CS5). The IO2305 wasn't able to complete the Lost Planet 2 DX11 test (Radeon HD 4270 is a DX10 part), but the system finished the Crysis test with single-digit frame rates. It can run DX10 3D games and programs, just not very well. Then again, keep in mind that you won't be buying these less expensive all-in-one systems to play high-end games; they're really meant for multimedia tasks. The IO2305's PCMark Vantage score of 3,134 points was middling as well.

The performance carried over into the touch screen interface as well. The IO2305 took longer to open programs like Microsoft Surface Globe and the overall wait time between calling up a program in Dell Stage to when it opens is pretty long. It might not bother someone who has never used a PC's touch interface, but sitting side by side with a faster desktop like the Lenovo IdeaCentre B305 or HP TouchSmart 310, the difference is seen and felt.

At $850, the Dell Inspiron One 2305 is less expensive than the $949 Lenovo B305 and $1,159 HP TouchSmart 310, but you get what you pay for. The Dell's touch software feels like a "version 1.0" and the system exhibits sluggish performance all around. The HP 310 and Lenovo B305 have better features that justify the expense, like HDTV tuners and quad-core AMD processors that make up for their smaller 20- and 21.5-inch screens. None of these systems have Blu-ray at this price point. The Editors' Choice for all-in-one desktops remains the Apple iMac 21.5-inch (Core i3), for its overall performance and multimedia prowess. The Dell Inspiron One 2305 is one of the least expensive touchscreen PCs out there, but while you're waiting for something to load you may start to reconsider your purchase.

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