Dell Inspiron One 2330 all-in-one PC review

Dell’s all-in-one PC line-up has matured significantly in the last few years. Look at the Studio One 19 from 2009, and compare it to 2012’s XPS One 27, and you’ll see how much has changed.

Design

Like the XPS One 27, the Dell Inspiron One 2330 has a design that’s very nearly as clean and modern as the Apple iMac that is the benchmark for the all-in-one category.

The 23-inch screen has a moderately-sized satin black bezel, which is thicker at the base to accomodate components and built-in stereo speakers. In the top bezel, there’s a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which can be tilted vertically independently of the Inspiron One 2330’s tilting hinge. The finish on the base is a more matte dark grey with subtle Inspiron branding.

Dell Insprison One 2330

The hinge connects to a simple stand, which does a good job of holding the screen steadily — like the rest of the PC, it’s reassuringly solid. We did notice that there’s no swivel in the monitor hinge, and no height adjustment, which makes the One 2330 less versatile than other all-in-ones or stand-alone computer monitors.

All variants of the Inspiron One 2330 are sold with the same 23-inch, 1920x1080pixel, touch-enabled LCD screen. Touch is a nearly-mandatory part of the new Windows 8 operating system which all units ship with, so it’s good to see touchscreen technology included at no extra price (even though Dell says it’s optional, oddly enough).

As with previous Inspiron and XPS all-in-ones, buttons are distributed along the PC’s left and right side bezels. Power, brightness and a basic on-screen menu can be accessed from the right-hand side, and these should be all you need. Further up on that side is the tray-loading DVD-RW drive (Blu-ray on the top two models). Most useful on the left-hand side are the two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, as well as an SD card slot and headphone/microphone jacks.

Around the back you’ll find four more USB ports, as well as Ethernet, video and audio outputs and inputs. You can connect an external monitor to the One 2330, although the 23-inch Full HD screen provides enough real-estate for the average user.

The bundled keyboard and mouse are standard Dell fare. It’s interesting to see that they use a USB RF dongle to connect to the PC, albeit a miniscule one — this means that you can strike one off the list of the Inspiron One 2330’s six integrated USB ports.

Performance

The Dell Inspiron One 2330 we tested, the middle-of-the-range model, had solid every-day performance credentials in the form of an Intel Core i5-3330S CPU clocked at 2.7GHz (3.2GHz after Turbo Boost 2.0), 6GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM (a 2GB and a 4GB stick working together; the system is expandable to a maximum of 16GB), Intel’s CPU-integrated HD 4000 graphics, and a 1TB 7200RPM 3.5-inch hard drive.

These components may not be the fastest available, nor the highest spec for the Inspiron One 2330, but in our testing we found that they were more than fast enough for any web browsing, word processing, basic non-3D and older 3D gaming, as well as Full HD movie watching and limited photo processing.

We recorded a time of 35 seconds in our four-core Blender 3D rendering test, which tests outright CPU processing power — a promising result compared to the Medion P2010 D and Acer Aspire U Series with which the Inspiron One 2330 competes. An iTunes conversion result of 46 seconds, to convert 53min of music files from WAVE to MP3, is similarly adequate.

Where the Inspiron One 2330 stumbles slightly, in theory at least, is in its integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and traditional spinning-disk 1TB hard drive. The Intel graphics chipset can handle Full HD video decoding, and most games from 2011 and before, but struggles when pitted against modern performance powerhouses like Far Cry 3 and Dishonored. This is evidenced in a merely-OK score of 5012 in 3DMark 06. The 1TB HDD is spacious and quick enough for a traditional disk, but falls down in instantaneous performance and boot speed when compared against a similar PC with a solid-state drive.

The touchscreen component of the One 2330 functioned exactly as we expected, allowing seamless access to Microsoft’s extensive library of touch-based commands, apps and features within Windows 8. If you want a desktop PC and want to run Windows 8, the always-there-even-if-you-don’t-need-it touchscreen is a useful extra.

All in all, the Inspiron One 2330 has more than enough power to handle every-day computing tasks, as well as a small range of more processor-intensive tasks like photo editing. Unless you’re aiming to play modern video games, it’s an adequate performer.

Conclusion

The Dell Inspiron One 2330 is an uncomplicated, unpretentious all-in-one PC — it’s got a solid design, adequately powerful components, and features (like touch) that might come in handy in the future. It’s hard to see it as great value, but it is cheaper than the 21.5-inch iMac many buyers will compare it against.

OUR VERDICT

Dell’s entry-level all-in-one PC is good value compared to the Apple iMac. You’re locked into four pre-built setups when buying, though, and features like Blu-ray are restricted to the more expensive models.